Just after 2006 College graduate Conor Lamb won a close special election in the mostly-Republican Pennsylvania 18th district, he launched a campaign for reelection in Pennsylvania’s newly defined 17th district. If he is selected as the Democratic candidate during May's primaries, he will officially be up for reelection for the congressional seat in the 17th district.
As Lamb continues to make national headlines, many of those who knew him at Penn — as an undergraduate student studying political science and as a 2009 Penn Law graduate — have reflected on their experiences together on campus and have supported him along the way.
During his time at Penn, Lamb was a member of the men's club rugby team and lived in Harrison College House. He was involved in the Robert A. Fox Leadership Program, a program which allowed him to take part in community service.
Joseph Tierney, executive director of the Fox Program, said that Lamb managed students involved in multiple community service projects during his time at Penn. These projects included leading a group of high school students to install technical equipment in public schools in low-income areas, and traveling with a group of college students to post-Katrina New Orleans and leading their participation in a Habitat for Humanity project.
“He exhibited incredible leadership skills,” Tierney said about Lamb’s time with the Fox Leadership Program. "It was clear he had a deep devotion to serving the community and to serving others.”
Tierney also taught Lamb in an undergraduate seminar called “Leadership and Community Service,” and said that Lamb “was an outstanding student.”
Several weeks ago, Tierney attended Lamb’s swearing-in ceremony, calling it “one of the proudest moments of my life.”
Lamb’s passion for community involvement has extended to his campaign platform, in which he lists the opioid crisis and affordable health care as some of his top priorities.
After graduating from Penn Law, Lamb enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and completed active duty in 2013. He currently serves as a major in the reserves. In 2014, Lamb was appointed as assistant U.S. attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
Lamb’s reputation as a good leader and caring person while at Penn was extrapolated on by 2006 Class President and fellow political science major Pierre Gooding.
Gooding said that he has heard consistently high praise of Lamb from their classmates, and was “impressed that so many people vouched for him.” He called the entire experience of seeing Lamb’s campaign “positive."
“Now he has an opportunity to really do some good for his district and Pennsylvanians," Gooding said. "That’s really what we want to see."
Gooding also spoke to the support the Penn club rugby team offered Lamb in the early stages of his campaign.
“Very early on in his candidacy the rugby team, along with various other classmates, reached out to say that Conor would be running, and that support would be a good thing if people wanted to be involved,” Gooding said. He added that he found this “impressive” because “it showed that people cared.”
Fellow rugby teammate and 2006 College graduate Austin Lavin also spoke to how supportive the team was.
“What’s special about the Penn rugby community is that people who played and went school at different times also stepped up to support [Lamb]," Lavin said. “I was happy to donate, and I know others were as well.”
Lavin also echoed sentiments about how involved Lamb was with the community around him and how much he cared about others.
“I’ve always been impressed with Conor," Lavin said. "I find him to be thoughtful and serious and engaged, even at that point, in making his community a better one.”