Maryland’s First Lady, Associate District Court Judge Catherine Curran O’Malley, Receives Award During Urban Child Symposium   

Volunteer in Law School’s Truancy Court Program, She is Feted for Her Commitment, Dedication to Youth Issues first lady receving award

BALTIMORE, MD (April 1, 2009) - As a centerpiece to the University of Baltimore School of Law Center for Families, Children and the Courts’ first annual Urban Child Symposium on Thursday, April 2, the Hon. Catherine Curran O’Malley, First Lady of Maryland and associate judge of the District Court for Baltimore City, will receive the 2009 University of Baltimore President’s Award for Excellence in Public Service, in recognition of her outstanding commitment and dedication to Maryland’s youth in achieving their goals in education.

O’Malley will be given the award by Anita Thomas, UB vice president for government  and community relations, during a noontime luncheon presentation in the School of Law, adjacent to the Moot Court Room where the symposium is being held.

The symposium, “Solving the Dropout Crisis: Getting the Other Half to Attend and Achieve,” will feature a series of panel discussions devoted to issues affecting the education of inner-city children. Jonathan Kozol, author of the groundbreaking Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools and a consistent and committed critic of the nation’s education system, will present the event’s keynote address at 5:30 p.m.

Barbara Babb, director of the center and associate professor of law at UB, said O’Malley’s work and dedication set an example for others to follow as a path to a more enlightened, workable agenda for improving the lives of Maryland’s children.

“As a volunteer judge in CFCC’s Truancy Court Program, Judge O’Malley sees her role as an agent for positive change in the lives of students who are at risk of becoming chronically truant—out of school, out of opportunities, out of the circle of their community,” Babb said. “She understands the issues affecting these children, some of whom are brought before her years later in district court, accused of crimes ranging from possession of illegal drugs to weapons charges. Judge O’Malley creates strong and effective responses that encourage truant students to return to the classroom with a more positive and ambitious perspective regarding their education. She inspires the UB law students who are involved in the program, and she consistently emphasizes the importance of personal involvement in encouraging schoolchildren to stay where they should be—in the classroom, learning and growing as productive members of the community.”

first lady talking UB President Robert L. Bogomolny said he greatly admires the way Maryland’s First Lady makes time to volunteer with CFCC.

“No one would say that Judge O’Malley has a lot of spare time. She is a judge and a mother, while of course being the state’s First Lady—that’s three full-time jobs,” Bogomolny said. “But from her non-existent free time she has chosen to make a difference in the lives of Baltimore city children. She does it because she cares. She knows that, working with Barbara Babb and the staff at CFCC, she can make a difference. Judge O’Malley exemplifies the spirit and meaning of public service, and I’m very pleased to recognize her with this award.”
The April 2 Urban Child Symposium is designed to generate a broad conversation about ways in which urban children can be encouraged to remain in school despite the difficult circumstances of their daily lives. The symposium’s complete agenda is available here.

Panelists include Hathaway Ferebee, executive director, Safe and Sound; Sherri Meisel, deputy secretary of the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services, Susan Leviton, professor in the University of Maryland School of Law; Andres A. Alonso, chief executive officer, Baltimore City Public Schools; Kate Walsh, president, National Council on Teacher Quality; Robert Balfanz, of the Johns Hopkins University Center for Social Organization of the Schools; Ken Seeley, president of the National Center for School Engagement; the Hon. David W. Young, judge in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City; Sylvia McGill, director, Experience Corps for the Greater Homewood Community Corporation, among others.

Registration for and information about the first annual Urban Child Symposium is available here.

The University of Baltimore is a member of the University System of Maryland and comprises the School of Law, the Yale Gordon College of Liberal Arts and the Merrick School of Business.

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