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Commencement 2015

MAY 18, 2015
9:15 a.m. — Academic Procession
10:00 a.m. — University Commencement (main ceremony)
12:00–2:00 p.m. — School of Social Work Diploma Ceremony

The 139th Commencement of Boston College will be held on Monday, May 18, 2015, at 10:00 a.m. in Alumni Stadium. Commencement Exercises are a two-part ceremony. The University Commencement (main ceremony) will start with a procession at 9:15 a.m. All graduates should be in assembly areas by 8:15 a.m. The academic procession into Alumni Stadium for the University Commencement will begin at 9:15 a.m. Family and guests should be seated by that time. This will be followed by individual School and College Diploma Ceremonies. All should be completed no later than 2:00 p.m.

The School of Social Work Diploma Ceremony is held following the University Commencement at approximately 12:00 p.m. on Burns Lawn (rain or shine).  More about Commencement »

Diversity Conference & Alumni Awards Event
"Race and Justice"

JANUARY 9, 2015
8:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
McGuinn Hall 121 Auditorium, Chestnut Hill Campus. See maps and directions.
Parking available in the Beacon Street Garage. See parking rates and information.
2 CEUs

Students, alumni, faculty, and staff are invited to attend a morning conference, "Race and Justice," to explore the intersections of diversity and social work practice and to honor this year's recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Awards. This event brings the entire Boston College School of Social Work community together at the start of the second semester to deepen our respect for the complex diversity of the people and communities we are privileged to serve and to strengthen our practice skills.

This year's keynote speaker will be John H. Jackson, President and CEO, Schott Foundation for Public Education.  More about the Diversity Conference & Alumni Awards Event »

Collaborative Research Forum

FEBRUARY 18, 2015
12:00–1:00 p.m.
McGuinn 334
Please RSVP to Professor David Takeuchi at

"How Neuroimaging Studies can Inform Educational Policy and Practice: The Case of Reading Disorder"

Boston College School of Social Work will kick off the spring semester's Collaborative Research Forum series with a talk by Professor Jessica Black about neuroimaging studies and how they relate to education. Lunch is provided.  More about the Collaborative Research Forum »

Macro-SIL Leadership Speakers Luncheon Series:
Chrismaldi Vasquez, Associate Director of Family Independence Initiative

JANUARY 23, 2015
11:50 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
Faculty Dining Room, McElroy Commons
RESERVATIONS REQUIRED. Limited to 10 students only. Please email Ian Witherby at to reserve your spot.

The Macro-SIL Program at Boston College School of Social Work is sponsoring a Leadership Speakers Luncheon Series during the 2014-2015 academic year. The program is designed to introduce Macro-SIL students and other BC Social Work students interested in leadership skills to the practical experiences of leaders in social-justice-oriented careers. Leaders are invited to campus to bring their expertise in administration, policy, change management/transformation, and social innovation to the discussions. They are interviewed about their greatest leadership challenge, their most important leadership lesson, and advice for students. A facilitated Q&A session with students will follow each interview.

Chrismaldi Vasquez is Associate Director of Family Independence Initiative, Boston, which leverages the power of information to support economic and social mobility. FII is proving that documenting and investing in the initiative and ingenuity of low-income families and communities is the most effective way forward.  More about Macro-SIL Leadership Speakers Luncheon with Chrismaldi Vasquez »

Diversity Conference & Alumni Awards Event
"Race and Justice"

JANUARY 9, 2015
8:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
McGuinn Hall 121 Auditorium, Chestnut Hill Campus. See maps and directions.
Parking available in the Beacon Street Garage. See parking rates and information.
2 CEUs

Students, alumni, faculty, and staff are invited to attend a morning conference, "Race and Justice," to explore the intersections of diversity and social work practice and to honor this year's recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Awards. This event brings the entire Boston College School of Social Work community together at the start of the second semester to deepen our respect for the complex diversity of the people and communities we are privileged to serve and to strengthen our practice skills.

