The Hon. Jannie L. Blackwell, Philadelphia Councilwoman and Cheyney University Alumna, to Lead Cheyney University Founder's Day Convocation on February 28

February 10, 2014

Philadelphia six-term Councilwoman and Cheyney University Alumna Hon. Jannie L. Blackwell will return to her alma mater on February 28 as the keynote speaker at the 177th anniversary of its founding. She also will receive the University’s Outstanding Public Servant Award. The annual Founders Day convocation event will take place at 1:00 pm in the Marian Anderson Music Center Auditorium on the historic campus.

Born and reared in Philadelphia, Blackwell is a seasoned advocate for social change with a 30 year reputation for serving community members and the poor and underprivileged in the City of Philadelphia, making her a leader with her own vision.

Blackwell graduated from Cheyney University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education and received her Master of Arts in Education degree from St. Joseph’s University.  She began her political career by serving as Special Assistant to the Governor, assigned to the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  She left the Governor’s Office  when her late husband, Lucien E. Blackwell, resigned his position as a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in order to run for (and win) a seat on the Philadelphia City Council.

Councilwoman Blackwell will address the Founders Day theme which is “Embracing Standards of Excellence Since 1837.” This speaks to Cheyney University’s legacy as the nation’s first institution of higher learning for African Americans, as well as the legacy of Richard Humphreys whose will made it possible to establish the institution. The distinguished Friday event will begin with the Founder's Day Processional of Administration, Faculty and Staff, and include music by the Cheyney University Choir and Band, as well as remarks and presentations by Cheyney University President Dr. Michelle Howard-Vital.  Councilwoman Blackwell will be recognized for her ongoing efforts to uphold and expand Cheyney University’s legacy as an institution that provides access, opportunity and excellence to students of any race. Three other awards will be handed out during the program and the 2014 Humphreys Scholars will be recognized by a member of the Richard Humphreys Distribution Committee.  

The public is invited to attend.