School supporters come together to celebrate social work

Photo of Liz O’Dell serving as MC.

Liz O’Dell serves as MC

On Friday, May 2, a mix of 30 School of Social Work alumni, supporters, advisory board members, faculty, emeriti and staff gathered in the Health and Human Services Building first floor atrium for a Spring Celebration of Social Work. The purpose of the event was to begin to establish and strengthen relationships among the many constituents that comprise the school’s support base. The cost of the event was $25, with proceeds going to assist social work students with scholarships. Those attending enjoyed informal conversation, hors d’oeuvres, beverages and a program that covered updates and issues.

Community Advisory Board Chair Liz O'Dell, M.S.W. '93, served as MC and kept the program moving along. College of Health and Human Services Dean Earlie Washington welcomed the group and provided an overview of the state of the college, reporting details that confirmed its health and wellness. Serving as the keynote, Associate Professor Dr. Don Cooney spoke on the topic of "Poverty and Progress in West Michigan." Dr. Héctor Luis Díaz, who came to the School of Social Work as director and professor in the summer of 2013, took this opportunity to get to know constituents and to speak on the "State of the School of Social Work: Present and Future."

Social work Associate Professor Dr. Barbara Barton was the primary organizer of the event, and she will continue to coordinate development and alumni relations activities for the school. "This was truly a celebration of social work," said Barton, "and much camaraderie was formed among members of our social work family." Those who are interested in these activities are encouraged to contact Barton at