We are honored to announce that Pennsylvania Speaker of the House Joanna E. McClinton will deliver the keynote address at the Fels Institute of Government’s Master of Public Administration Class of 2023 graduation ceremony, to be held on Sunday, May 14 at the National Constitution Center.
Speaker McClinton is a trailblazer who has made history several times during her public service career. She became the first woman and first African American elected House Democratic Caucus Chair in 2018. Continuing to break barriers, she became the first woman elected House Democratic Leader in the institution's 244-year history in 2020. This year, McClinton was elected Speaker of the Pennsylvania House, the nation's oldest legislature, and is the first-ever woman to serve in that position.
As a lifelong resident of southwest Philadelphia, she graduated from Grace Temple Christian Academy and became active in her community while interning with the radio station WDAS. She attended La Salle University and Villanova University School of Law and interned at the Regional Housing Legal Services, the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office, and the Defender Association of Philadelphia. After law school, Speaker McClinton served as an assistant public defender for seven years, the last of which she became assistant chief of the East Zone. Combining her passion for law and dedication to public service, she worked as chief counsel to state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams in 2013, developing policy and legislation, organizing expungement fairs and public policy forums, and assisting constituents.
Speaker McClinton has earned numerous distinctions and awards, including City and State PA's 40 Under 40, Power of Diversity: Black 100, and Above & Beyond lists, the Barristers' Association of Philadelphia's Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year award, Fun Time Magazine's Women of Influence Award, the PRE-K for PA Champion award, the Lucien E. Blackwell Guiding Light Community award, the Black Gala Women of Excellence, and Politico Recast's Power List 2022.
We look forward to hosting Speaker McClinton and hearing the valuable insights and perspectives she will share with our graduating class of 2023.