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Alumni & Giving

Alumni Hall of Fame and Homecoming

Save the Date - CSW TAILGATE - SAT OCT 7

Join us for our annual homecoming tailgate and watch OSU take on Maryland this October! There will be food, drinks, music, face painting, arcade games courtesy of Buckeye Arcade Truck, ice cream, and more! The tailgate this year will take place on  Saturday, October 7, 2023, behind Stillman Hall. Formal Save the Date and invitation to follow.








Save the date for our 2023 Alumni Hall of Fame celebration!

Our annual College of Social Work Alumni Hall of Fame celebration will take place on Friday, October 6, 2023. More information will be forthcoming.

2022 Recipients

Awarded to College of Social Work alumni for exceptional professional achievements, initiatives, or leadership in one or more of the following areas: practice/clinical excellence, community development, advocacy, education, or administration.

Lisa DurhamLisa Durham (BSSW ’88, MSW ’97)
Lisa Durham, MSW, LISW-S, is the assistant dean of strategic initiatives and community engagement for The Ohio State University College of Social Work, where she has worked for the past 15 years. Durham came to the college as the field director before shifting her focus to overseeing fundraising, alumni, communications, continuing education, career services, general community engagement and creating an advocacy position for the college. Durham has spent a great deal of her time engaging in meaningful conversations and culture change in the university community and the Central Ohio community as well.

Through different strategies she has learned, Durham has facilitated or co-facilitated over 100 different conversations that led to new strategic plans, culture change, new visioning or the creation of new values for an organization.

In 2017, she received the university’s Distinguished Staff Member of the Year Award. Durham is most proud of the team she has created, their dedication to the college and its mission, and their overwhelming success together.

Prior to coming to the college, Durham worked for the Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging for 16 years as a case manager, program manager, and finally the director of community engagement and outreach. During her time there, she helped seniors stay as independent as possible in their own homes, improved their quality of life, implemented a self-directed home care program, and oversaw an eight-county outreach and education program, including the National Family Caregiver Support Program. During her first three years as a social worker, she worked in community mental health where she believes she truly learned what it means to be a social worker. She also trained and volunteered for the Suicide Prevention Hotline. Lisa received both her undergraduate and master’s degrees from the College of Social Work. Her greatest joy is her family and at current count, five grandchildren.

John GregoryJohn Gregory (MSW ’06)

John R. Gregory is senior vice president of operations at LifeCare Alliance. LifeCare Alliance,  founded in 1898 as the Instructive District Nurses Association, is one of Central Ohio’s oldest and largest not-for-profit organizations with annual revenues of $12.5 million and 300 employees. LifeCare Alliance’s mission is to provide health and nutrition services to those in need in Central Ohio. For each senior or chronically ill individual who remains independent and in their own home through the services of LifeCare Alliance, the taxpayers of Ohio save over $40,000 per year.

In 2002, LifeCare Alliance prepared 1.5 million meals in its food production facility on Columbus’ west side. Volunteers and staff of the Meals-on-Wheels program delivered 1.1 million meals to clients, driving one million miles. About 167,000 meals were served in 26 dining centers, which provide socialization and programming for clients and approximately 1,200 after-school/supper meals were delivered each school day to over 40 urban sites to assist children ages six to 18.

The Visiting Nurses of LifeCare Program in Central Ohio has existed since 1898, making over 11,000 home visits in 2001, and serving thousands more in their Wellness Centers and through immunization programs. Over 25,000 hours of home care and home health care services, including personal care, shopping, cleaning, and laundry, were also provided during 2001.

Gregory is a licensed independent social worker with supervision designation with nearly thirty years of practice. Prior to joining LifeCare Alliance, Gregory was the Social Service Coordinator for Southside Learning and Development Center (SSLDC) for five years. SSLDC provides childcare as well as social work services for low income families.

Gregory earned his Master of Social Work degree from The Ohio State University in 2006. Gregory prepared a thesis titled “Differences in Service Continuity, Client Satisfaction and Worker Satisfaction Between Traditional Home Care Service Delivery and Home Care on the Highway program.” Gregory completed his Bachelor of Social Work degree from Capital University, and is a graduate of Miami Trace High School. Gregory has also earned a Certificate of Completion in Gerontology from the Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health Office of Geriatrics and Gerontology.

Gregory is currently a member of the NASW. He is a past member of The Ohio State University College of Social Work Professional Advisory Committee. Gregory presently serves as a member of the Central Ohio Transit Authority Mobility Advisory Board.

Gregory is a native of Ohio. He and his dog, Gunner, reside in Columbus. Gregory has an adult son.

Linda Powers KunzeLinda Powers Kunze (MSW ’90)

Linda Powers Kunze, LISW, MSW, received her undergraduate degree in 1984 from Wittenberg University and her Masters of Social Work degree in 1990 from The Ohio State University. Powers Kunze’s concentration in graduate school was clinical with a specialization in child and family.

Linda worked for Cuyahoga County Child Protective services from 1986–88, then chose to pursue her master’s degree in social work. Upon graduation from The Ohio State University in 1990, Powers Kunze began working at MetroHealth Medical Center with a focus on pediatric abuse/neglect, pediatric orthopedics, pediatric hematology/oncology and pediatric burn patients. Powers Kunze continues to be a contract employee of the MetroHealth Burn Foundation, focusing on burn survivor programming. Powers Kunze has developed multiple burn survivor programs, including two camps, young adult retreats, a burn survivor/firefighter mentoring program and a scholarship program. Powers Kunze has been a part of the pediatric burn survivor community for 30 years.

Powers Kunze is also employed by Cleveland Clinic. She has focused on home-based medical social work for the past 28 years. Powers Kunze was involved in Cleveland Clinic home care for 20 years and has transitioned to Cleveland Clinic home based palliative medicine social work for the past 8 years.

Powers Kunze’s passion is to advocate for those who may not have a voice or those that are overwhelmed with their life challenges and unable to advocate for themselves. Powers Kunze is very focused on providing therapeutic support to those with chronic or life-limiting illness.

Sharon Urquhart RichardsonSharon Urquhart Richardson (MSW ’76)

Sharon Urquhart Richardson’s 38-year career began with a move to Liberia, West Africa, where she worked for the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare as director of rehabilitation. She was tasked with founding the country’s first school for the blind. This goal was accomplished within the first year of Urquhart Richardson’s arrival and was touted by the president as a major accomplishment in his State of the Nation Address. This success led to Urquhart Richardson becoming director of family welfare, where she was instrumental in establishing Liberia’s SOS Children’s Village for orphans. Remarkably, both facilities continue to function over 40 years later.
A Liberian Coup D’état prompted Urquhart Richardson’s return home to the United States. She became assistant professor of sociology and social work at Hampton University, her undergraduate alma mater. She transitioned to a career as a school social worker with Virginia’s Newport News Public Schools, and was certified as an elementary counselor and a licensed clinical social worker. Urquhart Richardson also volunteered in her community as chair of the interagency child abuse prevention team.
After hearing about Urquhart Richardson’s work in Liberia, Operation Smile, a volunteer medical organization, asked her to introduce them to the continent of Africa. Urquhart Richardson arranged the contacts for their expansion and volunteered as the team’s social worker on Liberian missions. For extraordinary humanitarian contributions, Urquhart Richardson was awarded one of Liberia’s highest honors, the Order of the Star of Africa, by the country’s president.
Now retired, Urquhart Richardson continues working in her community and Africa through leadership in volunteer organizations. Urquhart Richardson has two sons and five granddaughters.


Colleen Dempsey (BSSW ’10, MSW ’12)

Colleen Dempsey, LISW-S, is the practice associate with the Ohio Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. She received both her master’s and bachelor’s degrees from The Ohio State University where she studied clinical social work. Dempsey has maintained clinical practice in various forms throughout her career currently providing equine-assisted psychotherapy at PBJ Connections and previously psychological first response through Netcare’s Community Crisis Response team. At NASW Ohio, Dempsey leads legislative advocacy efforts and supports members with ethical and practice questions. Her true passion lies in bridging micro and macro social work practice and making advocacy work accessible to the average social worker and client.


2021 Recipients

Hall of Fame ceremony

View a video recording from our 2021 Hall of Fame ceremony.

Awarded to College of Social Work alumni for exceptional professional achievements, initiatives, or leadership in one or more of the following areas: practice/clinical excellence, community development, advocacy, education, or administration.

Dr. Ramona Denby-Brinson (PhD ’95)
Ramona Denby-Brinson is the former associate dean for academic affairs at Ohio State’s College of Social Work and the current dean of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work. Denby-Brinson has been practicing as a licensed social worker serving children and families since 1995.

Denby-Brinson is a nationally recognized expert in culturally adapted child welfare services and has received over $34 million in federal, state, and foundation funding to support her research. She has published extensively about kinship care, as well as the mental health and well-being of African American foster children. Denby-Brinson has also served in various state and national leadership roles, including the Society for Social Work and Research and the Council on Social Work Education, two of the most prestigious social work research and educational organizations.

Denby-Brinson has numerous accolades for her scholarship and impact on the field. The Ohio State Community Engaged Champion Award for 2021 is one of two recent honors. This award honors university leaders who have made outstanding contributions to communities in Ohio, the United States, and around the world. She was also designated as a Champion for Children Awardee by the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA). Denby-Brinson also received the 2014 Harry Reid Silver State Research Award for her highly respected research that is responsive to the needs of local and national communities.

Ritika Sharma Kurup (MSW ’03)
Ritika Sharma Kurup is the Senior Director of Learning and Activation at StriveTogether. In this role, she has established the national organization’s data and learning division, which facilitates data-driven learning to support better, more equitable outcomes for every child across the national network of 70 communities.

Over her two-decade career in the U.S. and India, Ritika has led several large-scale community-wide efforts serving children and families. Before joining StriveTogether, Ritika was Director of Early Learning for Learn to Earn Dayton, where she led numerous community-wide learning initiatives and led the launch and development of the community’s education race equity agenda. She also established Dayton’s first out-of-school system, which served over 1,000 students, and led Montgomery County’s Grade-Level Reading Campaign, which was recognized as an All-America City Award winner in 2017.

Previously, Ritika facilitated the establishment of a crisis helpline for homeless children in New Delhi, India, served as the Executive Director of Miami County’s CASA/GAL program, and established Edison State College’s grants office. In 2016, Ritika was named a Children and Family Fellow by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. She has master’s degrees in social work from both the University of Delhi and The Ohio State University and a master’s in public policy from Ohio State.

Traci Lewis (BSSW ’85)
Traci Lewis has been Director of The Ohio State University Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s ACCESS Collaborative (A Comprehensive College Experience for Single-Parent Students) Program since 2006.

