The Alabama Social Work Hall of Fame was founded by the school’s Social Work Society to honor the outstanding accomplishments of some of the state’s most distinguished leaders in the field of social work. Every year, the School of Social Work hosts a luncheon to celebrate honorees’ achievements and welcome a new class of inductees.
2019 Nomination Period Closed
Social Work Society Annual Fund supporters who contributed to the fund between Oct. 1, 2017, and Sept. 30, 2018, can nominate a retired social worker for induction into the 2019 Hall of Fame. The 2019 nomination deadline ended July 12, 2019. Learn about the induction process and criteria.
Mr. Paul Vincent’s career in social work spans over 50 years, beginning with earning his Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Alabama in 1972. He spent the foundational years of his career working for the Alabama Department of Human Resources in child support enforcement. His work improving the lives of children by ensuring their financial well-being, led to his appointment as the Director of the Child Support Enforcement Division and subsequently as the Child Welfare Director of the Department of Human Resources. In 1996, after retiring from Alabama DHR, Mr. Vincent founded the Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group, a non-profit organization that provides assistance to agencies tasked with protecting children and strengthening families. He served as its Director for 23 years, retiring in 2019.
Over the arc of his career, Mr. Vincent’s diligent advocacy for children and families has had a broad impact on their well-being not only in Alabama, but across the country. Under his leadership, Alabama underwent what the New York Times referred to as “the country’s most sweeping transformations of the handling of neglected and abused children.” Alabama continues to be considered a national model for protecting children and preserving families, thanks to Mr. Vincent’s legacy. Beyond Alabama, Mr. Vincent and his Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group have helped guide front-line practice change with the aim, in Mr. Vincent’s words, “to help the family achieve safety, permanency, and well-being.”
Ms. Debbie Austin Land began her career working with social security recipients after graduating from Jacksonville State University in 1974. Her long and distinguished career in social work began after the receipt of her MSW from the University of Alabama in 1993. While at the School, Ms. Land discovered her passion for working with abused and neglected children. After graduation, she began her career with the Prescott House in Birmingham, a child-advocacy center that provides hope and healing for child victims of physical and sexual abuse, severe neglect, and who have witnessed violent crime. Moving from Crisis Intervention Counselor to Clinical Director at the Prescott House, Ms. Land served as a strong advocate for the rights of the most vulnerable of victims.
Ms. Land brought her expertise to the Bessemer Cut-Off Advocacy Center in 2000, first as their Clinical Director and then, for over a decade, as the Director of the center. Under her leadership, the Center provided unmatched support to children impacted by all types of traumatic events, including childhood sexual abuse, physical abuse, and neglect. Ms. Land has shared her knowledge of forensic interviewing nationally by serving as a Forensic Interviewer Trainer Assistant at the National Child Advocacy Center for fifteen years. Throughout her career, Ms. Land has impacted the lives of thousands of children in need.
Dr. Kathleen “Kathy” Bolland ( Sept. 6, 1950 – Feb. 23, 2015) is lauded as a pioneer in higher education and program evaluation. Her long, distinguished career began in 1974 at the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, where she served as a personnel testing specialist for the Intergovernmental Personnel Act Program and later became the program’s evaluator and grants coordinator. In 1978, she began her career in higher education, assuming teaching, programming and administrative roles at The Ohio State University, University of Kansas, and The University of Alabama. She worked at UA in various capacities from 1985 until her death. From 1999 to 2008, she was an assistant professor, assistant chair of the PhD program, BSW program chair, and assistant dean for educational programs and student services with the UA School of Social Work. Her leadership skills also were highly regarded outside the school. She provided 30 years of service to the American Evaluation Association (AEA), helping to shape the organization into what it is today. When Dr. Bolland passed in 2015 while serving as assistant dean for educational programs and student services, she left a legacy with AEA and in higher education as a dedicated educator and evaluation scholar-practitioner, who contributed to the application of cutting-edge ideas in social work and education. These are just some of the many contributions Dr. Bolland made to the field of social work through her research, her teaching, and her administration in the School of Social Work. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Oakland University, master’s degree in human experimental psychology from the University of Washington, and a PhD in social work from The University of Alabama.
