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April 19, 2001

Congressman Fattah to Deliver Keynote Address at Bar Assn. Event June 19

Philadelphia Congressman Chaka Fattah, whom Time magazine has called one of the 50 most promising leaders in the country, will deliver the third annual Judge A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr. Public Interest Lecture at the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Quarterly Meeting and Luncheon on Tuesday, June 19 at noon in the Grand Ballroom of the Park Hyatt Philadelphia at the Bellevue, Broad and Walnut Streets.

A member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania’s 2nd District, Fattah is one of the leading new Washington voices of the post-Clinton era. He has become a familiar figure on national talk and public affairs programs as a split Congress grapples with a Bush administration agenda that includes tax cuts, economic stimulation, education reform and governmental deregulation.

Particularly in the area of education, no member of Congress has come to embody such diverse leadership experience as Chaka Fattah. Viewing his own education as a bridge to a more successful life, Fattah has said he wants to build similar bridges of opportunity for "those who have been marginalized." He has been responsible for GEAR UP, a national early college awareness program designed to educate millions of students on the importance of post-secondary education. He has also been a major advocate in the fight for expanded educational opportunities.

Fattah’s interest in education began while he served on the Education Committee in the Pennsylvania General Assembly and continued during his time as chair of the Pennsylvania Senate Education and Labor Committee. In Washington he now sits on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. He is also co-chair of the Congressional Web-based Educational Commission.

A former chair of the Executive Committee of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, Chaka Fattah has helped over 1.3 million students from Pennsylvania attend college. He has served as a member of the Pennsylvania State Board of Education and on the Board of Trustees of Lincoln University, Temple University, Pennsylvania State University and the Community College of Philadelphia. In 1986 he founded the annual Fattah Conference on Higher Education which has succeeded in raising over $8 million in scholarship money and motivated thousands of students to pursue graduate school opportunities. "It is the way in which people who have been written off can be written back in," Fattah has said of the conference.

A life-long resident of Philadelphia, Congressman Fattah attended city public schools, the Community College of Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School and the University of Pennsylvania Fels School of State and Local Government where he earned a Master’s Degree in Government Administration. The father of two children, he is married to NBC 10 co-anchor and attorney Reneé Chenault-Fattah.

Fattah’s address to the Philadelphia Bar Association is part of the Association’s continuing observance of the 10th Anniversary of its Public Interest Section. The Higginbotham Lecture was first presented to the Association in 1999 by Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund. Last year, Harvard Law School professor and television legal commentator Charles J. Ogletree, Jr. delivered the lecture.

Also at the luncheon, the Association will honor senior lawyers of the Bar by inducting new members of the Association’s 50-, 60-, 65- and 70-Year Clubs.

Tickets to the luncheon are $40 for Association members and $45 for non-members. Ticket order forms will be mailed to all Association members. For ticket information, call the Bar Association at 215-238-6300, or visit

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