A champion for parenting students, her accomplishments include receiving the U.S. Department of Education’s CCAMPIS grant allowing for collaboration with nationally accredited centers to provide childcare. She brokered a collaboration with Community Properties of Ohio to provide affordable housing for parenting students and a mentoring program preparing teenaged high school parents for college by pairing them with ACCESS students as mentors. Also, in partnership with the Department of Athletics, Traci helped create a program to support parenting athletes.

A leader nationally in the support of parenting students, for the last 15 years, Traci coordinates the National Student Parent Support Symposium. She’s a member of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research’s Student Parent Success Initiatives group, the National Advisory Group and Postsecondary Working Group of Ascend, the Aspen Institute’s Educational Think tank. A highly engaged member of the National Association of Black Social Workers, Traci has served on the Executive Board as a National Steering Committee Representative and Co-Chaired several National Committees. She also Co-Chair’s the Parenting and Pregnant Students Support Committee on campus.

Dr. Patricia Lyons (MSW ’88)
Dr. Lyons is the Director of the Social Determinants of Health Innovation Center at Molina Healthcare. Dr. Lyons is responsible for expanding member engagement and support, utilizing SDOH data to inform program development and best practices to address barriers to health care created by social factors. Dr. Lyons is also the owner of Lyons Counseling & Consultation Services.

In 2018, Dr. Lyons contracted with The City of Columbus, Columbus City Council Commission on Black Girls (COBG), convening critical stakeholders legislated to study and assess the quality of life for Black girls ages 11-22. Dr. Lyons formalized the strategy to incorporate research, community input, Subject Matter Experts (SME), and Black Girls telling of HERstory to produce a report on the Quality-of-Life Indicators (QOL) of Black Girls in Columbus, Ohio.

Dr. Lyons completed her Ph.D. in Public Health from the School of Health Sciences at Walden University in Minneapolis, MN. She also holds a Master of Social Work (MSW) from the College of Social Work, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, and a Bachelor of Arts in Rehabilitation Counseling (BA) from Wilberforce University, Wilberforce, OH. She serves as the President of the National Association of Black Social Workers for the Columbus Chapter.


Erin Harris (BSSW ’12, MSW ’13)
Erin Harris is the Program Manager for The Ohio State University Nisonger Center Aspirations program and serves as the social work faculty for LEND, Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities, an advanced graduate interdisciplinary training program. In this role, she has established an administrative structure through the efforts of parent volunteers and integrated technology to update and expand Aspirations’ curriculum and other program offerings. With this, she has expanded the programming which now serves over 300 young people with autism and their families.

Prior to this role, Harris was a Behavioral Health Outpatient Therapist at the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders with Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Harris also developed and teaches a service-learning course at OSU to provide in vivo opportunities for neurotypical and neurodiverse students to learn about disability, inclusion, and the importance of independence and interdependence.

Harris is also committed to giving back to the profession and the OSU community by supervising field interns each year. Harris alongside her team of interns led and launched Aspirations Self Advocacy Program (ASAP), an eight-week program for educating and empowering self-advocates, and established weekly support groups.

2020 Recipients

Awarded to College of Social Work alumni for exceptional professional achievements, initiatives, or leadership in one or more of the following areas: practice/clinical excellence, community development, advocacy, education, or administration.

Edward R. Canda (MSW ’82, PhD ’86)
Ed Canda is Professor Emeritus at the University of Kansas (KU) School of Social Welfare where he was on faculty from 1989–2019.

At Ohio State, Professor Daniel Lee mentored him in transcultural social work and Professor Virginia Richardson chaired his dissertation that developed a framework for spiritually sensitive social work. His practice experience was primarily in Southeast Asian refugee resettlement.

Canda first served as a professor at the University of Iowa’s School of Social Work (1986-1989). At KU, he established the Society for Spirituality and Social Work, which promotes respect for diverse religious and nonreligious perspectives. Much of Canda’s work on the Strengths Perspective addresses growth through experiences of crisis, illness and disability. He was director of KU’s PhD program from 2000-08.

Canda’s extensive international collaborations focused on East Asia and Central Europe. He was a Visiting Professor or Scholar in South Korea (1999, 2000) and Japan (2008, 2014, 2018) and co-taught nine study abroad courses in South Korea.

Among numerous publications, his most influential books are Spiritual Diversity in Social Work Practice and Contemporary Human Behavior Theory. In 2013, the Council on Social Work Education conferred Canda with the Significant Lifetime Achievement Award for innovations about spiritual diversity and spiritual development.

Gretchen Clark Hammond (MSW ’00, PhD ’11)
Gretchen Clark Hammond, PhD, MSW, LSW, LCDCIII, TTS, has worked in human services and addiction treatment since 1999, specializing in quality addiction treatment services, counseling skills and resource procurement.

In 2012, Clark Hammond became the CEO at Mighty Crow. Her company provides grant-writing, development, training, project implementation, evaluation and other management services to organizations working in human service and public health. Mighty Crow has worked with non-profit organizations across the state to secure over $15 million dollars.

Some of Clark Hammond’s awards and recognition include:University Fellow, The Ohio State University Graduate School, 1999-2000; Administration Graduate of the Year, The Ohio State University College of Social Work, 2000; Outstanding Graduate Teaching Associate, The Ohio State University College of Social Work, 2006; Outstanding Graduate Teaching Associate, The Ohio State University College of Social Work, 2007; Edward H. Schmidt Outstanding Young Alumni, University of Toledo, 2007; Outstanding Doctoral Student Teacher, The Ohio State University, 2008; Ernest E. Hayden Award, Ohio Association of Residential Recovery Services, 2008; Randall M. Dana Award of Excellence, Franklin County ADAMH Board Awards, 2011; and Outstanding Community Lecturer, Undergraduate Level, The Ohio State University, 2012.

In addition to this work, Clark Hammond is regularly called upon to provide her clinical insights and teaching skills to organizations to assist them with addiction treatment, quality care and program implementation. Clark Hammond is often requested to facilitate training and education in the areas of trauma-informed care, addiction and recovery, motivational interviewing, and grant-writing and evaluation.

Mighty Crow has grown under the direction of Clark Hammond to a staff of six professionals, providing a wide array of services to organizations across the state of Ohio. She is a community lecturer in the College of Social Work and in the Glenn College of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University. Her work in the classroom with the College of Social work began in 2004; her work with the Glenn College began in 2018. She has also collaborated on projects with Ohio State’s College of Public Health, College of Dentistry, and Center for Urban and Regional Analysis.

Luann Cooperrider (BSSW ’78)
Judge Luann Cooperrider was born and raised in Perry County, Ohio. She is the only daughter in a family of eight children. She is a graduate of Sheridan High School in Thornville, Ohio, and attended The Ohio State University where she received her degree from the College of Social Work. She then attended law school at Capital University where she earned her Juris Doctorate and also did graduate work at Loyola University in Rome, Italy.

On February 12, 1991, Cooperrider took office as the Perry County Probate-Juvenile judge, the first female judge in Perry County.

Throughout her career, Cooperrider has received many honors and awards. She was chosen by her peers to be President of the Ohio Association of Juvenile Judges. She was the recipient of the Ohio State Bar Association Women in Law Award for the state of Ohio. In 2008, Cooperrider was instrumental in starting a free legal clinic in Perry County.

In 2012, Cooperrider was honored by The Ohio State Bar Foundation with an Outstanding Organization Award for helping start the Perry County Free Legal Clinic. In 2017, she received the Capital University Law School Alumni Outstanding Service Award. Cooperrider was also honored in 2017 with The Ohio State University Newark Distinguished Alumni Award.

Cooperrider has one son, Cooper Gillogly. She is a member of the Grace Lutheran Church in Thornville and in her spare time she enjoys riding her bicycle, cross country skiing, boating and spending time with her family.

Stephen Marson (MSW ’76)
After social work positions in vocational and substance abuse rehabilitation, Steve Marson was hired by the University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP) to establish a social work major and to gain accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). In those days (1977), MSWs were scarce and social workers with doctorates were nearly impossible to find.

Prior to gaining CSWE accreditation, all degree granting programs had to be approved by the UNC General Administration in Chapel Hill. After a year’s work of collecting data and writing a proposal, the General Administration was forced to reject the proposal because of the desegregation lawsuit by the Carter Administration. The social work faculty were on the brink of losing their positions. It was ironic because at UNCP, whites were a minority and of course social work advocates for racial equality. When President Ronald Reagan was elected, the social work major was immediately approved. The social work faculty were not discharged. With the assistance of Ohio State’s College of Social Work dean, CSWE accreditation followed. This incident constituted an eight-year ordeal for Marson.

During this time period (1982), the atmosphere of academic credentialing was rapidly changing. In order to retain his faculty position, Marson had to complete a doctorate. Simultaneously, he worked on his doctorate, taught four courses per semester, produced a CSWE self-study and gained accreditation.

In 2000, UNCP presented Marson with the Adolf Dial Creative Work & Scholarship Award. After a student’s nomination, Marson received the Outstanding Teaching Award. In 1980, 1985, 1995, 1997, 2009 and 2014, Marson received plaques from student organizations for teaching and his administrative work. In 2012 and 2013, the UNCP Student-Athletes Association recognized Marson as “Most Valuable Professor.” In 2011, Marson was given the Adolph Dial Award for Community Service. He has and continues to be very active in local, state and national boards.

In 2002, Marson established the Journal of Social Work Values and Ethics published by the Association of Social Work Boards. Currently, the journal has over 11,000 subscribers and is recognized as 6th on the top 20 list of best online social work journals.

In 2019, Marson was awarded Professor Emeritus status. He continues to publish articles, editorials and books.

Cleora “Cleo” Smith Roberts (MSW ’64)
Smith Roberts began her long and distinguished career after obtaining her MSW from The Ohio State University in 1964. Her career path was interrupted many times to accommodate the career of her husband.

After graduation and a brief position at Apple Creek State Hospital, she and her husband relocated to California in 1964. During her eight years in California, Smith Roberts expanded her experience as a clinician and supervisor in a variety of settings, including individual and family counseling, mental retardation, child welfare and adoptions.

Smith Roberts and her family relocated to Michigan in 1972, where she accepted concurrent positions as field work instructor with the University of Michigan, School of Social Work and adjunct instructor with Michigan State University, Department of Family Practice. This experience convinced her that she could better serve the field of social work from academia.

The family relocated to Atlanta, where Smith Roberts finished her education, earning her PhD from Georgia State University in 1986.