Catherine “Kate” Ball retired from the federal government after 20 years of distinguished service, which included employment with the Department of the Army. While serving as a Department of the Army civilian employee, she served in various locations across the world, including Fort Riley, Kansas and the cities of Heidelberg, Mannheim and Karlsruhe in Germany. She returned to Tuscaloosa in 1991 and began her long career as a clinical social worker at the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center, where she served as a supervisory social worker program management officer and the director of mental health outpatient programs and services. During her career with the federal government, Ball received numerous awards and recognitions for her wealth of experience in the social work field, including the National Association of Social Work’s (NASW) Lifetime Achievement Award and NASW-Alabama Chapter’s Social Worker of the Year Award. She also devoted time outside of her work to elevating the profession of social work. She has served as the continuing education chair of the international chapter of NASW and she is a past president of the Social Work Society of The University of Alabama School of Social Work. In 2009, she was recruited out of retirement by the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center to coordinate a multi-city research program for Tuscaloosa, Alabama; San Diego, California; Houston, Texas; Charleston, South Carolina, and Bronx, New York. In 2012, she was recruited out of retirement for a second time to develop the Telephone Assisted Dementia Outreach Clinic at the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center. Under the program, she helped social workers adopt an evidence-based research protocol for clinical use in assisting rural veterans with dementia and their family-care supports. A proud graduate of the University’s MSW program, Ball’s career accomplishments also include working as an adjunct faculty member in UA’s School of Social Work and social work instructor at Shelton State Community College. She retired for a third time in 2015. Ball currently practices part-time as a private, independent practitioner and continues to provide clinical supervision to clients throughout the state. She received her bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Patricia Swift Blalock, (May 9, 1914- Sept. 7, 2011) graduated from Alabama College, now the University of Montevallo, in 1936 and the University of Chicago’s pioneering graduate program in social work, receiving her MSW. Shortly after graduating from college, she moved to Selma, Alabama. In her early career, she served as truant officer in Marion, Alabama. In 1936, she became the assistant state supervisor of the Alabama Crippled Children’s Service in Selma, Alabama. In this position, she traveled regularly through a 28-county district setting up clinics for children with birth defects and crippling illnesses such as polio and osteomyelitis. In 1946, she married and briefly became a stay-at-home mother, retiring from social work. In 1951, she returned to work in the Dallas County Public Library in Selma on a part-time basis. She later served as an assistant for the library and in 1963 she assumed the position of library director at the urging of the library’s board. As director, she led the full, peaceful integration of the library in 1963, a year before the Civil Rights Act was signed into law. Her passion for fostering the development of others grew during her 27-year tenure as director of the Selma-Dallas County Public Library, from which she retired in 1988. Under her stewardship the library expanded its mission as a book repository to become a center for community and individual development and progress for all people in Dallas County. She successfully spearheaded the construction of a new library in the town’s city center in 1976 by exercising her keen talent for bringing diverse stakeholders together to achieve a common purpose. That talent, along with her fierce conviction that access to library services is a fundamental right of all citizens, was recognized by the International Library Science Honor Society when they designated her Librarian of the Year in 2000 for Exceptional Leadership in Librarianship. She was distinguished for her leadership in the peaceful integration of the Selma Library during a time of near universal strife and frequently violent struggles over the integration of public facilities in Alabama. In 1992, she also was recognized by the Alabama Library Association with the Distinguished Services Award, which honors individuals who have made a significant contribution toward the development of library service in the state of Alabama. Her extraordinary intelligence, vivacity and selfless devotion to the well being of others continues to inspire all who knew her.
