2018 Solas Awards

Solas means “light” in Irish. Each year at the Solas Awards the Welcoming Center takes this opportunity to shine a light on visionary leaders, and to honor individuals and companies that illuminate the positive impact that immigrants have on our regional economy.

The 2018 Solas Awards was held on Thursday, May 3rd, at the Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown Hotel.

Our Honorees

Stephen S. Tang
Dennis Clark Solas Award

The Dennis Clark Solas Award was presented to Stephen S. Tang, President and CEO of OraSure Technologies, for his leadership in highlighting the role of immigrants as innovators and assets that are moving Philadelphia and America forward.

Prior to April 2018, Dr. Tang served as President and CEO of the University City Science Center, the nation’s first and largest urban research park, from 2008-2018. During that decade, he initiated and led a strategic plan designed to transform the Science Center from a traditional real-estate focused research park to an innovation powerhouse.

He played a key part in the launch of the Global Startup Accelerator, a program by the Welcoming Center and the Science Center. The GSA aims to foster the global innovation ecosystem in Philadelphia by tapping into Greater Philadelphia’s business community and leveraging the knowledge of successful immigrant entrepreneurs. The program is funded by the Economic Development Administration’s Regional Innovation Strategies Program i6 Challenge.

Maria A. Oquendo
Realizing the American Dream
Award Honoree

The Realizing the American Dream Award was presented to Maria A. Oquendo, Ruth Meltzer Professor and Chairman of Psychiatry at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, for embodying the ideals of the award by using her hard work, talent, and passion to advance the field of psychiatry, both nationally and globally.

Dr. Oquendo, an immigrant from Spain, is Immediate Past President of the American Psychiatric Association. She is the first Latina to serve in this capacity. Her expertise is in the diagnosis, pharmacologic treatment, and neurobiology of Bipolar Disorder and Major Depression with a special emphasis on suicidal behavior and in Global Mental Health.

Wells Fargo
Atlas Award for Advancing
Opportunity Award Honoree

The Atlas Award for Advancing Opportunity was presented to Wells Fargo for their commitment to strengthening the region’s economy through charitable investments and their dedicated employees who volunteer their time, talent, and treasure to help immigrants succeed.

Last year, Wells Fargo donated more than $286.5 million to more than 14,500 nonprofits across the country and Wells Fargo’s team members volunteered a record 2 million hours.

Wells Fargo has been partnering with the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians since 2011, investing both financial and volunteer resources to foster immigrant integration in the Philadelphia region through employment preparation and small business development. Wells Fargo employees have generated over $15,500 for the Welcoming Center during their annual employee giving campaign and have volunteered more than 150 staff hours in the past three years. Tiffany Tavarez, Vice President of Community Relations, will accept the award on behalf of Wells Fargo.


The Dennis Clark Solas Award pays tribute to the visionary historian Dennis Clark, who told the story of immigrants in Philadelphia. He never tired of highlighting the contributions made by immigrants — building infrastructure, contributing their scholarly and literary genius, creating inventions to fuel progress, and their help in making the nation a patchwork quilt of vibrant diversity. Dennis was also an ardent and tireless advocate who worked to end inequality and unfairness wherever he found it. The Dennis Clark Solas Award honors those who, like Clark, are able to reach beyond a narrow sense of self, and to be enlarged and enriched by embracing a common humanity.


The Realizing the American Dream Award recognizes an innovative immigrant who uses his or her talents and hard work to make a positive impact in our region.


The Atlas Award for Advancing Opportunityrecognizes corporate leaders and organizations that understand the benefits of attracting and retaining diverse talent and pursue innovative ways to create opportunities for economic growth in our region.

Sponsor & Advertising Opportunities

Please consider supporting the work we do through sponsorship, with opportunities available ranging from $1,000 – $25,000.

We also have advertising opportunites in our event program ranging from $250 – $2,000.

Our sponsorship packet outlines these various opportunities.