This year's keynote speaker will be John H. Jackson, President and CEO, Schott Foundation for Public Education.  More about the Diversity Conference & Alumni Awards Event »



Students working in the renovated library.
BCSSW Unveils Revamped Social Work Library

NOVEMBER 4, 2015

The School of Social Work's library received a significant upgrade this past summer, when Boston College invested substantial resources to building a gleaming, innovative space for its students.

Library staffers conducted several focus groups and student surveys ahead of the redesign, in order to ensure the new space was best suited to the school’s most important stakeholders. Boston-based architectural firm Dimella Shaffer won a competition to then integrate this feedback into the ultimate design that would become the new library.

"The library redesign was a labor of love for the many of us involved in the project," says Head Librarian Hannah Ha. "We worked hard to integrate the perspective of our students in our plans, and we are confident we've created the best possible space for both collaborative and individual study and work." More about BCSSW Unveils Revamped Social Work Library on the Blog »

BCSSW Convenes First-of-its-kind Neuroscience and Social Work Symposium

OCTOBER 15, 2015

Assistant Professor Jessica Black is breaking new ground with colleagues from across the nation for a new area of inquiry: neuroscience and social work. An educational psychologist with postdoctoral training in neuroscience from the Stanford University School of Medicine, she is one of a small group of pioneers to concentrate her career in this space. Black firmly believes that neuroscience is a critical component of any social work training, and thanks to her leadership, BCSSW offers its students the option to complete a certificate in this cross-disciplinary inquiry.

More than just building a program at BCSSW, however, Black hopes to construct a new field between these spaces; this fall, she and the BC School of Social Work hosted a first-of-its-kind research symposium entitled Intersections: Social Work and Neuroscience. Find out more about this symposium on the blog »

Onwards and Upwards Magazine cover
‘Onwards and Upwards’ – BCSSW Releases Fall 2015 Magazine

OCTOBER 9, 2015

In this latest edition of BC Social Work Magazine, you’ll find stories aboutChangemakers – members of our school’s senior leadership – and the projects they’re engaged in to push the boundaries of social work. You’ll read aboutExecutives and Policymakers, a new kind of social work professor brought in to BCSSW to share their leadership experiences with a next generation of professionals. You’ll also learn about New Directions in social work being pursued by representatives of our young, impressive junior faculty, bringing our field into dialogue with neuroscience, public health, and beyond. And of course, you’ll also be able to read about some of the school’s influential alumni, and the change they’re effecting in places across the country, from San Quentin Prison to the White House.

Visit the Blog to find out more about the recently released BCSSW Magazine »

Professor Rocío Calvo Wins Spencer Grant in Education Research

OCTOBER 2 2015

Assistant Professor Rocío Calvo has secured a two-year grant worth nearly $50,000 to study BCSSW’s pioneering Latino Leadership Initiative (LLI), of which Calvo is founder and director.

The grant comes from the Spencer Foundation, an organization whose stated mission is to “investigate ways in which education, broadly conceived, can be improved around the world”; the vast majority of Spencer winners are academics in the field of education. Calvo’s project takes on a special significance: As she trains a next generation of social workers to better understand our nation’s largest growing minority population through the LLI, she will also gauge the success of this very program to graduate Latino MSW degree holders, and their ability to secure the careers they aspire to following graduation. Read more about the Spencer Grant on the Blog »

Attendees of the 2015 Summer Colloquium
BCSSW Colloquium Draws Diverse PhD Students from Across the U.S.

SEPTEMBER 24, 2015

This summer, BC Social Work convened a colloquium on Social, Economic, and Environmental Equity for PhD students across the country. The event, co-directed by professors Ruth McRoy and David Takeuchi, was initiated to provide advanced social work graduate students from different institutions with a space to engage in discussions about different forms of inequality, especially in relation to race.

