Widener Law honors LGBT civil rights advocates in program celebrating Martin Luther King’s legacy
Public Relations - Published: January 8, 2014

Drew Fennell and Lisa Goodman.

Widener Law’s Delaware campus will honor two civil rights advocates, who have been leaders in the movement for LGBT equality, during a program that recognizes their contributions to the First State.

Drewry N. Fennell and Widener Law alumna Lisa B. Goodman ’94 will receive the school’s Martin Luther King Service Award at an event that also kicks off Widener’s Semester of Service Program. The event will happen at noon Tuesday, Jan. 14 in the Ruby R. Vale Moot Courtroom, 4601 Concord Pike, Wilmington. The program is open to the public.

Widener presents the award annually to a member of the community who has lived King’s dream, who has manifested in his or her life’s work those commitments to community service and to social justice that the school of law seeks to realize in its Semester of Service Project. Through the project, Widener Law students contribute their efforts to charitable labor and pro bono law-related service. The semester of service happens each spring and is now in its eighth year.This is the first time the service award is being given to two people together. The school began giving it in February 2010. Judge Murray M. Schwartz, former chief judge of the United States District Court for Delaware was the inaugural recipient. The recipient is chosen by the law dean from a list of nominees forwarded by the school’s Faculty Diversity and Accommodations Committee.

Fennell and Goodman were the first couple united under Delaware’s civil union law on Jan. 1, 2012, about 17 months before the state passed a law legalizing same-sex marriage. They worked tirelessly in support of both measures, and are widely recognized as Delaware leaders in efforts to ensure equal rights for all people, no matter their sexual preference.

Goodman, a magna cum laude graduate, has taught at Widener Law as an adjunct. She is a partner at Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor in Wilmington specializing in land use law. Goodman is also the founding president of Equality Delaware, the statewide advocacy group that works to ensure dignity, safety and equality for all LGBT Delawareans. Fennell is executive director of the Delaware Criminal Justice Council, an independent body committed to leading the criminal justice system through a collaborative approach that strives for an effective system that is fair, efficient and accountable. Fennell is also an attorney; she formerly served as executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Delaware.

In addition to receiving the award, Goodman and Fennell will make remarks at the program, which is the school’s celebration of the Martin Luther King holiday. Widener Law will be closed on the actual holiday when it is observed nationally Jan. 20.