APRIL 26, 2010 PRESS RELEASE
Jack McCarthy, Project Director, Northeast Philadelphia Hall of Fame
Northeast Philadelphia Hall of Fame announces 2012 Inductees
Philadelphia, PA – Sister Francesca Onley, CSFN, President of Holy Family University, and Dennis M. O’Brien, Philadelphia City Councilman At-Large, announced the 2012 inductees into the Northeast Philadelphia Hall of Fame at a press conference April 26, 2012 at Holy Family University.
The 2012 inductees – two historical figures, two living individuals, and one group of institutions - include Inventor and Solar Power Pioneer Frank Shuman (1862-1918), Civil Rights Leader and Anti-apartheid Activist Reverend Leon Sullivan (1922-2001), Business and Community Leader Ed Kelly, Astronaut Chris Ferguson, and seven Northeast Philadelphia houses of worship at least 200 years old, to be inducted as a group: Unity Monthly Meeting Frankford, founded 1682, and Byberry Monthly Meeting, founded 1683, both among the earliest Quaker meetings in Pennsylvania; Pennepack Baptist Church, Bustleton, founded in 1688, Pennsylvania’s oldest Baptist Church; Trinity Church Oxford, Lawndale, in existence since at least 1698 and one of the oldest Episcopal churches in Pennsylvania; Presbyterian Church of Frankford, founded 1770; All Saints Episcopal Church, Torresdale, founded 1772; and Campbell AME Church, Frankford, founded 1807, the nation’s second oldest African Methodist Episcopal Church.
The inductees were chosen by the Hall of Fame Selection Committee, an eight-member panel of experts in various aspects of Northeast Philadelphia life. The committee is chaired by Sister Francesca Onley. The public participated in the selection process by suggesting candidates for the committee’s consideration.
The inductees will be honored at a ceremony to be held Sunday, October 21, 2012 at 1:00 PM in the Education & Technology Center building at Holy Family University, 9801 Grant Avenue, Philadelphia, PA, 19114.
Inductees into the Northeast Philadelphia Hall of Fame must be Northeast Philadelphia residents past or present whose lives or careers have been marked by high achievement, or individuals or organizations that have had a lasting, significant, and positive impact on the Northeast Philadelphia community. Past inductees have included Pennsylvania’s first Surveyor General Thomas Holme, Signer of the Declaration of Independence Benjamin Rush, Abolitionist Robert Purvis, Industrialist & Philanthropists Henry and Mary Disston, Humanitarian & Catholic Saint Katharine Drexel, Educator & Historian Harry Silcox, Jazz Drummer Butch Ballard, NBA Hall of Famer & Elected Official Tom Gola, Former Philadelphia City Councilwoman Joan Krajewski, Homeless Advocate Sister Mary Scullion, and social service agencies Aid For Friends and SPIN (Special People in the Northeast).
The goal of the Northeast Philadelphia Hall of Fame is to foster civic values and a sense of community in Northeast Philadelphia, along with a greater awareness and appreciation of the area’s rich history, by honoring the lives and accomplishments of its most distinguished citizens.
The Northeast Philadelphia Hall of Fame is sponsored by the Mayfair Community Development Corporation in partnership with Holy Family University, Historical Society of Frankford, The Northeast Times, and Philadelphia City Councilman At-Large Dennis M. O’Brien.
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Brief Profiles of 2012 Inductees
Frank Shuman (1862-1918), Inventor and Solar Power Pioneer
Frank Shuman was born in 1862 in Brooklyn, NY. He had little formal education but his interest in science led him to experiment and many of his experiments would become important inventions. His first invention, a process for making wire glass, won Shuman the prestigious John Scott Medal from the Franklin Institute, an honor shared with the likes of Thomas Edison, the Wright Brothers, Madame Curie, and Jonas Salk. Frank Shuman moved to Philadelphia in the 1890s to work for the Tacony Iron Works on fabrication of the William Penn statue that now sits atop of Philadelphia City Hall. While living in Tacony he operated businesses and began conducting experiments on an invention he called a “sun machine,” which used solar heat to run an internal combustion engine. He received a patent on this invention in 1910. In 1912 he began construction in Egypt on the world’s first solar thermal power station, designed to pump water from the Nile River to irrigate the area’s cotton fields. The outbreak of World War I in 1914 brought a halt to the project and it was never revived. Shuman returned to Philadelphia, where he later invented safety glass, which is still used in cars and trains today. He died in 1918 at the age of 56, without realizing his dream of harnessing the power of the sun as a safe, renewal power source.
