Article by Ava Marante

Pictured: UA School of Social Work Dean Schnavia Hatcher, J. Wayne Sellers, Dr. Rebecca O. Turner, Carolyn Lapsley, and UA President Stuart Bell

On Friday, October 14th, the Social Work Society of the University of Alabama hosted a luncheon at the Tuscaloosa River Market. During this event, some of the state’s most influential and distinguished leaders in the field of social work were recognized and inducted into the Alabama Social Work Hall of Fame. Dean Schnavia Smith Hatcher, Dean of the University of Alabama School of Social Work, shared her thoughts that “the event was wonderful as it was a time wherein we could come together and honor social work pioneers from around the state of Alabama.”

The Class of 2022 Hall of Fame inductees, Carolyn Lapsley, J. Wayne Sellers, and Rebecca Turner, have each dedicated their professional careers to supporting and helping others. These inductees were recognized by their peers and colleagues for their professionalism in the field, exemplary leadership, contributions to the practice of social work, and influence in communities throughout the state.

“Social work is a helping profession, but it is also about building community. Many of the responses from the inductees were about how social work impacted their personal lives and how they want to give back to the community.” shared Dean Hatcher.

When each inductee was asked what advice they would give incoming students in the social work program, each inductee provided an answer that would give incoming social work students insight into their future career path. Wayne Sellers shared that “Students just need to follow their heart… and go into whichever path of social work that fits their purpose in their life.” Carolyn Lapsley said, “They need to be true to themselves and know that social work is a commitment. When you’re working with families and children or with people who have such diverse needs, you must always be open to listen and learn from them no matter what crisis they are in. Always being committed to the process.” Lastly, Rebecca Turner stated, “when you graduate with your bachelor’s degree, you don’t have all the answers. You are at an entry-level practice. You don’t know everything yet. You learn throughout your career. You have to be open to continue learning at every stage of the game.”