Thomas Cook is a native of Phenix City, Alabama. In the third grade, his family moved to Miami, Florida. In Florida, he attended high school and went on to graduate from The University of West Florida in Pensacola with his BSW degree in December 1972. In January 1973, he and his family moved to Tuscaloosa, where he began his long career in social work at the Partlow State School. In 1976, he earned his MSW from The University of Alabama School of Social Work. His field placements at UAB Spain Rehab, where he worked with families whose loved ones had spinal cord injuries or strokes, and the UAB Sparks Center for Developmental and Learning Disorders, where he assisted families whose children had developmental disabilities, helped to shape his future career in social work. Early in his social work career, he briefly served as a member of the Children’s Hospital Child Protection Team in UAB’s Department of Pediatrics. In this role, he assessed cases of suspected child abuse and neglect, and if appropriate, referred the case to protective services at DHR. In May 1984, he began his 32-year career with Catholic Family Services (CFS) as the child welfare coordinator in the agency’s Birmingham office. During his early career with CFS, he worked with women facing crisis pregnancies, completed adoption home studies and placements, and supervised children (usually infants) in foster care. He also provided marriage, family, and individual counseling. He later became director of CFS in Birmingham, expanding its programs and services to reach diverse populations. He earned his DSW from UA’s School of Social Work in 1988. Since 1994, he has worked part-time as a private practitioner both in outpatient psychiatric clinics and with employee assistance programs. He retired from full-time social work in May 2016, calling his career “wonderful and fulfilling.” He is married to Dolores Gonzales Cook, his wife of 39 years, and he has three adult children: Jonathan, Kevin, and Arlyn.
Joyce O’Neal is a native of Selma, Alabama and was educated in Selma Public Schools. She is a graduate of Stillman College with a bachelor’s degree in history. She received her MSW from The University of Alabama in 1993. She completed the Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in July 2000. In 2009, she retired from state service after 35 years and after rapidly climbing the state merit system ladder. Her career accomplishments include serving as a county director in Perry and Macon counties. She also made outstanding contributions to the social work field as director of the state’s food assistance program, which is now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Under her leadership, Alabama’s SNAP program received more than $4 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture due to a drastic reduction in the program’s error rate. Ms. O’Neal also advocated for a SNAP program to help the elderly and disabled receive benefits without office visits. This program is now the largest in SNAP and it received an award from the USDA in 2015. Ms. O’Neal became the first African American to be elected to the State Personnel Board, a role she held twice in her career. As a member of the Board, she represented the interests of state employees in decisions that affected them as merit system employees. She continues to be a public servant in many aspects of her life and believes in giving back through community service.
Joanne Terrell is a native of Alabama. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the State University of New York and MSW from The University of Alabama. She served as a social work faculty member at UA for 20 years, retiring in June 2015. She has made countless contributions to the field of forensic social work, paving the way for state social workers in this field to work hand-in-hand with courts. Terrell began her career in forensic social work in 1990 as director of social work and rehabilitation at the Alabama Department of Mental Health’s Taylor Harden Secure Medical Facility, which provides comprehensive psychiatric evaluation/treatment to the criminally committed throughout the state and forensic evaluations to criminal courts for the state of Alabama. She developed the facility’s Rehabilitation Discharge Program, providing second chance opportunities for inmate patients. Over the subsequent years, she became a litigation specialist, assisting criminal defense attorneys by developing alternative sentencing. Most significantly, she helped more than 100 low-income defendants receive “life in prison” versus the “death penalty.” Her contributions as a litigation specialist paved the way for other social workers to testify as experts in litigation. She practices clinical social work part-time in her private practice, which she has maintained for over 30 years.
James Dupree Jr.James Dupree Jr., a native of Birmingham, spent more than 25 years in juvenile justice and retired in 1998 as the executive director of the Alabama Department of Youth Services. He’s taught at Miles College, Troy State University, Alabama State University and the University of Alabama Graduate School of Social Work. Since his retirement, he’s worked as a contract lobbyist for the Bloom Group Inc., based in Montgomery. He continues to serve on a number of boards and committees, including the River Region Red Cross and the Alabama Youth Services. Dupree, who resides in Montgomery, is a graduate of The University of Alabama.
Gayle Lees SandlinGayle Lee Sandlin, of Wetumpka, began her 38-year professional career at the Department of Pensions and Securities in her hometown of Mobile and then with the state office in Montgomery where she managed Title XX grants from the Social Security Act. As the second director of social work for the Alabama Department of Public Health, she led the expansion of an extensive network of licensed social workers and supervisors in the state, regional and county health departments. She co-chaired a task force responsible for the creation of Alabama’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP – ALLKids) and served as program director for 10 years.