After her arrival in Tampa, Smith Roberts accepted a part-time position as social work researcher at Moffitt Cancer Center, the source of information and data for many of her publications. In addition, she accepted a full-time faculty position at The University of South Florida School (USF) of Social Work. Smith Roberts was promoted to professor in 1999 and retired Professor Emerita in 2008.

In 2013, USF honored Smith Roberts with the Lifetime Achievement Award in Social Work Education, stating “Dr. Roberts was instrumental in helping further develop the MSW program and was one of the key curriculum authors of the PhD program in social work. Dr. Roberts distinguished herself as an outstanding educator in the School. She brought the concept of Research Day to the School of Social Work; she was an excellent classroom instructor and she was an exceptional research scholar in social work and oncology.”


Elon Simms (BSSW ’09, MSW ’10)
Elon Simms currently serves as the vice president of Community Impact at Crane Group. In this role, Simms is responsible for the oversight of the philanthropy program, community engagement, employee volunteerism and nonprofit board engagement, and charged with building the company’s community impact investments.

Simms began his career at Franklin County Children Services as a child welfare caseworker. He then joined The Ohio State University, serving as the director of field education in the College of Social Work. Additionally, Simms served as the director of community affairs for the City of Columbus where he was responsible for overseeing initiatives of the Mayor’s Office focused on education, faith-based initiatives, public safety, diversity and inclusion, community development, and health and human services.

In addition to his work, Simms currently serves on the boards of Franklin County Children Services, The Ohio State University College of Social Work Campaign Committee, the Global Center for Healthcare Education Advisory Board at Franklin University, the United Way of Central Ohio Resource Development Committee, and the Reeb Avenue Center Advisory Council.

Because of this experience and deep commitment to the community, Simms was chosen to receive the Columbus Business First’s 40 Under 40 Award, Class of 2020.

2019 Recipients

Awarded to College of Social Work alumni for exceptional professional achievements, initiatives, or leadership in one or more of the following areas: practice/clinical excellence, community development, advocacy, education, or administration.

Joe BorgoJoe Borgo (MSW ’72)
Joe Borgo began his career in social services as a paraprofessional, serving first as a Psychiatric Ward Technician in the US Air Force and then as a Youth Leader at the Ohio Youth Commission. In 1970, after obtaining his undergraduate degree from OSU in French, he enrolled in the MSW program. His second-year field placement was with the Franklin County Mental Health and Mental Retardation Board, where he wrote two successful NIMH Community Mental Health Center staffing grants and established a field placement with the United Auto Workers.
In 1975, Joe joined Shawbridge Youth Centres in Montréal, Québec. He became the agency’s Executive Director in 1980 and led a radical transformation of the agency’s service array and culture that increased the number of clients served per annum by 278% and resulted in a 30% reduction in the average cost of care, a 66% reduction in the average length of stay, and a 74% reduction in the recidivism rate.

Borgo returned to the US in 1989 as Executive Director of Covenant House New York. He found an agency in crisis: despite the ongoing turmoil and a 50% reduction in budget, Joe managed to stabilize the program and instituted reforms that tightened financial controls, enhanced professional accountability and improved the consistency and quality of case management.

Following a two-year stint as a consultant to several substance abuse treatment programs in New York City, Borgo joined the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services as Deputy Executive Director. Here, he spearheaded the development of more than 40 grass roots coalitions that provided community-based support systems for at-risk children and families.

For the last 23 years, Borgo has been engaged in system reform and federal revenue maximization initiatives in child welfare, juvenile justice and SNAP E&T in 13 states and the District of Columbia.

Borgo has served as President of the Quebec Association of Social Workers and as a Member of the Executive Committee of the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW). He represented CASW and the Canadian government at the 6th International Conference on Child Sexual Abuse in Australia. Borgo was a member of the Steering Committee of the Child Welfare League of America’s North American Commission on Chemical Dependency and Child Welfare. He has also served as President and Executive Board Member of the Travis County, TX Child Welfare Board.

Lori CrissLori Criss (MSW ’92, BSSW ’91)
Lori Criss is the Director of the Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services (MHAS) for the State of Ohio. Director Criss is responsible for leading Ohio’s statewide network of care which includes six regional psychiatric hospitals, 50 Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Boards, and over 600 community-based mental health and addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery support service provider agencies. Director Criss also oversees the department’s budget of nearly $900 million to serve and aid Ohioan’s with mental health and addiction needs.
Prior to her role at MHAS, Director Criss was first Associate Director and then Chief Executive Officer of The Ohio Council of Behavioral Health & Family Services Providers where she advocated for access to quality behavioral healthcare with Ohio’s administration, state agencies, and members of the Ohio General Assembly. In addition, from 2004-2011, Director Criss was the Chief Operating Officer for Amethyst Incorporated, where she oversaw 150 transitional and permanent supportive housing units and created a nationally recognized therapeutic summer day camp for children in recovering families. Her work influenced the design of trauma-informed care helping homeless women in addiction recovery. In addition to working daily with women and their families in their addiction recovery, she directed the daily operations of Amethyst and managed their annual budget.

Director Criss has not only had an impact in Ohio, but also on a national level to help combat the hold addiction has over its victims. She founded the national Workgroup on Women and Sober Housing and Treatment for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association (SAMHSA) and graduated from their 2010-11 Women’s Addiction Services Leadership Institute, which gave her further insight, perspective, and skills for helping the community.

She has served on the National Alliance for Recovery Residences’ Board, advancing national initiatives to grow recovery housing policy and resources in Ohio and across the United States. She has been a member of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services, a member of Ohio’s Interagency Council on Homelessness and Affordable Housing, and a member of the National Shelter Plus Care Coalition. Director Criss has stayed connected to the College as a community lecturer and field instructor helping to teach our future social workers.

Ken MurrayKenneth “Ken” Murray (BSSW, ’73)
Ken received his BSSW from OSU in 1973. His professional experience began during his field placement at the Central Ohio Psychiatric Hospital (COPH) Juvenile Unit. He later obtained a MA in psychology (1979) and a law degree (1983). Throughout his career, as a mental health professional and as an attorney, he has advocated on behalf of oppressed, disadvantaged, and mentally ill individuals in institutions and in the legal system.

Ken has combined his training in social work, psychology, and law to bring a holistic approach to sentencing advocacy. He used his knowledge in assessing multigenerational psychosocial histories to uncover mitigating evidence such as the traumatic effects of exposure to poverty, neglect, violence, deprivation, and mental health issues. Ken found that a compelling narrative accurately describing the path from innocent infant to criminal defendant was often the difference between life and death.

Ken is a sought-after teacher on the holistic team approach to criminal defense. While serving as an assistant federal defender (1999-2013), Ken worked with social work students in their field placements, providing training on investigation, development, and documentation of the multigenerational psychosocial histories needed in capital cases. Ken has also taught at the Arizona State University (ASU) on legal issues in the social work and criminal justice programs.

Throughout his professional career, Ken has worked to bring social work values, ethics, and practice to public forums and to help in aiding with understanding the confluence between behavior, social structure, and the law.

James O'HoraJames B. O’Hora (MSW ’64)
James B. O’Hora is a Retired CEO of Planned Parenthood of Broome and Chenango Counties of New York. During his time at Planned Parenthood, O’Hora was a member of the National Executive Director’s Council (NEDC), where he would also serve as their national chair. That position gave him a seat on the Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Board of Directors where he served on the their By Laws committee and was instrumental in creating By Laws for all the Planned Parenthood affiliates throughout the nation.

Mr. O’Hora was a recognized born leader and in any organization he belonged to his leadership abilities would be quickly recognized and he would be voted head of it.
O’Hora’s first professional leadership career began in 1969 when he was appointed as the Executive Director of Susquehanna Valley Home, the youngest Executive Director of any children’s home in New York State. From there he took over the CEO position of five different not for profit facilities in danger of closing, and turned them into successful treatment organizations. Because of his philosophies and leadership, 100s of children and teens went on to lead productive lives.

In addition, O’Hora has readily accepted Graduate School of Social Work of Social Work field placements for over 12 Colleges and Universities such as OSU, Cornell, Syracuse, Dayton and others with a goal of wanting to pass on his very successful leadership techniques.

Mr. O’Hora has numerous successes and recognized accomplishments in the field of Social Work, which he attributes to beginning with his education at The Ohio State University’s School of Social Work.

Dr. Cleora Dr. Cleora “Cleo” Smith Roberts (MSW ’64)
Cleo began her long and distinguished career after obtaining her MSW from The Ohio State University in 1964. Her career path was interrupted many times to accommodate the career of her husband.

After graduation and a brief position at Apple Creek State Hospital, she and her husband relocated to California in 1964. During her eight years in California, Cleo expanded her experience as a clinician and supervisor in a variety of settings, including individual and family counseling, mental retardation, child welfare and adoptions.

Cleo and family relocated to Michigan in 1972 where she accepted concurrent positions as field work instructor with the University of Michigan, School of Social Work and adjunct instructor with Michigan State University, Department of Family Practice. This experience convinced her that she could better serve the field of social work from academia.

The family relocated to Atlanta, where Cleo finished her education, earning the Ph.D. from Georgia State University in 1986.

After arrival in Tampa, Cleo accepted a part-time position as social work researcher at Moffitt Cancer Center, the source of information and data for many of her publications. In addition, she accepted a full-time faculty position at The University of South Florida, School of Social Work. Cleo was promoted to Professor in 1999 and retired Professor Emerita in 2008. In 2013, USF honored Cleo with the Lifetime Achievement Award in Social Work Education, stating: “Dr. Roberts was instrumental in helping to further develop the MSW program and was one of the key curriculum authors of the Ph.D. program in social work. Dr. Roberts distinguished herself as an outstanding educator in the School. She brought the concept of Research Day to the School of Social Work; she was an excellent classroom instructor and she was an exceptional research scholar in social work and oncology.”


Dr. Patrice PalmerDr. Patrice Palmer (MSW ’10, BSSW ’09)
Dr. Patrice Palmer currently works at the Franklin County Office of Homeland Security & Justice Programs as a Reentry Support Specialist. She provides direct services to high risk, dual diagnosis women reentering the community from the franklin County Correctional Center II. Dr. Palmer also provides guidance to her coworkers based on evidence-based practices, the NASW Code of Ethics, and the values set forth by the social work community. Through out-of-the-box thinking and personal experiences, Dr. Palmer through her extensive employment over the past 10 years has been able to lead her team and jump hurdles on both programmatic and administrative levels.

Prior to working with women as a Reentry Support Specialist, Dr. Palmer worked at Comp Drug Inc, as the founding Therapeutic Communities Program Director at Chillicothe’s Correctional Institute, where she worked with male inmates who had a history of criminal-genic behaviors and substance abuse. Dr. Palmer was the Operations Manager for NISRE, Inc., overseeing operations of a transitional program assisting individuals reentering society with housing and support services.