PhD candidates came to Boston from all corners of the United States, from the University of Hawaii to the University of Chicago to Howard University. In addition to a diversity of geographic representation, the colloquium featured a variety of topics around inequality. More about BCSSW Colloquium Draws Diverse PhD Students on the Blog »

Kelsey Komic
Global Field Ed Placement Teaches Recent Grad to ‘Stay Curious Every Day’

JUNE 23RD, 2015

MSW Global Practice concentration has taken students to five continents to serve in refugee camps, child abuse centers, women’s empowerment programs, and a wide range of other social service agencies.

Kelsey Komich recently graduated from the program, spending her global field education placement at an NGO in Guatemala City, Guatemala. Kelsey was also a member of the first Latino Leadership Initiative (LLI) cohort to complete their degrees at Boston College. Each of these experiences have helped to both shape Kelsey’s career ambitions, and further her understandings of our increasingly global realities.

Read Kelsey's Q&A on our blog

Pope Francis
Dearing Comments on Historical Importance of Papal Encyclical

JUNE 17TH, 2015

As the world awaits the most talked about writing to come out of the Vatican in perhaps decades, Associate Professor Tiziana Dearing provides a hopeful voice in WBUR’s online magazine Cognoscenti.

“Pope Francis may be the right man at the right time to bring inherently religious values about poverty, the economy and the environment to a broader community,” she writes.

More about Dearing and the Papal Encyclical on the blog

David Takeuchi
Takeuchi Elected Secretary of American Sociological Association

JUNE 16, 2015

The already long list of important roles played by BCSSW Associate Dean of Research David Takeuchi continues to grow: On Tuesday he was elected Secretary of the largest professional association of sociologists worldwide, the American Sociological Association (ASA).

Takeuchi will serve the ASA as Secretary-Elect in 2015-2016, and as Secretary from 2016-2019. His responsibilities will include: chairing the Committee on the Executive Office and Budget, and he will be a voting member of both the Publications and Programming Committees. More about Takeuchi Elected Secretary on the Blog »

Inagural Cohort of Latino Leadership Initiative Gradutes
Latino Leadership Initiative Graduates Inaugural Cohort

JUNE 4, 2015

Three years ago, Boston College School of Social Work Assistant Professor Rocío Calvo proposed an innovative program designed to better prepare students to work with the increasingly diverse community that is the United States, and in particular, with the largest of the nation's minority populations, Latinos.

This May, that program, called the Latino Leadership Initiative, graduated its first cohort of students; they are 23 women and men from all walks of life who now possess strengthened linguistic and cultural competencies to more effectively serve Latino communities in their future life and work. More about LLI Graduates Inaugural Cohort on the Blog »

Tiziana Dearing on NECN
Dearing Provides Commentary on Tsarnaev Sentencing

MAY 15, 2015

Associate Professor Tiziana Dearing continues to offer her unique perspective to some of the biggest stories taking place in the news – most recently, as a commentator on WBUR’s special coverage of the jury verdict for the sentencing phase of the Boston Marathon Bombing Trial. Dearing also appeared on New England Cable News to offer a response to the Tsarnaev sentencing.

Dearing is an experienced blogger, writing for the Huffington Post and WBUR’s Cognoscenti, and a seasoned commentator on television and radio. More about Dearing Provides Commentary on Tsarnaev Sentencing on the Blog »

Talia Rivera speaks about Social Capital at the Social Innovation Symposium
BCSSW Students Convene School’s Inaugural Social Innovation Symposium

MAY 11, 2015

On May 1st, BC Social Work hosted its first ever Social Innovation Symposium, engaging well-respected community leaders with students, alumni, and other social work professionals. Organized and convened by current MSW students in partnership with faculty leadership at the Center for Social Innovation, the Symposium provided a forum for attendees to consider how they can innovate for change, both in their current work, and with an eye to the future. This year's theme centered around economic justice; speakers and workshops examined innovative practices in using assets, the built environment, and social capital to develop and improve access to economic resources in marginalized communities. More about Students Convene Social Innovation Symposium on the Blog »

