The highlight of this year's Upstate event will be Linda L. Ammons, counsel to the president for legal education at Widener University.

She assumed this role in the summer of 2014 after retiring as associate provost and dean of the law school. She was the first woman and the first African American to lead Widener University School of Law, and was the senior African American female dean in the nation when she stepped downafter serving eight years.

Ammons came to Widener in 2006 from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in Cleveland, Ohio, where she was associate dean and professor of law. During her 15 years at Cleveland-Marshall, she chaired and served on a number of university committees and taught Administrative Law, Legislation, Mass Communications Law, and Women and the Law. In 2006, the Cleveland-Marshall Alumni Association chose her as their Stapleton Award recipient.

In addition, Ammons has been on the faculty of the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada, since 1993. In 2010, she was named to the Legal Education Development Committee of the American Bar Association, and she recently completed three years’ service as the Chair of the Curriculum Committee of the American Bar Association’s Section of Legal Education & Admissions to the Bar. Ammons also served a three-year term on the Government Relations Committee of the Association of American Law Schools. Ammons was elected to the Board of Directors of WHYY in Philadelphia, PA, in August 2013.


The highlight of this year's Downstate event will be Michelle D. Freeman, president and CEO of the Carl M. Freeman Companies. 

A part of Carl M. Freeman Companies since 1993, Michelle D. Freeman has been a member of the board of directors since 2007, President since 2009, and its CEO since 2010.

Prior to taking the helm, Michelle had an active and successful history in various aspects of the real estate business. She was a top seller with Superior Realty and Sea Colony Realty from 1993-1999 and served as Executive Leader for Bayside, Sea Colony and Bear Trap, including Land Acquisition, Resort Community Development, and Sales and Marketing, from 2001-2009. Michelle is a minority partner in Monumental Sports and Entertainment, which owns Verizon Center, Washington Wizards, Capitals and Mystics. Carrying on the Freeman family tradition of philanthropy, Michelle is founding chairman of the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation and president and chairman of the Carl M. Freeman Foundation. A founding member of Venture Philanthropy Partners, she is active on the boards of the Washington National Opera and other major charities.