In addition to her work, Dr. Palmer spends her time volunteering with those affected by criminal justice involvement, abuse, addiction, and trauma. A national trainer for PeaceLove, a Program Developer for Chosen4Change, the former President of Raising the Bar Prison Ministries, and a participant at the National Prison Justice Summit, Dr. Palmer is leading the way in helping her community. Not only does the College of Social Work recognize Dr. Palmer’s excellence in the field, but so do many others. In 2019 she was honored by Cincinnati State technical and Community College as the Distinguished Alumni of the year, In 2016 Palmer was the recipient of the Presidential Life Time Achievement Award and the Jerry Revish Restored Citizen of the Year award. She has been nominated for The White House Champion for Change Award, and received the 2018 Employee of the Year Award for Franklin County. Dr. Palmer utilizes the values of social work as a guiding light and principles in her work. As Dr. Palmer states, “if we can restore the value, dignity, and worth of a person, we return a more productive citizen back into society.”


2018 Recipients

Awarded to College of Social Work alumni for exceptional professional achievements, initiatives, or leadership in one or more of the following areas: practice/clinical excellence, community development, advocacy, education, or administration.

Duane Casares (MSW ’90)

Duane Casares, LISW-S, is the CEO of Directions for Youth & Families (DFYF) and has held this position since 2011. He started at DFYF in 1990 and also served as the clinical director.

Under his direction, DFYF has grown into one of the leading mental and behavioral health providers to Central Ohio youth and

their families, recently honored with the United Way’s 2017 Champion of Children Award.

On a national level, Casares is a leader in advancing trauma-informed care. His agency’s work with National Crittenton and Dr. Roy Wade, of Philadelphia Children’s Hospital, to pilot the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) trauma assessment tool, led to the Obama administration’s invitation for Casares to speak at the White House in 2016. The next year, he was invited back to Washington, D.C., to speak on resiliency-based, trauma-informed care.

Additionally, Casares has been a featured presenter for New York City Public Schools and Yale University Law School. He continues to advance innovation in community care with expansion of the Trauma Informed Community Building model working with the Bridge Housing Corporation of San Francisco and supported by the Aspen Institute.

Casares also gives back to the community through his service with several organizations including National Crittenton, the executive board of United Way of Central Ohio, the President’s Panel of the Center for Healthy Families, the executive board of the Human Service Chamber and the Board of Trustees at Maple Grove United Methodist Church.

Casares was also featured in the 2014 edition of Who’s Who in Latino Columbus and has a monthly segment on Columbus Perspective addressing community and mental health issues on 97.1 The Fan radio station of Ohio News Network. “Go Bucks!”


Adrienne Gavula (MSW ’09)

Adrienne Gavula, a passionate civil libertarian, was the development director for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and a community lecturer for the College of Social Work at the time of her death on September 2, 2017. While at the ACLU, Gavula held several roles and was committed to the mission and focus of the organization. She demonstrated her commitment through her many achievements such as building relationships with the prison system to ban solitary confinement for prisoners with severe mental illnesses and working to decrease voting barriers for the disenfranchised populations.

Prior to joining the ACLU, Gavula held a position at the National Association of Social Works (NASW) Ohio Chapter, where she transformed the organization by building a membership recruitment and retention program, developing a free CEU series and creating the career services program. Under Gavula’s leadership, NASW-Ohio membership grew by more than 20 percent.

During her career, Gavula also worked as a medical case manager at the Columbus AIDS Task Force, where she assisted clients in obtaining medical care, life-sustaining medications and transportation and coordinated services and resources to meet their needs. She served on the Women Have Options and Freedom of Choice Ohio Coalition boards and continuously worked as field instructor and mentor to social work students.

Adrienne was a fierce advocate of the First Amendment, the rights of underprivileged populations and pushing systems toward equality and justice. She spent every day making the world a more kind, fair place.

Through her policy and advocacy work, Gavula’s legacy will continue to improve the lives of our most vulnerable populations for many years beyond her time.


Terry Russell (BSSW ’72)

Terry Russell is the executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Ohio (NAMI). He serves as chief administrative officer of the 26-member board of directors, accountable for the planning, funding, implementation and evaluation of advocacy, education and support programs for consumers/families suffering from major brain disorders in the State of Ohio. Under his leadership, NAMI Ohio has grown to become one of the largest state mental health advocacy organizations in the country.

Prior to his role with NAMI Ohio, Russell retired from The Eastern Miami Valley Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board as president/CEO. While there, he served as the chief administrative officer of an 18-member board of directors and grew the organization to one of the largest multi-county Boards in the State of Ohio.

In 2002, Russell advocated with the Ohio Department of Medicaid to allow psychiatric physicians employed in community mental health centers to be exempt from prior authorization requirements associated with prescribing certain types of psychiatric medications. As a result of his advocacy, the Ohio General Assembly formalized and inserted this agreement into state law, allowing thousands of those living with mental illness to get the life-saving medications they need to recover.

Russell was also instrumental in helping pass the Medicaid Expansion in Ohio, which resulted in 1.2 million Ohioans gaining access to health insurance coverage.

Additionally, he began a campaign and raised $1.2 million in six months to develop the Adam-Amanda Mental Health Rehabilitation Center, where those released from state or private psychiatric hospitals can stay for further stabilization prior to being released to the community to help reduce the high number of suicide rates.


Druann Whitaker (BSSW ’77)

Druann Whitaker is the chief strategy officer at the National Youth Advocate Program, a multi-service, multi-state organization serving over 2,000 children and families daily, with 800 employees and a budget exceeding $80 million.

In her role, Whitaker oversees all aspects of strategic planning and works with the board of directors, leadership team and staff to imagine and create a future that is more fair, just and equitable for all members of our society.

Prior to joining National Youth Advocate Program, Whitaker had a long tenure as the CEO of Specialized Alternatives for Youth (SAFY) where she expanded it into a multi-service organization encompassing foster care, adoption, community-based in-home programs and behavioral health services in eight states with over 400 employees and a $40 million budget.

Whitaker has served and/or chaired various state and national boards, including the Ohio Children’s Alliance, the Family Focused Treatment Association and the Council on Accreditation.


Dr. Kenneth Yeager (PhD ’99, MSW ’93, BSSW ’92)

Dr. Kenneth Yeager, LISW-S, ICDC, is director of the Stress, Trauma And Resiliency (STAR) program at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Under his leadership, the STAR program provides support to staff throughout the medical center to prevent emotional fatigue and burnout.

In addition to STAR program, Yeager was also instrumental in implementing the Brief Emotional Support Teams (BESTs) which trains staff to support one another through difficult times in the hospital system.

In 2015, Yeager was honored by the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital & Solove Research Institute with the David E. Schuller MD, Professorship for Patient Compassion, which is a $1 million endowed professorship that provides an opportunity to build on his legacy of compassionate care.

Additionally, Yeager received a $800,000 grant from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office to continue expanding the services provided by the STAR program throughout the Central Ohio community. This funding allowed the creation of the STAR Trauma Recovery Center, offering free counseling services to victims of violent crimes and traumatic events as well as support services for first responders such as police, firefighters, paramedics and child protective services responders. He also received an additional $1.4 million in grant funding in 2018 to secure case managers and clinical space to serve more clients.

Yeager serves an adjunct faculty member for the College of Social Work and as a full professor-clinical at the Ohio State’s College of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry.


Awarded to an alumnus/a who graduated from the College of Social Work within the past ten years whose accomplishments exemplify outstanding professional achievements, initiatives, or leadership in one or more of the following areas: practice/clinical excellence, community development, advocacy, education, or administration. Only one award may be presented annually.

Dorothy Martindale (BSSW ’13)

Dorothy Martindale is the membership associate for the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Ohio Chapter. In her role, Martindale is responsible for membership recruitment and retention, manages the chapter’s communications, develops career resources and oversees its online continuing education series.

Martindale has been instrumental in helping NASW Ohio with its record-breaking membership growth, increased financial well-being and recognition as an influential organization in Ohio.

In addition to her committed work at NASW Ohio, Martindale has also volunteered for the Franklin County Childrens Services mentor program for the last five years. She also leads a group of girl scouts and volunteers for RESCUEDOhio, an all-volunteer organization that helps dogs in need of adoption.

Martindale is currently the president of The Ohio State University College of Social Work Alumni Society and has been an active board member for several years.


2017 Recipients


Awarded to College of Social Work alumni for exceptional professional achievements, initiatives,  or leadership in one or more of the following areas: practice/clinical excellence, community development, advocacy, education, or administration.

Dr. José Ashford (MSW ’76)

Dr. José Ashford is a professor of social work at Arizona State University, where he directs the Office of Offender Diversion and Sentencing Solutions and the Graduate Certificate Program on Criminal Sentencing and Sentencing Advocacy.

Ashford serves as the chief research consultant for the City of Phoenix Municipal Court and senior consultant for Mercer Human Resources Consulting. He is also the associate editor of the forensic social work section of the highly acclaimed Social Workers’ Desk Reference and maintains a private practice as an expert witness in the penalty phases of capital cases.

Ashford is internationally known for his writings and research on the management of violence risks, special need offenders and his co-authored textbook on human behavior in the social environment.

Captain Gregory Biedenkapp (MSW ’63)

Captain Gregory Biedenkapp, an early organizer of the Martin Luther King March on Washington in 1963, served as the executive director of Community Action Lexington Fayette County, Inc. (CALF, Inc.) for nearly a decade. In 1970, he received the Social Worker of the Year Award from NASW-Kentucky for his outstanding service to the community.

As a captain in the Commissioned Corps U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS), he wrote the alcohol, drug abuse and mental health components of the National Health Planning Goals and Guidelines for health policy and developed a curriculum for training primary care practitioners in alcohol, drug abuse and mental health care.

Biedenkapp developed an officer advocacy program and an emergency response plan for the USPHS. He also created the PHS rotations in preventive medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital and supervised extramural and intramural training activities for PHS. His numerous awards include the prestigious USPHS Meritorious Award.

Rejeana Haynes (MSW ’89)

Rejeana Haynes is the vice president of Clinical Operations at St. Vincent Family Center in Columbus. She has worked in the behavioral health care field for the last 28 years, during which time she has dedicated her career to advocacy and providing services to children and families. Haynes has provided direct clinical services, facilitated various trainings for parents, teachers and other professionals, and has been a leader in the professional community providing her expertise regarding policy and service delivery.