Salome Raheim, Elaine Pinderhughes, and Ruth McRoy at the 2015 Pinderhughes Diversity Lecture
Raheim Delivers Pinderhughes Lecture on Race + Justice

APRIL 28, 2015

University of Connecticut School of Social Work Dean Salome Raheim presented the ninth annual Pinderhughes Diversity Lecture on April 15 at Boston College. Salome's talk, entitled "Race and Justice: From Analysis to Action," focused on the current dialogue on police violence against African Americans, as well as the mass incarceration of blacks in the U.S. prison system, and she offered a call to action. Raheim was the latest in a series of speakers invited to BCSSW to speak to this year's diversity theme of Race + Justice.

"The focus of race and justice for this lecture series, needless to say it is so timely," said Raheim in her opening remarks. "That the Boston College School of Social Work identified this theme before the nation's attention returned to it in the late summer last year says a great deal about the forward thinking and the commitment of this school." More about Raheim Delivers Pinderhughes Lecture on the Blog »

BCSSW Students at the Social Enterprise Competition
BCSSW Students Reach Finals of Clinton Global Initiative Competition

APRIL 13, 2015

The next generation of social workers will need to be able to think differently about how to solve the world’s problems. Many will work to build sustainable social innovations that enhance social justice, precisely the mission of Boston College School of Social Work's Center for Social Innovation. Virtually all will find themselves in collaborative environments, working hand in hand with like-minded professionals from all sorts of backgrounds, who are dedicated to effecting change across a multitude of fields.

This March, a trio of current BCSSW MSW students showed that they're already innovating in unique ways, and flexing enough collective muscle to be recognized by two of the world's leading organizations dedicated to social innovation: the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) and the Hult Prize Foundation. Dana Loatman, Greg Cassoli and Stephanie Brueck, along with colleagues from the Lynch School of Education and the Carroll School of Management, were named regional finalists in the annual Hult Prize Foundation $1 Million Social Enterprise Competition. This was a prestigious commendation; out of 20,000 entrants worldwide, only 300 made the regionals. More about BCSSW Students Reach Finals on the Blog »

Alexandra Rabasco
BCSSW Student Named Harvard Kennedy School Rappaport Fellow

APRIL 13, 2015

First-year MSW candidate Alexandra Rabasco has been awarded a Rappaport Institute Public Policy Fellowship for the upcoming summer, where she will work directly with Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders.

Rabasco is the first ever BC Social Work student to win this prestigious fellowship, which is designed to encourage "graduate students to spend part of their careers in public service through a paid, 10-week summer internship in key state and local agencies in the Greater Boston area." The Rappaport Institute is housed at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. More about Student Named Rappaport Fellow on the Blog »

Dean Godenzi celebrates Secretary Marylou Sudders alongside Governor Charlie Baker
Social Work Community Fetes Secretary Sudders at State House

MARCH 25, 2015

Members of the social work community celebrated in the Massachusetts State House yesterday, honoring the Commonwealth's new Secretary of Health and Human Services, Marylou Sudders, who now represents one of the highest-ranking social workers in government in the United States.

"The appointment of Marylou Sudders to Secretary of Health and Human Services is historic," said Alberto Godenzi, Dean of BCSSW. "To my knowledge there is no social worker in this country who has that kind of a leadership position. The appointment recognizes and leverages a unique social work champion." More about Social Work Community Fetes Secretary Sudders on the Blog »

David Takeuchi
Takeuchi Wins Prestigious Award from the American Sociological Association

MARCH 17, 2015

The American Sociological Association (ASA) has named BCSSW Associate Dean of Research David Takeuchi the Leonard I. Pearlin award winner for his distinguished contributions to the sociological study of mental health.

