Linda Powell Solomon, M.D. ’77
Margaret Bailey Speer Award Citation
April 29, 2022
Read the acceptance speech.
The Margaret Bailey Speer Award is given to a graduate who has shown Courage for the Deed; Grace for the Doing
; whose deeds have helped to make the community stronger and freer; who has in some way helped to lessen prejudice, intolerance, and injustice; or whose accomplishments, political, artistic, literary, or scientific, bring credit to her/him and also to The Shipley School.
After graduating from Shipley in 1977 as one of the School’s first African American students, Linda Powell Solomon earned her medical degree from American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine and a Certificate of Teaching Excellence in Higher Education from Montgomery County Community College. She is currently Professor and Chair of Biology at Community College of Philadelphia.
For the past 25 years, in addition to guiding instruction and biology course offerings, Linda has supported the efforts of countless underrepresented minority students working toward a bachelor’s degree in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics through the National Science Foundation’s Greater Philadelphia Region Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation program. She has received awards from the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation, the Community College of Philadelphia and Drexel University chapters of the National Society of Black Engineers, the Greater Philadelphia Region Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, and Philadelphia City Council.
Linda has also served in a variety of volunteer roles, including as First Vice-Chair of Greater Philadelphia Health Action’s Board of Directors and on Shipley’s Alumni Council, where she was co-chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee.
In recognition of her work to blaze the trail and support minority students in their pursuit of careers in science, to make these fields more accessible and equitable, the Alumni Council has named her the recipient of this year’s Margaret Bailey Speer Award.
Good Morning. I want to thank Michael Turner and the Alumni Counsel for considering me worthy of such a wonderful award. Under the leadership of Neal Regino, the Alumni Council has made great strides to improve the Alumni’s engagement with the Shipley Community.
Shipley provided me an excellent foundation for the educational areas I needed for future success. It took me awhile to figure out how I learn best. That wasn’t always in alignment with the deadlines! For me, what it came down to is the prep before a course starts and staying ahead of the course, not behind. I also had to tackle what I knew I never learned. Biology depends on Physics, Math and Chemistry. The pace of how quickly a course moves does not mean that my accountability to myself about a subject can end if understanding is needed for future work.
For example, I was always a fast reader but as a moved forward with my education, I realized I needed slow down my reading. I had been scanning the pages, not reading every word. As the density of the subject matter increased, I had to slow down and spend a lot more time, placing the context of each sentence into the main concept.
As a department head and grant administrator, building activities and systems for STEM students to address their learning has been part of my life’s work.
In the context of my paid and volunteer roles, I still study. Science and Healthcare changes every day. I have been lucky to find spaces where my gifts, talents and interests align with moving the populations I serve towards a better life.
In my role as a Vice Chair of the board of Greater Philadelphia Health Action INC., I work on Quality Oversight of the federally qualified healthcare operations for almost 90,000 uninsured and under-insured patients in the Philadelphia area.
I like data analysis so making sure we meet federal agency health care standards is something I find enjoyable while also supporting the organization’s leadership providing services vital to Philadelphia residents.
For those of you who do not feel heard. Do not feel understood or feel like you do not fit in. Life will get better. I spent a lot of my Shipley years in observation mode. My former classmates have told me they remember me being very quiet. However, like some of you, I had to find my path forward, irrespective of the many influences in life. And, irrespective of the many challenges. You will find your voice and plant your feet into what you care about and are willing to work for.
I sought out mentors along the way, sometimes after a mistake, sometimes before a mistake. But always trying and working towards a greater good. My generation remembers John F Kennedy’s speech about service to your nation and community. Who is that voice for you?
Again, I am humbled and honored to receive this recognition. Thank you.