In her current role, Haynes is responsible for monitoring and expanding the continuum of services at St. Vincent Family Center, ensuring that trauma informed care is a foundation of all service provision. She is also committed to ensuring that all services are delivered from a strength-based perspective. Haynes sees her mission in life to be that of offering hope to those who have found themselves in hopeless situations.

Haynes has participated on several nonprofit boards, including her most recent role on the Board of Directors for Multiethnic Advocates for Cultural Competence in Behavioral Health Care.

Tuesday Ryan-Hart (MSW ’98)

Tuesday Ryan-Hart is a host/facilitator who left the fields of traditional social service provision and academics to become a new kind of changemaker, partnering with community builders around the world. Her work in the community is featured in the book, Walk Out Walk On: A Learning Journey into Communities Daring to Live the Future Now, by Margaret Wheatley and Deborah Frieze. She is known internationally for her strategic work with organizations and communities engaged in systemic change.

With a BA in individual/family studies and an MSW, Ryan-Hart is an expert in transformational work, specializing in helping individuals, community nonprofits, governmental agencies and organizations of all sizes undergo the changes that will help them grow and become more successful.

With a passion for social justice and expertise in gender and race equality and anti-violence work, Ryan-Hart excels at working with groups to enhance awareness and understanding, build alliances and take positive action together. As part of a Columbus “community of practitioners,” she both convenes and hosts community conversations that address the complex social issues facing many of our communities today.




Awarded to an alumnus/a who graduated from the College of Social Work within the past ten years whose accomplishments exemplify outstanding professional achievements, initiatives,  or leadership in one or more of the following areas: practice/clinical excellence, community development, advocacy, education, or administration. Only one award may be presented annually.

Solomon Hill (MSW ’08)

Solomon Hill is a tenured faculty member in the social work program at Central State University, in Wilberforce, Ohio. He leads by example and his equation for life is Determination + Persistance + God = SUCCESS. Every step he takes is steeped in knowing that each of us has the potential to grab the power of our dreams and use our own experience with life’s challenges, discriminations and adversities to affect those around us and alter the course of history.

Hill is student, community and service oriented. He creates intriguing assignments and performs service to support innovative structures that will produce capable and confident agents of change.

Hill currently serves on the Board of Family Violence Prevention Center and Greene County Housing Program and is an adviser to several campus organizations. He is a firm believer that students should be nurtured through personal development and curriculum that is supported through frequent demonstration of servant-leadership. He strongly believes that students should not just be learners–they must be developed into leaders.

Hill’s most recent success is the accreditation of the social work program at Central State University.


2016 Recipients


Awarded to College of Social Work alumni for exceptional professional achievements, initiatives,  or leadership in one or more of the following areas: practice/clinical excellence, community development, advocacy, education, or administration.

David R. Grove, MSW ’83, began his career at Catholic Social Services in Columbus. He received
training as a family therapist at the Family Therapy Institute of Washington, D.C., where he was supervised by founders Jay Haley and Cloë Madanes for three years. He later became the Clinical Director of the Wilson Child Guidance Clinic and met regularly with Haley for individual supervision and training through 1993. Mr. Grove obtained supervisor status in American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy and worked with Haley and Neil Schiff for two years on the mini “Schizophrenia Project.” Grove has helped organize, co-develop, co-research and co-disseminate the Integrative Family and Systems Treatment (IFAST) project for more than 15 years. Additional career highlights: • Served as regional faculty of the Family Therapy Institute of Washington, D.C., from 1991 to 1999 • Published his first book, Conversations on Therapy, in 1992, and his second book, Invisible Men, in 2002 • Provided IFAST training for staff at 12 mental health agencies at 17 different clinics in 14 Ohio cities and towns since 2002. Co-trained with Dr. Mo Yee Lee, of The Ohio State University College of Social Work, on IFAST in four social service agencies in Hong Kong, China • Co-authored the IFAST manual, Integrative Family and Systems Treatment, a Strength-Based, Common Factor Approach in 2012 • Taught his first MSW class at The Ohio State University in 1997 and has taught full- or part-time at Ohio State’s College of Social Work since 1997

Dr. Annette Jefferson, is a community activist who, after retiring from a long career in education and roles in nonprofit development, now serves as the board chair of the Greater Hilltop Area Shalom Zone. Public education and the nonprofit sector were training grounds for Jefferson’s professional development and community involvement. As a long-time resident of the Hilltop, Dr. Jefferson has been a tireless advocate for her community as well as an organizer and recognized Hilltop advocate. In 2001, Jefferson received the prestigious Jefferson Award in Columbus for being a super volunteer and unsung hero in the community. Additional career highlights: • Well known for her dramatic living history performances of African American women trailblazers of the past. Serves as Chief Creative Officer for DeARK Enterprises, an organization devoted to linking the past to the present and inspiring futures through dynamic storytelling • Served as Development Director of J. Ashburn Jr. Youth Center where she raised financial support for a new neighborhood facility • Served as Executive Director of The Columbus Area Training and Development School, a vocational training school that prepares adults for the work world • Recipient of the Columbus Urban League’s Outstanding Employee Award when she served as Manager of Education and Youth Services Department • Received the English Award that supported doctoral students and given to nonprofit employees in organizations affiliated with the United Way

Ami Peacock, MSW, LISW-S ’93, serves as the manager for the Mount Carmel West Healthy Living Center, where she created and developed bilingual health and wellness services for vulnerable communities, especially those facing infant mortality, obesity and chronic disease management. She also created community bilingual outreach prevention programs at Big Brothers Big Sisters, St. Vincent Family Centers and the MetroHealth Cancer Care Center in Cleveland. Ms. Peacock has served as a hurricane relief social worker in Miami, Florida, and lived in Argentina where she taught English to youth while doing community development work. She also serves as a Franklinton Area Commissioner. Additional career highlights: • Develops and manages community health and wellness programs and staff that have made over 20,000 visits in the last three years. Programs include cooking, nutrition, weight management, diabetes education, fitness and stress management. Staff has doubled in size under her leadership • Created mobile health screening clinics in local Cleveland churches, community centers and homeless shelters with doctors, nurses, social workers, volunteers and over 500 partners • Developed and managed a breast cancer early detection program for uninsured, low-income minority women with over 16,000 women being educated and 4,000 being screened • Created Hispanic/Latino community outreach and mentoring programs for new immigrant communities through grass roots efforts in Columbus and South-Western City Schools • Received various accolades including: Komen National Community Outreach Award; American Cancer Society Hall of Fame; LEON-Working with Youth Award; National Association of Social Workers Outstanding Service Award

James (Jim) Stahler, MSW ’76, began his career in 1970 as a Protective Services Caseworker for Miami County Children Services, followed by his becoming Executive Director of SCAN (Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect) at Montgomery County Children Services Board. After serving as Director of Public Policy and Campaign Director, Mr. Stahler retired in 2000 from a 21-year career with the United Way of the Greater Dayton Area. In recognition of his service and retirement, the Dayton City Commission declared April 1, 2000 as “Jim Stahler Day.” Additional career highlights: • Became the first director of SCAN, a joint venture of the Montgomery County Children Services Board, Children’s Medical Center, Junior League and Citizens Advisory Committee, in 1976. Initiated several interdisciplinary teams to improve working relationships between professionals dedicated to coordinating their efforts on behalf of abused and neglected children • Awarded the Certificate of Meritorious Service in 1994 by the Commissioner of the IRS for work on the Advance Earned Income Tax Credit Campaign • Led years of advocacy and planning that resulted in the opening of the Montgomery County Job Center in 1997, a “one-stop shop” for all workforce and welfare issues. The center became a national model • Received the Ohio NASW-Region 7 Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004 • Recipient of the Ohio Council of the Alzheimer’s Association Leadership in Advocacy Award in 2010

Patricia Kay Werk, MSW ’70,, worked 37 ½ years at Netcare Access. She was the developer and manager of the Netcare Access Community Crisis Response Team (provided mental health on-scene assistance as requested by police for family trauma) and Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM), which assisted with resiliency of public safety forces and other organizations encountering events traumatic even to experienced personnel. Throughout her career, Ms. Werk initiated development of a continuum of trauma treatment services. She was an essential part of the early training efforts for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) as one of the original 12 individuals from the United States entrusted by Dr. Francine Shapiro with training mental health professionals. Ms. Werk continues as a consultant for EMDR clinicians. She is also an approved trainer for the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation. Additional career highlights: • Helped initiate and remains an integral part of the City of Columbus Division of Fire’s CISM program. Also trained CISM professionals in the Columbus Division of Police (CPD) • Trained patrol division and new recruits for the CPD on recognizing mental illness and best strategies for assisting those in a mental health crisis. Instrumental in bringing Crisis Intervention Training to CPD • Worked as an instructor at Ohio State’s College of Social Work for graduate and undergraduate students • Received the OSU STAR (Stress, Trauma & Resiliency) Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Field of Trauma Treatment



Awarded to an alumnus/a who graduated from the College of Social Work within the past ten years whose accomplishments exemplify outstanding professional achievements, initiatives,  or leadership in one or more of the following areas: practice/clinical excellence, community development, advocacy, education, or administration. Only one award may be presented annually.

Jimmy Portner, MSW ’07, was appointed as Program Coordinator of an Integrated Dual Disorder Treatment (IDDT) program while working at Southeast, Inc. in 2009. In its first year, this IDDT program served approximately 20 clients with both severe mental illness and addiction diagnoses, resulting in a $1.4 million reduction in state hospital psychiatric inpatient and crisis service costs. Three years later, Mr. Portner was recruited to develop the first IDDT program in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), which won the IDDT Champion Award from Case Western Reserve University’s Center for Evidence-Based Practices in 2014.
Additional career highlights:
• Trained as a Motivational Interviewing and Motivational Enhancement Treatment VHA trainer and consultant nationally, which allowed him to lead multiple trainings, teaching other clinicians these evidence-based practices
• Selected to provide consultation for the development and implementation of evidence-based case management practices by the VHA’s Office of Mental Health Operations in 2015, which allowed him to work with programs across the country to replicate the advances made locally at the Columbus VA
• Earned the title of Certified Trainer for the emerging evidence-based practice, Radically Open-Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (Dr. Thomas Lynch, treatment developer)


2015 Recipients


Awarded to College of Social Work alumni for exceptional professional achievements, initiatives,  or leadership in one or more of the following areas: practice/clinical excellence, community development, advocacy, education, or administration.