Charlotte HamnerCharlotte Smitherman Hamner, a lifelong resident of Tuscaloosa, passed away in February 2016. She worked nearly 50 years in psychiatric social work at both the state and federal level. Hamner earned both her BSW and MSW at The University of Alabama and was a member of the School of Social Work’s first MSW graduating class in 1969. She was program supervisor for Social Work in Psychiatry at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Tuscaloosa, until retiring in 1997. Her retirement was brief, and she returned to her beloved profession in the role of social work supervisor at Bryce Hospital in Tuscaloosa, where she later became director.
Dr. Edith C. Fraser is a retired professor from Alabama A&M University in Huntsville, Alabama. Prior to her time there she served at Oakwood College/University from1985 to 2009 as the Director of Field Instruction, Chair of Social Work Department and had a dual appointment as professor in Social Work Department and Director of Faculty Development and Research. She is a native of Louisville, Kentucky and received her Bachelor of Arts from University of Louisville (1970), her MSW from Boston University (1972) and Ph.D. from Smith College School for Social Work (1994). As a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers and a Licensed Certified Social Worker, she has presented nationally and internationally on topics focusing on victims of Crime, victims of domestic violence, child abuse and/or neglect, homeless populations, AIDS sufferers, women in poverty and minority populations.
John M. Houston is a lifelong resident of Alabama with a nearly 40-year career in the human services field. He received his BA degree from Auburn University and MA and MSW degrees from the University of Alabama. Houston served as Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Mental Health from 2005-2011. He has been a long time leader in advocacy for children’s services. He was active in the drafting and passage of state legislation promoting early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities and also for interagency collaborative services for multiple needs children. Houston continues to work as an advocate for children serving as the Chairperson of Alabama Children First.
Harriett Ivory Means was born in Detroit, Michigan. She received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Wayne State University. Her Ph.D. was completed at The University of Alabama School of Social Work in 2003. Means began social work practice in 1968 and retired in 2012 from Troy University as an Associate Professor of Social Work. She is married to Elbert Means and together they have three children and four grandchildren.
Phyllis Alston retired from the Department of Veterans Affairs after 32 years of service including: Clinical Social Worker, Social Work Supervisor, and Assistant Chief of Social Work. After her retirement, she worked with The University of Alabama, School of Social Work in the Distance Learning Program. Alston also served as adjunct faculty for both Tuskegee University and The University of Southern Mississippi. In 2005, she started Alston Consulting and Training, LLC, a firm that specializes in customer service and performance improvement training. Alston is a Licensed Certified Social Worker, Licensed Private Independent Practitioner (PIP), and a member of the National Association of Social Workers and the Academy of Certified Social Workers.
Dr. Lucinda Roff retired from the University of Alabama after over 38 years of distinguished service, including service as Dean and most recently Interim Dean of the School of Social Work from 2010 through 2014. Dr. Roff has authored and co-authored over 50 articles published in refereed journals, as well as other publications. She has presented over 40 talks at professional conferences and colloquia. Dr. Roff is a well-respected teacher of social work at all levels, and has served on over 15 dissertation committees. She is a well-known scholar in her areas of research: social gerontology, family caregiving for the elderly, religiousness and aging, public opinion about social welfare policy, and aging and public policy.
Knox “Gil” Jennings, whose social work career spanned more than 30 years, served the Alabama Department of Human Resources in many capacities and was deputy commissioner for 13 years. He was heavily involved in creating the Department of Youth Services and served as an elected member of the Alabama State Personnel Board. Jennings also served as executive director of the Alabama Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers and as executive director of the Alabama Mental Health Association. Jennings received his Master of Social Work from Florida State University.
Margaret Beasley Pierson was employed as a caseworker at the Jefferson County Department of Pensions and Security. She served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. After earning her Master of Social Work from Simmons College, she returned to Alabama and was employed by the State Crippled Children’s Service. She worked with the local YMCA to develop the first summer camp for children with handicaps at Camp Cosby. She served as an Alabama delegate to the 1960 White House Conference on Children and Youth. When the School of Social Work at The University of Alabama was established, Pierson participated in the search for the first dean.
