Print This Issue

Celebration Marking 100 Years of Social Work Education at Penn
September 9, 2008 , Volume 55, No. 3

The School of Social Policy & Practice’s Centennial Celebration begins with a convocation on Thursday, September 25 at 3 p.m. at the Zellerbach Theatre in the Annenberg Center.

Ralph Nader will deliver the keynote address, Social Justice in the Post-Bush Era. Mr. Nader has spent 40 years advocating for change, exposing problems and helping create several public-interest agencies. He is a world-renowned author, consumer advocate, and political activist. In 1965, He published Unsafe at Any Speed, a best-selling book that demonstrated unsafe engineering of many American automobiles, especially the Chevrolet Corvair produced by General Motors. Mr. Nader is widely recognized as the founder of the consumer rights movement. He played a key role in the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, the Freedom of Information Act and the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Mr. Nader ran for president of the United States three times (1996, 2000 and 2004). He has also authored, co-authored, and edited dozens of books on an array of public interest topics, including Crashing the Party, The Good Fight, and, most recently, The Seventeen Traditions.

“For 100 years, the School of Social Policy & Practice has produced a generation of ‘thought leaders’—clinicians, agency leaders and policymakers,” Dr. Richard J. Gelles, dean, said. “Ralph Nader is an effective social-change agent–-and we are able to create social change because of the commitment of our students and our faculty, programs and research.”

Following the keynote address, there will be an alumni panel discussion, Achieving Social Justice, as well as a reception with light fare at 5 p.m. Panel moderator, Dr. Carol Wilson Spigner, is the Kenneth L.M. Pray Distinguished Professor at the School of Social Policy & Practice. From 1994 to 1999, she was Associate Commissioner of the Children’s Bureau of the US Department of Health and Human Services, where she was responsible for the administration of federal child welfare programs. She has been a senior associate at the Center for the Study of Social Policy and a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (where she directed the National Child Welfare Leadership Center) and the University of California, Los Angeles. She began her career working for the Los Angeles County Departments of Adoption and Probation.

Distinguished Alumni Panelists

David G. Gil, MSW 1958, DSW 1963, professor of social policy, Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University since 1964. Born in Vienna, Austria, he left as a refugee after the 1938 German occupation and has lived and worked in Sweden, Palestine/Israel and the USA. Writings include: Violence Against Children (1970), Unravelling Social Policy (1973), The Challenge of Social Equality (1976), Beyond the Jungle (1979), and Confronting Injustice and Oppression (1998). He is also a social and political activist, co-chair of the Socialist Party USA, 1995-1999 and president, Association for Humanist Sociology, 1981.

William Johnston-Walsh, MSW 1989, deputy secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Aging. He has wide ranging experience with issues that affect older Pennsylvanians: National Legislative Representative for Pennsylvania AARP, Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, responsible for consumer fraud education and the protection of elderly consumers.

Darlene C. Marshall-Lee, MSW 2005, corporate director of North Philadelphia Health Systems Social Service Department. Her lifetime dream is to create and become the executive director of “WHOW” (Women Helping Other Women). She is also an addiction survivor.

Jenna Mehnert, MSW 1995, advocate. executive director, Pennsylvania chapter of the NASW. She was instrumental in the passage of House Bill 1693, signed into law by the Governor of Pennsylvania that creates “title” protection for individuals with social work degrees.



Almanac - September 9, 2008, Volume 55, No. 3