Dr. Robert Applebaum, MSW ’77, is Associate Dean College of Arts and Science and Professor of Gerontology at Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Additional career highlights: • Serves as the director of the Ohio Long Term Care Project. His research has significantly influenced the ways in which long-term care services are delivered in the State of Ohio • Appointed to the Governor’s Committee on a Unified Long-Term Care Budget and has sat on numerous local, state and national boards • Testified over 20 times at the state and federal level, educating legislators about the realities of long-term care • Served as a mentor to hundreds of students and junior faculty across many institutions of higher education • Served a principal or co-investigator on more than $10 million in federal and state research grants • Author of four books and more than 100 articles and professional reports

Bill Owens, MSW ’84,is the executive director of the Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resources Center (CRC). As the leader of this Settlement House, Mr. Owens oversees the care and assistance of community members through supportive services that include a food pantry, senior services, afterschool and summer youth services, kinship care and other community building activities. Additional career highlights: • Grew the CRC from nine employees to 39 employees and increased annual revenue from $200,000 to $1.7 million • Named Columbus CEO Magazine’s 2014 Small Nonprofit CEO of the Year • Served as past treasurer of the OSU College of Social Work’s Alumni Society Board • Provided service to the OSU College of Social Work as a community lecturer and field instructor, all integral roles in preparing future social workers for success in the field • Worked in the community mental health system for 10 years at Netcare and North Central Mental Health Services prior to working at CRC for 20 years • Helped start the Human Service Chamber of Franklin County • Serves as an advocate for the Settlement House Movement

Dr. Rhonda Reagh, PhD ’90 MSW ’80,is the founder and CEO of Reagh and Associates, a management consulting firm. She assists public and private non-profit social services agencies and entrepreneurs in growing and developing the leaders of the future through training, consultation and executive coaching. Additional career highlights: • Retired as executive director of Green County Children Services in Xenia, Ohio, after a 32-year career in child welfare including advocacy for children, community development, education and administration • Served as assistant director of the Public Children Services Association of Ohio (PCSAO), a membership organization representing public child welfare agencies throughout the state (post retirement) • Alumna of Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, State and Local Executives Program • Served as chair of the Ohio Supreme Court Sub-Committee on Responding to Child Abuse, Neglect and Dependency, and was a member of the court’s Advisory Committee on Families and Children • Served as chair of Master Mind Groups and Bridge to Success Programs, both subsidiaries of the Better Business Bureau’s Women in Business Networking program (WiBN) • Currently serving as Advisory Board member of WiBN and the Miami Valley Child Development Center • Member of the Class of 2014 WiBN Top 25 Women to Watch


Awarded to an alumnus/a who graduated from the College of Social Work within the past ten years whose accomplishments exemplify outstanding professional achievements, initiatives,  or leadership in one or more of the following areas: practice/clinical excellence, community development, advocacy, education, or administration. Only one award may be presented annually.

Danielle Smith, MSW ’10 BSSW ’08,is the executive director of the Ohio Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. She directs the chapter’s work to advocate, inform, educate, prepare and protect social workers in the state of Ohio. Additional career highlights: • Started as an intern for the NASW Ohio Chapter in 2007. Served as associate director from 2007-11 and was promoted to executive director in 2011. • Oversaw chapter membership increase by over 23 percent since her reign as executive director • Led the chapter in collecting more than 7,000 signatures, meeting with all 132 state legislators and the governor, and holding press conferences and collecting testimonials on the issue of Education Debt Relief for social workers in Ohio • Led advocacy efforts around workplace safety. Lobbied for funding for all agencies to provide basic workplace safety measures, safety policies and procedures and measures to address social workers’ concerns in these areas • Advocated with the Ohio Department of Aging to keep unlicensed individuals from providing services to older adults in state-funded programs that social workers and nurses have consistently provided–this has helped protect Ohio’s elderly population • Helped secure passage of a bill in December 2010 to create the offense of human trafficking in Ohio despite an exceptionally challenging political climate • Secured passage of legislation in April 2014 that eliminated the civil service exemption, thus closing a 30-year loophole in title protection for social workers

2014 Recipients


Awarded to College of Social Work alumni for exceptional professional achievements, initiatives,  or leadership in one or more of the following areas: practice/clinical excellence, community development, advocacy, education, or administration.

Judy Sillince Braun, MSW 76, BSSW 71, recently retired after 32 years of service as the founder anjudy_braund President/CEO of COVA (Center of Vocational Alternatives for Mental Health, Inc.). Created to provide community supported employment opportunities for persons with mental illness, COVA grew into an organization offering an array of innovative and client-driven psychosocial, vocational and peer support services.  Prior to founding COVA, Mrs. Braun worked in direct service and leadership positions in child welfare and mental health.  She has served as an adjunct faculty member of OSU’s College of Social Work, as well as an advisory and governing board member of other nonprofit organizations.

Dr. Gregory Clapp, PhD 95, is Professor and Associate Dean for Research at The Ohio State UClappniversity College of Social Work. Most recently, Dr. Clapp was also named Director of The Ohio State University Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Recovery (OSUHEC). The center is funded through a $2 million grant awarded by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. Dr. Clapp returned to Columbus after a distinguished faculty career at San Diego State University (SDSU), where he served as Professor and Associate Director of Research in the SDSU School of Social Work. Dr. Clapp has made significant contributions to the academic literature in his area of study, and is regarded as a national expert on the subject of alcohol and drug prevention in higher education settings. He has authored more than 90 articles in peer reviewed scientific journals. His work has also received international media attention from The New York Times, The Washington Post, The London Daily Telegraph, and ABC National News, among numerous others.  In 2012, he was appointed to the National Advisory Council of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration‘s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention. From 2009-12, he served as the Director and Distinguished Scholar for The U.S. Department of Education’s Higher Education Center for Alcohol, Drug and Violence Prevention. Over the course of his research career, Dr. Clapp has been awarded in excess of $32,000,000 in research, evaluation, demonstration and technical assistance funding from a wide variety of funding sources.

Alan Gill, MSW 77, is the CEO of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC).  Mr. Gilalan_gilll has three decades of Jewish communal service and forged partnerships on the local, national and international level.  During his 20 years with the JDC, he has played a central role in expanding humanitarian services offered through the JDC to people in over 70 countries, including Israel.  During Mr. Gill’s reign as Executive Director of the JDC’s International Relations Department, its philanthropic revenue increased tenfold with significant growth in foundation, major donor, governmental, and general support, bringing its total annual budget to $350 million.  This growth has enabled the JDC to expand its critically needed humanitarian assistance and Jewish community development activities in post-communist countries and to address growing social gaps in Israel.  One of these programs, Parents and Children Together (PACT), is internationally recognized for education and cultural integration of Ethiopian/Israeli preschool children and their parents.  As Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Columbus, Ohio, Mr. Gill’s leadership mobilized the community and enabled the annual campaign to increase its fundraising by 76 percent.  Under his leadership, the Government Affairs Committee of Ohio Jewish Communities was created, thereby allowing Ohio’s eight Federations to garner state funding for their communities’ needs.  He was instrumental in the creation of the Ohio Consortium of Jewish University Students which led to the establishment of the Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana Hillel Consortium several years later.  Mr. Gill also helped establish The Ohio State University’s graduate training program for Jewish communal service and has served as an adjunct faculty member at Ohio State’s College of Social Work.

Gregory Hamilton, MSW 79, a current AmeriCorps VISTA member, has enjoyed an extensive john_hamilton_piccareer of more than twenty years with Big Brothers Big Sisters. His roles there have included Vice President of Programs for Central Arizona, Program Director and Director of the Mentoring Center for Central Ohio. Between the two Big Brothers Big Sisters program positions in Columbus and Phoenix, Mr. Hamilton created nearly 40 new mentoring programs and guided the Central Ohio agency to become the largest of more than 500 Big Brothers Big Sisters affiliates.  Mr. Hamilton spent nearly six years with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America as Associate Director of Agency Development. Mr. Hamilton also worked as Academic Counselor and Staff Assistant for The Ohio State University College of Social Work. Mr. Hamilton began his social work career in public welfare as a caseworker and then as a hearing officer with the Ohio Department of Public Welfare. Mr. Hamilton has a long history of involvement with the College of Social Work and leadership in its Alumni Society. Mr. Hamilton has received various awards for his work with Big Brothers Big Sisters and Ohio State’s College of Social Work.

2014 Recipients


Awarded to an alumnus/a who graduated from the College of Social Work within the past ten years whose accomplishments exemplify outstanding professional achievements, initiatives,  or leadership in one or more of the following areas: practice/clinical excellence, community development, advocacy, education, or administration. Only one award may be presented annually.

Kelly Knight, MSW 07, BSSW ’03, is an Associate Director at Franklin County Children Sekelly_knightrvices (FCCS).  Ms. Knight started her educational experience with The Ohio State University-Newark Campus. Upon completion of her core requirements, Ms. Knight transitioned to the main campus to continue her social work studies. During her senior year, Ms. Knight became one of the first social work graduates to complete the University Partnership Title IV-E Child Welfare Training Program (UPP).  Upon graduating, Ms. Knight began her career (11 years) with FCCS. Within that same year, Ms. Knight became one of the first students to participate in the OSU MSW/FCCS collaboration. During her tenure at FCCS, Ms. Knight has served as a Child Welfare Caseworker, as well as Child Welfare Supervisor in the agency’s ongoing, alternative response and screening departments.  Most recently she transitioned to her current role as administrator of the FCCS’ 24 Hour Screening Department. In her current role, Ms. Knight oversees the daily operations of the child abuse and neglect hotline and the agency’s response to crisis cases.   Throughout her time at FCCS, Ms Knight has been dedicated to ongoing professional development. For 9 year, she was actively involved, as either a task or field instructor, with UPP. She has completed Tier II and Tier III of FCCS’ Leadership Academy.  She supports the implementation of Differential Response through her presentations for child welfare professionals from all over the United States. Ms. Knight’s career demonstrates a commitment to children and families in the Ohio child welfare system.

2013 Recipients


Awarded to College of Social Work alumni for exceptional professional achievements, initiatives,  or leadership in one or more of the following areas: practice/clinical excellence, community development, advocacy, education, or administration.

Dr. Kathryn S. Icenhower, BSSW ’77, is the CEO and Co-Founder of SHIELDS for Families in Los Angeles. Under the administration of Dr. Icenhower, SHIELDS has become the largest family-centered service provider in South Los Angeles. In the past 23 years SHIIcenhower2013ELDS has created 35 programs with 380 staff that provide child welfare, mental health, substance abuse treatment, and other services to over 7,000 families a year. Dr. Icenhower has been involved in shaping local and state policy, serving as a State Commissioner for the California Children’s and Families Commission and as a member of the California Child Welfare Council. In L.A. County, with the largest foster care caseload in the nation, Dr. Icenhower developed an innovative program called the Point of Engagement, which is making a real impact in the areas where children have the greatest challenges and needs. Dr. Icenhower and SHIELDS have been recognized for their work nationally including: Recipient of the California Governor’s Hope Award; Innovator Award, from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; the James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award; special Recognition from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy; Listed in Los Angeles Magazine’s, Game Changers: 50 Women Who Make a Difference; and many more.