Lois Robison had the distinction of being a member of the first (1969) graduating class of The University of Alabama’s Master of Social Work program. She was a social worker at the Pickens County Department of Human Resources for more than 30 years. She also focused her skills on community services for the Geer Center in her hometown, Carrollton. After years of hard work, her efforts culminated in the building of a new facility in 1992, which was named the Robison Geer Center in honor of her and Herbert Geer. The Robison Geer Center continues providing mental health outpatient services as part of the Indian Rivers Community Mental Health Center.
Dr. Jack Sellers established the department of social work at the University of North Alabama in 1974, and he remained director of the program until his retirement in 2007. A doctoral graduate of The University of Alabama School of Social Work, Sellers developed a strong, national reputation for his work as a social work educator and leader. At the national level, Sellers was active in accreditation activities of the Council on Social Work Education and received the Significant Lifetime Achievement award from the Baccalaureate Program Directors organization in 2007. His achievements in administration, education and practice include helping to establish a group home for girls in his community with a grant from the Alabama Department of Youth Services.
Dr. Sharon Shelton earned her Master of Social Work and doctorate in Educational Psychology/Research from The University of Alabama. She was a faculty member at The University of Alabama School of Social Work for 19 years, and she also served as assistant dean. Following her retirement from social work education, she became director of the DCH Employee Assistance Program, where she served for 12 years. Additionally, Shelton served as president of the Alabama State Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers and vice-chair of the Alabama Board of Social Work Examiners. She has continued to remain active in a wide variety of community service projects.
Dr. Gerald Eure is an Associate Professor Emeritus at The University of Alabama School of Social Work. Dr. Eure received his MSW from Tulane University in 1959. He worked in child welfare and family counseling for several years before joining the faculty at the University in 1968. He received the EdD from the University in 1975. During his tenure with the School of Social Work, he served as director of field education and BSW program chair. He retired in 1996. Dr. Eure devoted his career to the practice of social work and the quality education of future social workers.
Dorothy J. Underwood is retired Director of Social Services at Children’s Aid Society. Underwood has had a long career as a social worker, supervisor, and administrator. She began her career with the Jefferson County Department of Pensions and Security and later joined the staff of Children’s Aid Society, where she worked until her retirement in 1997. She has exhibited an exemplary commitment to training and equipping social workers to do the best job possible in serving their constituent populations.
Dr. Susan Vaughn is Professor Emerita at the University of Montevallo, Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences. Dr. Vaughn joined the faculty at the University of Montevallo in 1975. She received a PhD in Social Work from Case Western Reserve University in 1986 and continued to serve at Montevallo until her retirement in 2009. Dr. Vaughn chaired the social work program at Montevallo and demonstrated a constant, strong commitment to mentoring students and preparing them for the profession of social work.
Dr. Susan G. Barfoot is retired from the Central Alabama Veterans Healthcare System. Dr. Barfoot has dedicated her life to serving individuals, groups, families and communities/organizations within Alabama. She was a pioneer in the promotion and development of social work practice in rural and medical settings and was active in the passage of the Alabama Social Work licensure law. She spent years serving veterans of Alabama, ensuring that they and their families received the care and service they needed.
Dr. Raymond O. Sumrall is retired from the Youth Services Institute at The University of Alabama. Dr. Sumrall devoted his 57-year career in social work to improving the lives of troubled juveniles. His insistence that children in the juvenile justice system be exposed to clinical treatment programs which foster self-esteem, healing and personal growth has changed the way in which juveniles are treated in state facilities in Alabama.
James E. Ware is retired from the Dallas County Department of Human Resources. A life-long public servant, Mr. Ware served as a dedicated social worker for 39 years. During his nearly 25 years with DHR, Mr. Ware encouraged his staff to use innovation and to meet clients’ needs. He stressed the importance of maintaining integrity and balances his impeccable professionalism with a caring and empathetic spirit.
Dr. Shelley Wyckoff is retired from Alabama A&M University. As a social work educator, Dr. Wyckoff devoted her career to training the next generation of social workers, ensuring the future of the profession. She spent much of her time outside the classroom advocating for vulnerable and oppressed populations, serving them through her compassionate scholarship.