Leon Sullivan (1922-2001), Civil Rights Leader/Anti-apartheid Activist
Leon Sullivan was born in Charleston, WV, in 1922 and became a Baptist minister at the age of 18. In 1943 he moved to New York City, where he attended Union Theological Seminary and then Columbia University, from which he received a master’s degree in religion in 1947. In 1950 he became Pastor of Zion Baptist Church in Philadelphia, where he served until 1988 and became known as the “Lion of Zion.” In the 1950s Reverend Sullivan and his wife, Grace, were among the original residents of Greenbelt Knoll, a residential development in Holmesburg that was the first planned interracial development in Philadelphia and one of the first in the nation. Reverend Sullivan was a well-known civil rights leader and activist who initiated many innovative social and economic development programs. In 1964 he founded the Opportunities Industrialization Centers, which became a successful national and then international job training and life skills program. In 1971, he joined the Board of Directors of General Motors, becoming the first African American on the board of a major corporation. Leon Sullivan was also an internationally-respected anti-apartheid activist. His “Sullivan Principles” were widely adopted and helped to hasten the end of apartheid in South Africa. Reverend Sullivan received numerous awards and honorary doctorates in his lifetime. In 1992 he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, from President George H. W. Bush. He died on April 24, 2001 at the age of 78.
Ed Kelly, Business and Community Leader
Ed Kelly is a longtime community activist and business leader in Northeast Philadelphia. A World War II combat veteran who served in the Pacific theater, Ed was the owner of a successful auto repair business in Burholme. This led him to become a member and eventually president of the Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. He served in the latter capacity from 1971 through 1982. In the 1970s Ed Kelly and others founded the Pennypack Park Music Festival. Free concerts were held once a week in the Park and Kelly paid to have a band shell built to showcase the performers at these concerts. The concerts stopped in 1991 but with Kelly’s help began again in 2001. The band shell and stage were restored and in July 2011 the stage was named the Ed Kelly Stage. Kelly and his wife Jane live in the Rhawnhurst section of NE Philadelphia and have been married for over 60 years.
Chris Ferguson, Astronaut
Retired astronaut and US Navy Captain Chris Ferguson graduated from Archbishop Ryan High School in 1979. He received his undergraduate degree from Drexel University in 1984 and his master’s in aeronautical engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA. He served as a naval pilot until entering the US Space program in 1998. His first space flight was in 2006. He served as commander of the November 2008 Endeavour Space Shuttle flight and the July 2011 Atlantis flight. The latter was the final flight of Atlantis and represented the end of NASA’s Space Shuttle program. Chris Ferguson was a highly decorated officer prior to retiring from the Navy in June 2010 and then from NASA in December 2011. He is now employed by the Boeing Company as Director of Commercial Crew Interface in the company’s Space Exploration Division. He lives in Houston with his wife Sandra and their three children.
Institutional Inductees: Northeast Philadelphia houses of worship at least 200 years old:
· All Saints Episcopal Church, Torresdale, founded in 1772
· Campbell AME Church, Frankford, founded in 1807, the nation’s second oldest African Methodist Episcopal Church
· Pennepack Baptist Church, Bustleton, founded in 1688, Pennsylvania’s oldest Baptist Church
· Presbyterian Church of Frankford, founded 1770, the original church building housed prisoners captured in Battle of Trenton during Revolutionary War
· Trinity Church Oxford, Lawndale, since at least 1698, one of the oldest Episcopal churches in Pennsylvania
· Unity Monthly Meeting Frankford, founded in 1682, and Byberry Monthly Meeting, founded in 1683, among earliest Quaker meetings in Pennsylvania