Dr. Alfred L. Joseph, Jr, PhD ’95, MSW ’89, at the time of his death on April 1, 2012, was an Associate Professor of Social Work at Miami University of Ohio.  He was employed with Miami University of Ohio for 20 years. He maintained a classroom where anyone coualfred joseph2013ld feel free to participate, to disagree, to question without fear of censure.  Dr. Joseph began his social work career with Franklin County Children Services, where he worked with families struggling to manage their lives and those of their children.  Dr. Joseph was committed to social justice and eliminating racial discrimination, and was known to have stood on many picket lines and marched in many rallies.   Dr. Joseph has been published in several books and journals and has presented at several national and international conferences.

Dr. Jacquelyn Meshelemiah, PhD ’95, MSW ’91, BSSW 90, is an Associate Professor at the OMeshelemiah2013hio State University, College of Social Work.  Dr. Meshelemiah began her social work career as a substance abuse counselor for Maryhaven’s Exploring Sober Alternatives (MESA) Program in Columbus.  She then later worked for the Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic (VAOPC) Drug and Alcohol Treatment Program (DATP) and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) Dual Disorders Program.  Most recently, she worked in Emergency Shelter Care  (ESC) as a Treatment Coordinator for vulnerable and homeless youth.   Dr. Meshelemiah has authored and co-authored more than two dozen publications addressing disparities and advocating for the disenfranchised.  She has traveled throughout the state, country, and world to places such as Uganda, England, Canada, and Ghana speaking about prostitution and human trafficking.  Dr. Meshelemiah has been a member of the Lower West Side Congress Prostitution Task Force in Buffalo, New York, and has served as board chair for Rehab’s Hideaway (a safe haven for survivors of human trafficking) in Columbus, Ohio.  She has also worked with and assisted agencies, student groups, and other interested citizens in the fight against human trafficking.   While at Ohio State, Dr. Meshelemiah has taken OSU students abroad to Africa on three occasions and established the Kenneth E. and Lynette O. Hoehn Endowed Scholarship to provide assistance to underrepresented social work students.

Robyn C. Morris, MSW 01, is the Clinical Director for Group Living with the National Youth AdvocMorrisate Program (NYAP).  As the Clinical Director for two Emergency Shelter Care residents along with three group homes, Ms. Morris engages in both face-to-face clinical practice as well as administrative practice.  The program that she administers is no-eject/no-reject meaning that NYAP places in care every adolescent youth in need, at any time, with any identified issues. Ms. Morris began her social work career at the Ohio Youth Advocate Program as a social work intern and was employed after graduation as a mental health intake coordinator and clinical services program treatment coordinator.  She regularly provides graduate level field placements for interns from the College of Social Work.

Richard Schira, MSW ’72, is retired from Franklin County Children Services as the Director of trichardschirahe Referral Department.  Mr. Schira worked for Franklin County Children Services for 20 years serving in various roles including:  program director of Group Homes, associate director for Substitute Care & Group Living, and director of Referral & Assessment.  He began his social work career in the Peace Corps as a community development volunteer among the tribes of Sierra Leone, West Africa.  Mr. Schira has also held positions as a recreation specialist at Harding Hospital; social work specialist in the United States Army; adult parole officer for the Adult Parole Authority; social worker and then clinical director at the Training Institution of Central Ohio (TICO); executive director of Advocacy & Protective Services, Inc.; area services director for VOCA; and program director of Guardian Services. Guardian Services was the first Corporate Guardianship program for developmentally delayed adults in institutions (developmental centers).  When Mr. Schira started at Guardian Services, there were zero clients and by the time he left, there were 6,000. He served as a field instructor for the College of Social Work and the Department of Human Development and Family Science for the majority of his career. Mr. Schira has co-authored and presented many papers at professional conferences.

2013 Recipients


Awarded to an alumnus/a who graduated from the College of Social Work within the past ten years whose accomplishments exemplify outstanding professional achievements, initiatives,  or leadership in one or more of the following areas: practice/clinical excellence, community development, advocacy, education, or administration. Only one award may be presented annually.

Lori Scott, BSSW ’04, serves as the Director of the NASA Science, Engineering, Mathematicsscott2013 & Aerospace Academy (SEMAA) at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, OH.  The academy provides enrichment and out of school programming for underserved, underrepresented minorities in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).  Recognized as a national leader in K-12 STEM education, the academy is a best practice and has received recognition from Harvard and the U.S. Congress.  Supporting Cleveland’s program, Ms. Scott facilitates programming which annually impacts over 1500 students and 500 plus parents.  Under her direction, Cleveland’s program has exceeded national standards for student recruitment and retention for three consecutive years.  Ms. Scott also writes and manages grants and federal contracts to support program operations.  In addition to SEMAA, she serves as adjunct faculty for Cuyahoga Community College where she provides curriculum development and instruction to students in the Human Services Department.  Ms. Scott is also a Certified Trainer with Families and Schools Together, Inc. (FAST), a member of NABSW, a board member and Vice President of Progressive Arts Alliance, a mentor with Cleveland State University’s Cleveland Transfer Connection, and a member of Regional Steering Committee for TECH Corps.  Ms. Scott has presented at many professional conferences and was recently recognized in the award class of the 2013 Northeast Ohio Top 25 under 35 Movers & Shakers.

2012 Recipients  


Dr. Denise A. Goodman, PHD 93, has been a Child Welfare professional for over 35 years. Shalumni_dennisee began her career working with emotionally disturbed teens in a residential treatment facility and has held positions such as a protective services social worker, residential treatment coordinator, research/education specialist, training specialist, and foster parent in Ohio. In addition, as an independent consultant, Dr. Goodman conducts workshops and provides consultation throughout the United States and Canada on topics related to foster care, adoption, and kinship care. She has written many curricula for staff and resource parents, co-authored a section of The Field Guide to Child Welfare, and published numerous articles and tools on foster care/adoption issues. Dr. Goodman has been a senior consultant for the Annie E. Casey Foundation since 1992. She has received several awards for her training from the Ohio Child Welfare Training Program.

James N. Miller, MSW 55, has 57 years of active practice and still counting. Mr. Miller is currentlalumni_jamesy the administrator of the Beej Business. He was the president of Family Services of Central Indiana for 20 years. He opened a consultation practice in 1993 following his retirement from family service. Mr. Miller fulfilled 10 temporary executive assignments in nonprofit organizations in transition. He has been published in newsletters and journals and has also taught part time at several universities including Indiana University, Purdue University at Indianapolis, Marian College, Butler University, Lincoln Land Community College, and Hope College. Amongst Mr. Miller’s awards and achievements, he was named “Sagamore of the Wabash” by the Governor of Indiana in 1993, received the Governor’s Voluntary Action Program Community Service Award in 1980, and was awarded the United Way of Central Indiana Leadership Award in 1980.

Dr. Joseph R. Palmer, PHD 70, BSSW 56, (in memoriam) was the owner of Mediation Services of Ohio. Dr. Palmer served in the U.S. Navy during the alumni_josephKorean War, and later was in the U.S. Airforce Reserve, retiring at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Dr. Palmer was a former parole officer, director, deputy director, and administrator. He had position appointments from Governors and U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese. Dr. Palmer was a member of the Ohio Parole Board, a chairman for the Ohio Parole Board, a fellow for the National Institute of Corrections, and President of the National Academy of Corrections.


Dr. Glenn E. Rohrer, MSW 73, BSSW 66, is a tenured professor and recently served as director of the School of Justice Studies and Social Work at the University of West RohrerFlorida. He is currently serving as professor and executive director of the Florida Mental and Behavioral Health Capacity Project. In June 2012, Dr. Rohrer was honored by being selected to receive a five-year $5 million grant from the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Incident court settlement. He has held university appointments at East Carolina University, University of South Florida, Florida State University, Florida Southern College, Franklin University, and The Ohio State University. Dr. Rohrer was also a former social worker in corrections, a deputy superintendent for a youth center, and a psychiatric hospital superintendent. He has been published in many journals and books and has presented at several national conferences. Dr. Rohrer was admitted to the University of West Florida Million Dollar Research Hall of Fame in April 2011. He is a member of the National Association of Social Workers and is a licensed clinical addictions specialist and a licensed clinical social worker.

2012 Recipients


Angela K. Stoller-Zervas, MSW 05, is the supportive services manager for Community Propertalumni_angelaies of Ohio, where she develops and manages programs for resource residents living in project-based Section 8 housing in Columbus’ central city neighborhoods. Ms. Stoller-Zervas volunteered to develop the Housing Assistance Task Force in collaboration with the Community Shelter Board and the College of Social Work. The task force oriented volunteer alumni, students, faculty, and staff in a process to quickly house Hurricane Katrina Evacuees in 2005. Ms. Stoller-Zervas has held positions such as assistant director, school stability coordinator, volunteer consultant, graduate research assistant, advocate, case manager, therapist, and home-based specialist. She is a licensed social worker in the State of Ohio.

2011 Recipients


James Clark, MSW 81, is president and chief executive officer of Daniel Memorial, the oldest child-serving agency in the State of Florida. A strong children’s champion, Jim started clarkthe Jacksonville Kids Coalition, an advocacy group for children’s causes. He is a licensed social worker and a national speaker on such topics as children’s mental health, diversity, teamwork, and raising positive children. He has served on many community groups, including the 7th Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission and the State Advisor Group for Juvenile Justice.


William Ellsworth, MSW ’81, is a school social worker for Lexington Local Schools and a community lecturer, field instructor, and education coordinator for The Ohio State University Mansfield Camellsworthpus.   He is a licensed school social worker and licensed independent social worker in the State of Ohio.  He has served on many committees and boards including the Crawford County Family and Children First Council, Galion Youth for Tomorrow Advisory Committee, and Comprehensive School Health Advisory Committee.

Steven Geib, BSSW ’81, is the executive director and founder of Agape fgeibor Youth, Inc., in Dayton, Ohio.  He is a licensed social worker and certified T.A.P.S. trainer in the State of Ohio.  He has served on the Warren and Clinton County Board of Mental Health Recovery Services for many years.  He was the recipient of the Blue Ribbon Award in 2009 and Better Business Bureau Eclipse Integrity Award in 2010.



Ruth Schildhouse, BS, Social Admin ’49, was the executive director of the Columbus International Program for 29 years.  She served as president of shildhouseMetropolitan Columbus League of Women Voters from 1965 to 1969.  She was appointed as charter member of the Central Ohio Transit Authority Board, served on the Governor’s Youth Advisory Committee, and chaired the Urban Education Coalition.  She was appointed to the Ohio State Board of Education by Governor Gregory J. Gilligan and then was elected twice, serving on the state board for a total of 10 years.