Lya Battle Dowe accepted a position with the Tuskegee Veteran’s Administration Medical Center (VAMC) in 1954. She became interested in the Center’s Community Residential Care Program. Ms. Dowe worked hard to expand the program so that a greater number of veterans could benefit from de-institutionalization and return to community living. This dedicated, untiring social worker was the driving force that led to the placement of hundreds of emotionally and physically fragile veterans in safe, secure foster homes. Sponsors were willing to accept veterans into their homes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Veterans who may have spent the remainder of their lives in long- term psychiatric care, were successfully returned to the community.
Gene Gandy worked on electronic benefit transfer (EBT) planning, design, development, and implementation for the state of Alabama in 1990. Along with Anne Harris of the state of Georgia, he initiated a joint EBT venture for Alabama and Georgia. It later developed into the Southern Alliance of States – SAS – through the efforts of Alabama DHR Commissioner of Human Resources Andrew P. Hornsby. SAS petitioned the office of President Bill Clinton to designate SAS as a prototype for national EBT. Alabama became the first of nine SAS states to implement an EBT pilot.
Myron Allen Uptain started his career as program director with the Presbyterian Home for Children in Talladega and was later appointed executive vice president. In September 2001, Uptain was elected to be the eleventh president of the Presbyterian Home for Children. Soon afterward, his life and work were tragically cut short. Uptain, at age 49, passed away on October 13, 2001, from cancer. He also was known to the state legislature and political groups as an outspoken advocate for children, youth, and their families. Mr. Uptain was instrumental in achieving fair and equitable rates for residential childcare and guidelines for proper placement of children based on their needs.
Dr. Mary R. Lewis worked as an Associate Professor of Social Work at The University of Alabama from 1976 to 1980. In 1980, Dr. Lewis accepted a position at the University of Houston Graduate School of Social Work, where she remained until her retirement. She received the rank of full professor in 1980. Dr. Lewis was an early leader in the development of the doctoral program at the University of Alabama School of Social Work. While at The University of Alabama, she was active with both the graduate and undergraduate programs. Dr. Lewis was project director and research consultant on several research projects dealing with juvenile justice and child care services related to the University and the State.
Doris Bender was appointed director of Mobile County’s Department of Pensions and Security where she served for 33 years. She developed a prototype for a statewide program, which is the cornerstone of Alabama’s efforts to combat abuse and neglect of elderly disabled adults. Bender was the first woman outside the staff of the University of South Alabama to serve on the admissions committee of the School of Medicine and the first woman elected to the board of trustees of Spring Hill College.
Harlan Cross Meredith, a Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, always dedicated to education, Mr. Meredith was one of the original community leaders who worked to establish The University of Alabama School of Social Work. He played a key role in the efforts to bring quality graduate education in social work to the State of Alabama, serving as an important liaison with the state legislature. Through his tireless, unselfish efforts, Meredith has touched the lives of literally thousands of people in the State and across the country.
Dr. Charles R. Atherton had a long and distinguished career as a social work educator at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and The University of Alabama. In 1974, Dr. Atherton came to The University of Alabama School of Social Work where he remained until his retirement in 1994. Throughout the course of his career, Dr. Atherton proved to be a prodigious researcher and a sought after mentor to doctoral students and faculty colleagues, many of whom credit him with assisting them to become better researchers and more prolific publishers.
Dr. Leslie J. Shellhase was known for his longstanding interest in ethical issues. Early in his life, Dr. Shellhase served as a combat infantryman in World War II. He represented the Department of Defense on the Presidential Manpower Commission, for which he received a commendation from President Lyndon B. Johnson. In the 1970s, Dr. Shellhase volunteered to direct a project to revise the National Association of Social Worker’s Code of Ethics. Prior to his involvement, the Code, which was adopted in 1960, had only been revised once.
Robert “Bob” Quinnelly held a long and distinguished career at the Veteran’s Administration Medical Center. he made a significant difference in the lives of military veterans and their families during his tenure with the VA. He implemented an innovative community mental health program designed to provide mental health services to veterans which became the prototype for community-based VA services to the present date.
