University of Delaware
Delaware first lady Carla Markell (left) is greeted by Tina Morrow.

Public Allies

Delaware's first lady addresses 20th class of Public Allies


1:18 p.m., Oct. 30, 2013--Addressing the 20th annual Meet the Allies breakfast last week in Wilmington, Carla Markell recalled that when her husband Gov. Jack Markell took office in January 2009 she felt slightly overwhelmed by the challenge of serving the state as first lady.

Markell told the assembled members of Public Allies Delaware and their guests in attendance at the event that it was Michelle Obama who initially inspired her to see the opportunity a first lady has to promote positive social change at every level.

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As it neared time for the processional to open the University of Delaware Commencement ceremonies, graduating students and faculty members shared their feelings about what the event means to them.

Doctoral hooding

It was a day of triumph, cheers and collective relief as more than 160 students from 21 nations participated in the University of Delaware's Doctoral Hooding Convocation held Friday morning on The Green.

The lesson Markell had for the 29 Public Allies who are just beginning their leadership journey was that, as individuals, people should embrace the opportunities they each have to change the world for the better.

Public Allies Delaware, an AmeriCorps program of the University of Delaware Center for Community Research and Service, places future leaders in nonprofit apprenticeships for a 10-month term of service while also providing intensive leadership training and participation in neighborhood-based community development projects.

Meet the Allies is an annual event, introducing each new class of future leaders to the broader community, including UD faculty and staff, nonprofit leaders, corporate and foundation executives, and state and local public officials.

Sharing the podium with Markell was George Watson, dean of the University’s College of Arts and Sciences.

He commended the Center for Community Research and Service, which is part of the School of Public Policy and Administration, for sponsoring the Public Allies Delaware program and for its many other activities that engage the community. 

Watson told those in the audience that “the University of Delaware, its College of Arts and Sciences and our Center for Community Research and Service are so very pleased to work with all of you to carry out this important community building program. Public Allies Delaware is a wonderful example of the University’s commitment to being engaged in the community. This would not be possible without the willingness of each of you and our funders who work with us.” 

Tina Morrow, director of Public Allies Delaware, said that “we are incredibly proud of all we have been able to accomplish as a program and as a community of engaged leaders.” 

In the audience was Tony Allen, an executive with Bank of America and a member of the University’s Board of Trustees who co-founded the Public Allies Program in 1994. Morrow acknowledged Allen and thanked him for his leadership in helping to establish and build the program over the last 20 years. 

In April 2014 Public Allies Delaware will formally celebrate 20 years and the contribution of more than 700,000 hours of service to Delaware communities. 

Morrow said “the program is excited and energized to move into its next phase of development with a focus on community impact.”

According to Morrow, “This new phase will consist of a deeper commitment to building stronger neighborhoods through extended partnerships with community-led planning groups to cultivate community leadership and increase civic participation.”

For more information, visit the Public Allies Delaware website or contact the program offices at 302-573-4438.

Photos by Evan Krape

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