2011 Recipients


Sue Villilo, MSW 05, is the executive director of Faith Mission, a homeless shelter servicing men and women on an emergency walk-in basis in Columbus, Ohio.  She is villioalso a community lecturer for The Ohio State University College of Social Work.  She is a licensed independent social worker in the state of Ohio.  She has served on many community planning committees including the Central Ohio HIV Care Services Consortia, Columbus Regional HIV (Prevention) Advisory Group, and HUD-mandated local Continuum of Care Committee.

2010 Recipients


Jack Rothman, MSW 51, is a professor emeritus of social work from UCLA. Dr. Rothman is senior editor of Strategies of Community Intervention, now in its 7th edition, the longest Rothmanstanding text in community organization. He is recognized nationally and internationally for “Three Models of Community Organization Practice,” the leading conceptualization of community intervention. He, and his University of Michigan colleagues, designed the most comprehensive community organization curriculum and influenced the profession to accept social action and political advocacy as a legitimate practice in social work.

Monit Cheung, MSW 82, PhD ‘86, is a professor of social work and associate director of the Child and Family Center for Innovative Research at the Graduate College of Social Work, University of Houston. Dr. CCheungheung has written over 400 articles, books, book chapters, and research reports on child protection and parenting issues in English and Chinese. She specializes in play therapy, family counseling, child/adolescent counseling, child protection, sexual and domestic violence, and incest survivor treatment.


Patrick Leung, BSSW 81, MSW, 81, PhD 86, is a professor of social work, director of the Office of International Social Work Education, coordinator of the Social Work Research CeLeungnter, and evaluator for the Child and Family Center for Innovative Research at the Graduate College of Social Work, University of Houston. Dr. Leung has developed computer software products for the Children’s Protective Services Institute, published nearly 70 research reports, and delivered over 160 presentations at the national and international level. He is the author of Making Sense of Statistical Analysis: A prerequisite for social workers, and coauthor of Multicultural Practice and Evaluation: A case approach to evidence-based application and Call to Competence: Child protective services training and evaluation.

2010 Recipients


Shannon Easter, MSW 00, is the director of clinical and supportive services for Faith Mission/FEasteraith Housing, Lutheran Social Services of Central Ohio. She is responsible for overseeing all client services including case management, employment, housing, 44 units of supportive housing, and a free medical clinic. Easter is the former vice president of the YWCA Family Center and the former case manager with Franklin County Adult Protective Services.

2009 Recipients


Gregory Behling, BSSA 54, MSW 57, has served the social work profession for over five decades in a variety of roles such as a community organizer, mentor, researcher, student rBehlingecruiter, and educator.  He is the author of the following research books: Research Methods, Statistical Concepts and Research Practicum; Guidelines for Preparing the Research Proposal; and, Practice of Clinical Research: The Single Case Design Method.  Gregory is a recipient of the Outstanding Teaching of the Year Award in 1986 and 2002, the 1981 and 1986 Distinguished Service Award, and the 2001 Office of Disability Services Award.

Sandra Stephenson, BSSW 74, MSW 75, is director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health, appointed by Governor Ted Strickland in 2007.  Sandra provided stewardship to Ohio’s behavioral health commStephensonunity for decades, giving service to, but not limited to, the Ohio Association of Behavioral Health Care Management and the Ohio Council of Behavioral Health Care Providers as a board member, and as chairwoman of the Mental Health/Chemical Dependency/Mental Retardation Advisory Committee at Columbus State Community College.


Wayne Moore, MSW 75, is professor of Social Work and Sociology at North Carolina A&T State University.  He has served the profession as an emergency in-take worker, clinical cmooreoordinator, medical social worker, educator, author, and researcher.  Wayne has served as co-investigator of twelve research grants and has been published in numerous journals such as the Western Journal of Black Studies,  Journal of African American Studies, Journal of Health and Human Services Administration, and Clinical Gerontologist.


Eileen Saffran, BSSW 74, MSW 76, is the founder and executive director of The Gathering Place, a nonprofit, community-based cancer support center for the Cleveland, Ohio area.  TSaffranhe Gathering Place has provided social, emotional, physical, and spiritual services free of charge since its opening in 1998, and served over 18,000 individuals with cancer as well as their family and friends.  She is a former clinical social worker and community medicine coordinator, public educator, and  private practice therapist who specialized in individual, marital, and family counseling of people with chronic illness.  Eileen is the recipient of several awards that include the 2007 Woodruff Price Award for excellence in mental health programming, 2003 Visionary Award and Pillar Award for executive director of the year.

2009 Recipients


Holly Dabelko-Schoeny, PhD 02, is an associate professor of social work at The Ohio State University.  She has devoted her career to the field of aging as a colleague, mentor, educDabelko_Schoenyator, and researcher with a focus on improving the quality of life for older adults and their caregivers.  Holly is a 2004 Hartford Family Scholar; has published nine refereed journal articles, given 12 refereed conference presentations at the state and national level, and conducted four externally funded research studies.  She is recipient of the 2008 Mortar Board Senior Honor Society Teaching Award and the 2002 Merriss Cornell Distinguished Researcher Award.

2008 Recipients


Alvin Hadley, MSW 59 Executive Director, Columbus Metropolitan Area Church Council, 2Alvin-Hadley000-2008.  Retired administrator of Franklin County Children Services (29 years of service).  Served on 30 human service boards and religious organizations, and as chairperson of 15 organizations.



James H. Ward, Sr., PhD 74 Retired Dean and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of School of Social Work, Portland State University.  Former DJames-Wardean and Professor of School of Social Work, University of Alabama.  Former Associate Dean of Mandel School of Applied Social Science, Case Western Reserve.



LeVerne McCummings, PhD 75 Past President of Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, the nation’s oldest hiMcCummingsstorical Black Institution of Higher Learning.  Former Dean and Professor of Graduate School of Social Work, Denver University.  Past President of the National Conference of Graduate Deans and Directors.


Sandra F. Cannon, MSW 78 Manager and Chief of the Office of Forensic Services, Ohio Department of Mental HeaSandra-Cannonlth.  Former Chair of the National Association of State Mental Health Directors Forensic Division.  Co-chair, Supreme Court of Ohio’s Advisory Committee on Mental Illness in Courts.

2008 Recipients


Nancy-SidellNancy L. Sidell, PhD 98 Professor and Chair of Department of Social Work, Anthropology and Sociology, Mansfield University.  Item writer for the Association of Social Work Board (ASWB) and former Examination Committee Member of ASWB.  Consulting Editor for the Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work.

2007 Recipients


H. Stanley Eichenauer, MSW 70 Retired Senior Advisor Administrator, Mental System Transformation, US Department of Health and Human ServicStanEichenaueres.  Master’s of Divinity, United Theological Seminary.  Served as Deputy Executive Director, New Freedom Commission on Mental Health.  Retired President and CEO, Eastway Community Mental Health Center, Dayton, Ohio.


Samira Beckwith, MSW 77 President and CEO, Hope Hospice and Community Services, Ft. Myers, Florida.  FormSamira_Beckwith_03aer Director, United Hospice Grand Forks, North Dakota.  Consultant and Surveyor, Accreditation Program for Hospice Care.  Former Oncology Social Worker, United Hospital Grand Forks, North Dakota.



Claudia Coulton, MSW 72 Professor, Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, Case Western Reserve UniversCCoulton2006ity.  Co-Director, Center on Urban Poverty and Social Change, Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, Case Western Reserve University.  Associate Dean for Research, Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, Case Western Reserve University.



Beverly Watkins, PhD 88 Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs, Savannah State University.  Associate ProBevWatkinsfessor and former Chair of Department of Social Work, Savannah State University.  Former Assistant Professor and Director of Field Instruction at The Ohio State University College of Social Work.  Former Coordinator of Clinical Services, Family Counseling and Crittenton Services.

2007 Recipients


Keith Alford, PhD 97 Associate Professor, Syracuse University College of Human Services.  Principal Investigator of large training grant to prAlfordomote healthy marriage and family formation.  Former graduate investigator in evaluation of state-wide RITES of Passage Program for adolescent African American males.  Former Treatment Foster Care Supervisory, Search Light C.A.R.E., Inc.

2006 Recipients


Valarie Omega Justiss Vance, PhD 49 Post-doctoral trainings at Hanswoerker Skolen in Sanderberg, Denmark, University of Vienna in Austria, Howard University School of Social Work, VarlarieJusticeVanceand the Columbia Union College American Institute of Foreign Study.  Wrote California’s social work provisions that were included in the War on Poverty.  First African American world-wide to write extensively on the subject of unmarried fathers.  Past Associate Director of the first Black radio show, AMERICANS ALL, at Station WOOK, Washington, D.C..  Former consultant and grant writer for the Council of Affiliated Negro Organizations (CANO) and member of the National Association of Colored Women’s Club, Inc.


Gregory Michael Seelig, MSW 76 Dean of Caudill College of Humanities, MoMikeSeeligrehead State University.  Fulbright Research Scholar Distinguished International Lecturer, Slovak Academic of Sciences American Council on Education Fellow.  United Nations Volunteer in Ethiopia where he assisted in conducting an accurate consus of Somali refugees.  Former Executive Assistant to the President of Morehead State University.  Former Dean of College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, Morehead State University.


Marguerite Turnbull, MSW 68 Past Director of Girls Work at Pillsbury Settlement House.  ForMargueriteTurnbullmer President of Iowa City Chapter of the League of Women Voters.  Past volunteer Job Training Partnership Program for Ohio Bureau of Employment Services.  Past Board Member, Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio.  Past volunteer with Open Shelter Board of Columbus


Gregory “Jack” Marshall Ford, BSSW 69 First African American Mayor of Toledo.  Former Ohio House of Representatives (1994-2001).  Past DJohnFordemocratic Leader of the Ohio House of Representatives.  Past Toledo City Council Member (1987 – 1993).  Past Council President (1993).  Adjunct Professor at University of Toledo and Bowling Green University.

2006 Recipients


Kenneth R. Yeager, PhD 99 Assistant Clinical Professor, OSU College of Medicine Department of Psychiatry.  Co-Director of OSU Collaborative foKenYeagerr Integrative Behavioral Healthcare Education.  Past Director of Quality, OSU Harding Hospital.  Former Clinical Director, OSU Hospital East Talbot Hall.  Editorial Review Editor and Book Reviewer for Oxford University Press.  Fellow of American College of Mental Health


Bill Owens, MSW ’84