Takeuchi is a sociologist with postdoctoral training in epidemiology and health services research, and his research focuses on the social, structural, and cultural contexts that are associated with different health outcomes, with a particular interest in racial and ethnic minorities. Takeuchi's research also examines the use of health services in different communities. In his role as Associate Dean of Research, Takeuchi works with faculty members to facilitate their research, build networks, and strategize about how to prioritize projects. More about Takeuchi Wins Prestigious Award on the Blog »

Dreams of Freedom Exhibit
Egmont Curates Immigration Exhibit at Prudential Observatory

MARCH 13, 2015

Did you know that one in every four Bostonians was born overseas, or that Boston has the sixth highest concentration of immigrants of any city in the United States?

A new multimedia installation on the 50th floor of one of the city's tallest skyscrapers explores the richness of these realities, while bringing to life the diverse experiences of the thousands of immigrants who have made Boston their home over the past 400 years. Called Dreams of Freedom: Boston's Immigrant Experience, the exhibit was conceived under the direction of curator and BCSSW Professor Westy Egmont. More about Egmont Curates Immigration Exhibit on the Blog »

Patricia Yu
BC Social Work Alumna Shapes Policy at the White House

MARCH 6, 2015

BCSSW alumni are hard at work to change social policy in spaces around the world, from Boston to Beirut to Beijing, and their influence reaches as high as the White House.

2014 PhD graduate Patricia Yu was recently selected to be a 2014-2015 Health and Aging Policy Fellow, a competitive fellowship for health professionals working to make a positive contribution to policies that affect older adults. Her placement is at the 2015 White House Conference on Aging, a once per decade conference designed to "assist the public and private sectors to be responsive to the needs of a diverse aging population and to promote the dignity and independence of and expand opportunities for current and future generations of older persons and their families." More about Alumna Shapes Policy at the White House on the Blog »

Stephanie Berzin and Colleagues at Ashoka U Event
Berzin is ‘Change Leader’ at 2015 Ashoka U Exchange

MARCH 6, 2015

Professor Stephanie Berzin, the co-chair of the Center for Social Innovation at Boston College, is a designated "Change Leader" by Ashoka, an organization supporting social entrepreneurs across the world.

In February, Berzin presented at the organization's annual Ashoka U Exchange meeting, which this year took place on the campus of the University of Maryland. Berzin's talk was entitled "Engaging the Community: The Social Innovation Lab." More about Berzin is 'Change Leader' on the Blog »

Cheryl Colvin, Ruth McRoy, Elaine Pinderhughes, Claudette Colvin, and Jennifer Colvin
BCSSW in the News
Civil Rights Pioneer Ignites Spirit of Activism at Boston College

MARCH 5, 2015

On February 19th, civil rights pioneer Claudette Colvin presented a talk on her life at the Boston College School of Social Work, remembering the day 60 years ago when she refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus. Colvin was a trailblazer in the fight for civil rights – her refusal of segregation took place nine months before Rosa Parks’ similar protest. She was only 15 years old at the time.

"Claudette spoke eloquently about how she has proactively addressed adversity throughout her life, and she encouraged our faculty and students to stand up and provide a compassionate voice when confronted with social injustice in our own lives," said BC Social Work Dean Alberto Godenzi. "She also encouraged us to strive to understand what’s happening in the world around us today, and she asked us to remember our distinct pasts as a critical means to gaining truthful perspectives on our shared futures."  More about Civil Rights Pioneer Claudette Colvin »

Frank Garcia-Ornelas
BC Social Work Student Creates Art to ‘Bridge Gaps’

FEBRUARY 15, 2015

During Black History Month, Boston College is showcasing the artwork of Social Work MSW student Frank Garcia-Ornelas. The exhibit, comprised of 12 graphic works, celebrates "The Power of Youth Movements in Black History." It's no coincidence, of course, that three of Garcia-Ornelas' pieces were on display at BCSSW’s recent event highlighting civil rights pioneer Claudette Colvin, who famously refused bus segregation 60 years ago when she was only 15 years old.