Dr. Ethel Hall was a member of the first group of students to obtain a doctorate in Social Work from The University of Alabama. After a career in the Birmingham public schools, she was a faculty member of The University of Alabama School of Social Work and served as director of field education. After her retirement from the faculty, Dr. Hall was elected to the State Board of Education where she served for many years and was named vice president emerita.
Erin Wheeler was director of the Mobile County Department of Human Resources for 25 years. She started her career as a caseworker in 1962 with the Mobile County Department of Pensions and Security (later the Department of Human Resources) and later served in several positions within the department before she was appointed director in January 1977, where she served until her retirement in April 2002. Wheeler was instrumental in establishing a scholarship for county DHR directors. This scholarship was made possible through the Alabama Association of County Directors of Human Resources and made it possible for recipients to attend three-week residential training at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. The scholarship was later named the Doris Bender Executive Development Scholarship, in honor of the director of the Mobile County Department of Pensions and Security from 1943-76. Wheeler also was instrumental as she led the reform of the Child Welfare Program under the R.C. Consent Decree.
Betty C. Glasscock was a leader and advocate for the social work profession and played a vital role in achieving social work licensure in Alabama. Her career has included serving as executive director of the National Association of Social Workers along with numerous academic and administrative positions with The University of Alabama, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Easter Seals of Central Alabama and Gorman and Associates. Glasscock also led the effort to position social workers in the school systems in Alabama.
Martha Joyce Greathouse had a strong commitment to Alabama’s children and their families. She worked behind the scenes promoting social work skills and ethics to enhance the quality of life for at risk populations. A tireless advocate for Alabama’s children, she practiced for 39 years with the Children’s Aid Society of Birmingham
Barbara G. Bonfield championed many causes for the welfare of defenseless children and the elderly population. She played an important role in the political process of electing people who represented the goals of the people of Alabama and the profession of social work. Bonfield was the founder and Executive Director of Human and Natural Resources, Inc. Bonfield served as Executive Director of Ms. Senior Alabama, Inc., Jefferson County Office of Senior Citizens and Elder Garden and Human Resources. She was also a child welfare caseworker, with both Children’s Aid Society and the Department of Pensions and Security.
Dr. Phillip E. Crunk served as the first Associate Dean of The University of Alabama School of Social Work from 1970 to 1976. He designed and, for 16 years, directed a cooperative MSW program between The University of Alabama School of Social Work and Hong Kong Shue Yan College. In 1986, he assumed leadership of the Washington, DC, Field Education Program, which he directed for the next 20 years.
Dr. P. Frederick Delliquadri – Dr. Delliquadri served as Dean of The University of Alabama School of Social Work from 1972 to 1981. Prior to this appointment, Dr. Delliquadri had a solid career in child welfare and social work education. He served as Director of the US Children’s Bureau and as Dean of the Schools of Social Work at Columbia University, the University of Hawaii and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Tony D. Walker is a loyal alumnus of The University of Alabama School of Social Work. He was an original member of the School’s Board of Friends and helped to raise significant funds in scholarship endowments. Walker was a member of the faculty of the Social Work Program at Troy State University for 19 years before retiring.
Mary Avis Todd was one of the founding faculty members of The University of Alabama School of Social Work where she taught until her retirement in 1978. She had a compassion for others and a creative manner in which she met challenges. Her primary strength was an ability to relate to people from diverse backgrounds and to help others, especially her students, to respect all people. When Mary Avis Todd began her career as a Special Field Representative for the American Red Cross, social work was a fledgling profession and she became an active participant in its growth. Before her retirement, Todd developed an innovative international study course to study the impact of poverty in Guatemala.
Dale Brantley demonstrated enthusiasm, pride, and commitment for his work and for the social work profession throughout his long, illustrious career. He received national recognition for his work at the Sparks Center for Development and Learning Disorders and publications in mental retardation, developmental disabilities, and special needs children and families. His teaching, consulting, and student supervising careers included Samford University, The University of Alabama, the UAB School of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the UAB School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics.
George Martin Phyfer had a distinguished career in the field of youth corrections. Because of Phyfer’s expertise in juvenile corrections, he was sought out by colleagues around the country for consultation. He later became the Executive Director of the Alabama Department of Youth Services and served as a consultant to other states in this capacity.
