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June G. Hopps to Step Down After 24 Years as GSSW Dean

(12-9-99) - Citing a desire to "go out on top," after a 24-year career that propelled the Graduate School of Social Work from a small local school to a prestigious, nationally respected institution, GSSW Dean June G. Hopps announced that she will move on at the end of the 1999-00 academic year.

Hopps, who arrived at BC in the fall of 1976 after serving as an associate professor in the College of Social Work and City and Regional Planning departments at Ohio State University, is the second longest-serving dean at BC. During her tenure, she helped guide GSSW to its present 14th-ranked status in the US World & News Report rankings, and saw her faculty publications rankings, according to a recent study in the Journal of Social Education, rise to the top 10. A search committee, chaired by Associate Vice President of Research and Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Michael Smyer, will begin its search for her successor within the month.

"I am every bit as enthusiastic and challenged by my work today as I was when I came in 1976," said Hopps. "I just felt that the time was right for me to move on knowing I have accomplished what I set out to do and that the school is well positioned to continue to be a strong voice in the profession."

University President William P. Leahy, SJ, praised Hopps for her contributions to GSSW and to BC. "Boston College owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to June Hopps for 24 years of committed service to the GSSW and to the University," Fr. Leahy said. "She has been a leader in her field as well as a respected voice concerning the many aspects of Boston College. Her advice and presence will be missed."

Academic Vice President and Dean of Faculties Jack Neuhauser, who had served as a dean with Hopps for the past two decades, said, "June Hopps is a long-term, wise leader who has given every ounce of herself to developing this school. She has also been a major contributor to the University in terms of educational policy."

Added Executive Vice President Frank Campanella, "June is an extraordinary leader who built the GSSW into national prominence. She's been a generous and effective community citizen, contributing greatly to the entire University."

A Florida native whose participation in the civil rights movement as a "Freedom Fighter" helped spur her interest in social justice and equality, Hopps credits a conversation with the late civil rights leader Whitney Young with steering her towards a career in social work, instead of law. "Young showed me the many roles and opportunities that social work presented," said Hopps.

After graduating from Spelman College, and receiving her doctorate in social policy from the Heller School of Social Work at Brandeis University, she would launch her career in the field, earning distinction as a professor, dean, publications editor and recipient of numerous national awards and honors.

GSSW faculty and staff, many of whom credit her with increasing the selectivity of its students and contributing to the school's reputation as a leader in social work research, also praise her for her leadership and vision.

"There has been tremendous progress at the GSSW since June arrived," said Prof. Demetrius Iatridis (GSSW). "Some of the best social work professors nationally have come to BC thanks to her. She is a good person, an able administrator and very good to work with. We're going to miss her."

Added Associate Dean Bert Hanwell, "June moved the GSSW to become one of the best schools in the country. The PhD program, the off-campus MSW courses and the joint degree programs with law, management and pastoral ministry were all started by her. She has been a true leader. I wish her the best in whatever she pursues."

Hopps, in turn, credits her colleagues with giving her the support she needed to develop the GSSW. "I have been nurtured by a number of people at BC who have been both supportive and kind," said Hopps. "Fr. Monan, Fr. Leahy, Frank Campanella, Jack Neuhauser, Fr. Panuska, Fr. Fahey, Peg Dwyer and Leo Sullivan, among others, helped me along the way."

She also credits Associate Dean Bert Hanwell and her "superb faculty and dedicated staff, including Jo Connors, Mary Hogan and Regina O'Grady-LeShane" for their successful contributions to the GSSW. "My faculty wanted the GSSW to excel as much as I did," said Hopps. "No dean is better than his or her faculty. Together we took a small regional school and built it into a nationally prominent leader in social work education and research."

At the completion of the academic year Hopps will devote her time to finishing her book about social work in the millennium. She will also continue her work as chairwoman of the board of Spelman College, a position she has held since 1996, and hopes to continue contributing to the prestigious Journal of Social Work, of which she was the first person of color and the first Catholic college representative to serve as editor.

"I regret leaving my colleagues, but it is time to pursue other interests," says Hopps. "I always said Boston College is the place to be. I have truly enjoyed all of my 24 years here."

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