In this conversation with BC Social Work, Frank talks about his calling to be a social worker, and how art has been for him a "way out" and a lifelong passion. More about Art to Bridge Gaps on the Blog »

Westy Egmont
"Social Work is BC"

FEBRUARY 25, 2015

On November 11th, we returned to our roots, reclaiming the original name bestowed upon the school by its founders in 1936, the Boston College School of Social Work. The name change offered the school an opportunity to celebrate its history, its people, and its mission; the title of the event was "Social Work is BC." It was a title that resonated deeply with featured speaker Father Jack Butler, Boston College's Vice President for the Division of University Mission and Ministry.

"And then I saw your hashtag, 'Social Work is BC,' and I said 'There's the prophets,'" he told a packed audience in McGuinn Hall's auditorium. "They’re calling back to all of us in the administration, all of us in the separate schools, all the students here, and you are saying to us, 'Do you remember what the mission is?'"

The evening was designed to celebrate the many unique and diverse ways that BC Social Work seeks to live out its mission of social justice, and to making transformation happen. More than 20 initiatives and programs participated in a dynamic "flash mob style" presentation that included singing, dancing, inspiring remarks, quotations from people like Martin Luther King, Jr., and loud cheers. The Latino Leadership Initiative unfurled a banner displaying the school’s new name, in a new language — Spanish.  More about "Social Work is BC" »

Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes speaks at SSWR
Pitt-Catsouphes Delivers Keynote at SSWR Annual Meeting

FEBRUARY 6, 2015

This year's Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) Annual Meeting was the biggest ever: More than 1,600 in the field descended upon New Orleans, Louisiana for presentations and conversations around the theme of the "Social and Behavioral Importance of Increased Longevity."

The opening keynote address was given by two professors who have devoted their careers to this theme — BC Social Work's Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes and Nancy Morrow-Howell of Washington University in St. Louis. The two thought leaders did not disappoint, wowing those in attendance. "It was truly one of the strongest presentations I've ever witnessed at any conference," said Dean Alberto Godenzi.  More about Pitt-Catsouphes Delivers Keynote on the Blog »

BCSSW Professors Westy Egmont and Maryanne Loughry with a group of students at the Arizona/Mexico border
BCSSW in the News
Border Visit Illuminates BC Social Work Immigration Course

FEBRUARY 6, 2015

Once again, the United States is at a crossroads on the issue of immigration. In the wake of President Obama’s recent executive order allowing some five million undocumented persons to stay in the U.S. at least temporarily, community leaders across the country are faced with the challenge of building new systems to better integrate immigrants into American life.

An innovative course at the Boston College School of Social Work is addressing this challenge head-on, and offering a unique field-based experience for a next generation of social workers devoted to shaping immigration policy. Services to Migrants: A Border Perspective is co-taught by BCSSW Associate Professor of Macro Practice Westy Egmont, director of the BC Immigrant Integration Lab, and part-time faculty member Maryanne Loughry, RSM, associate director of Jesuit Refugee Service Australia and an advisor to the Australian government on migration and refugee matters.  More about the Border Visit »

2015 Distinguished Alumni Awards
Distinguished Alumni Honored for 2015

JANUARY 21, 2015

The Distinguished Alumni Awards honor Boston College School of Social Work MSW or PhD alumni who have made significant contributions to the social work profession. This year, two awards were handed out during a ceremony held on January 9th at McGuinn Hall, to Colleen Fitzgerald, MSW '11, and James A. Martin, MSW '70.

Fitzgerald, the recipient of the recent alumni award, currently works for the International Rescue Committee in Beirut, Lebanon, and specifically, on the Syria Refugee Response. Martin, who received a distinguished alumni award, is a Professor of Social Work and Social Research at Bryn Mawr College, and a LICSW with more than 40 years of social work practice.  More about the Distinguished Alumni Honored for 2015 »