McGeorge School of Law

Angel Tree Project Wins Phi Delta Phi Award

May 25, 2011

Phi Delta Phi members Kristin Weigle, Trevor Carson and Rachel Taylor

Phi Delta Phi members Kristin Weigle, Trevor Carson and Rachel Taylor.

The McGeorge chapter of the Phi Delta Phi honors fraternity received a national award for its annual Angel Tree project that collects free holiday gifts for needy children.

The Phi Delta Phi national recognized the chapter, known as the Peter Shields Inn in honor of the longest-serving judge in the history of the Sacramento Superior Court, for outstanding achievement in the single project category in its 2011 Graduate and Inn of the Year Competition.

The Angel Tree project has been a regular holiday tradition at McGeorge for decades. The Student Bar Association was in charge of the program until two years ago when the Phi Delta Phi chapter offered to take over its operation. Each year in late fall, a Christmas tree is placed in the Student Center and hung with tags that list the age and gender of a child (e.g., girl, age 6). Individual students, faculty, and staff take tags off the tree and purchase gifts appropriate for the children described. Donors place their gifts under the tree and the gifts are periodically moved to a back room in the campus bookstore for safe storage.

In late 2010, the Shields Inn hosted a "gift-wrapping party" during reading period before fall semester finals. In total, Shields Inn collected and wrapped 179 gifts. The gifts were delivered to the Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services and distributed by the Oak Park Neighborhood Association to local families to give to their children for the holidays. One major gift, donated late, was donated to St. Francis Foster Homes with the donor's permission. Two days before, St. Francis had been robbed of gifts it had collected in its own toy drive.

"The Shields Inn wishes to thank the entire McGeorge community for its participation in this project," said Kristin Weigle, '11, who served as the president of the local Phi Delta Phi chapter this year and organized the Angel Tree project. "Our Phi Delta Phi pitched in by hanging tags on the tree, contributing donations, and wrapping and transporting the gifts. Professor Mary-Beth Moylan and her family helped us at our 'wrapping party.' There are a lot of faculty and staff who contribute anonymously to this event every year. We want them to know their generosity has been recognized with a national award."

Phi Delta Phi International Legal Fraternity, established in the year 1869 to promote a higher standard of professional ethics, is among the oldest of legal organizations in North America. The Phi Delta Phi has 131 active chapters — called Inns — in the Western Hemisphere.