Dr. Ben Avis Orcutt was the founding chair of the doctoral program at The University of Alabama School of Social Work and was an active member of the Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education (GADE), an international association of social work doctoral programs. She held academic appointments in the Schools of Social Work at Louisiana State University, Columbia University, and The University of Alabama. She was recognized internationally for her consulting and teaching of research at two programs in London, England.
Sara Bell Penrod “Penny” Allen was a social work educator, administrator and practitioner who contributed extensively to the social work profession throughout her adult life. Allen was the first social worker at Bryce Hospital. She was a founder of The University of Alabama School of Social Work and a member of the committee to select the School’s first dean. Subsequently, she served on the faculty and was chair of the BSW Program. She was a founder of the Alabama Mississippi Social Work Conference, now one of the oldest regional social work education conferences in the United States. The University of Alabama’s Penny Allen Award, recognizing outstanding leadership, is named in her honor.
Dr. Mary Margaret Carr gave a lifetime of exemplary service to professional practice, education, administration, development of community resources, and to state and national organizations that enhance human welfare. She worked for the Jefferson County Department of Pensions and Security and in administrative and consultative positions for the American Red Cross. Later, she served as Executive Director of the Family Counseling Center of Jefferson County and Executive Director of the Child Service and Family Counseling Center of Atlanta. In all of her positions, Dr. Carr was an innovator and a catalyst for the formation of new social work programs and services.
Dr. Howard B. Gundy, Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, was the first dean of The University of Alabama School of Social Work. He previously served as first director and first dean of the Syracuse University School of Social Work and later went to Sacramento State College (California) as the first Dean of the Social Work program. Dr. Gundy also served The University of Alabama as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Acting President.
Ada Kate Morgan earned her BS degree from Troy State University. After teaching school in Andalusia for six years and serving as Director of the Bullock Co. Department of Pensions and Security, she attended the University of Chicago and acquired a MS in Social Work. In 1953, she became the Director of the Montgomery County Dept. of Pensions and Security where she served with distinction for 33 years. Morgan was instrumental in organizing the Alabama Association of County Directors, developed its Constitution & By-Laws and served as its president from 1956-58. She was a Charter Member of the National Association of Social Work and the Academy of Certified Social Work. She was the first Certified Social Worker in Alabama and served as President of the Alabama Chapter from 1964-65. Morgan was the driving force behind the creation of the School of Social Work at the University of Alabama. Later she endowed the school with a$10,000 scholarship for graduate students. During her career, she was presented with forty awards. She retired in February 1986 after 45 years of service to the State.
Louise Pittman’s pioneering work is most evident in her position as director of the Bureau of Family and Children Services in Alabama from 1964 to 1988. In this position, she developed innovative approaches to adoption services and to staff development. Pittman began her work in the social work field as a truant officer and school attendant officer in 1935. During the Great Depression, she had to help families and children obtain adequate clothes and food so that children could go to school. She worked with church groups to set up food kitchens, and in her summers worked with the Works Progress Administration taking job applications. A graduate with a degree in sociology from Montevallo University in Alabama, Pittman later attended graduate school at the University of Chicago, where she received her master’s degree in social service administration. She was hired in 1938 as a special child welfare worker. In 1940, she began working with the State Department of Public Welfare in foster care and adoption. She has been active in Child Welfare League of America, American Public Welfare Association, and NASW. She retired and currently lives in Montgomery, Alabama.
Lady Portis Cunningham, a Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, is best remembered for her impact on young social workers and the social work profession. A long-time employee of the Alabama Department of Mental Health and Retardation, she was active in implementing the department’s compliance with the social services requirements of the Wyatt v. Stickney federal court order. Cunningham also worked for the passage of social work licensure in Alabama.
Eulene Hawkins, a Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, worked for nineteen years with the American Red Cross in Washington, DC. She won an Alabama Supreme Court ruling that overturned the Governor’s prohibition on exemptions from the State’s mandatory retirement age, enabling her to continue working in the Department of Pensions and Security. Following her mandatory retirement, Hawkins was the first Executive Director of the Alabama Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers for nearly seven years.