Skip to content

GSSW Celebrating 75 Years on Sept. 14

At 75, GSSW Is Building An International Presence


By Jack Dunn | Director of News & Public Affairs

Published: Sept. 8, 2011

Seventy-five years after its founding to train social workers to respond to the critical issues facing a nation mired in the Great Depression, the Graduate School of Social Work will celebrate its 75th anniversary with a day-long series of events on Sept. 14.  

The anniversary celebration, which will be highlighted by a keynote address in Robsham Theater by Victoria Reggie Kennedy, widow of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy, will also include a presentation on the “Power of Social Innovation,” an alumni reunion and luncheon, a liturgy with University President William P. Leahy, SJ, and an evening reception.  

“We are looking forward to marking this special occasion with a celebration of our school and the unique role our alumni have played as policy makers, academics, researchers and leading social service practitioners nationwide,” said GSSW Dean Alberto Godenzi. 

“We are particularly delighted to have Victoria Kennedy as our keynoter, given her role as an attorney and advocate for women, children and families, as well as her present work as co-founder and trustee of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the US Senate.  It will be a wonderful day for the GSSW and all of our students, faculty and alumni.”   

Described by the New York Times as “Senator Kennedy’s closest confidante in politics and life,” Victoria Kennedy was a leading advocate for national health care reform and stood at President Obama’s side at the White House as he signed the landmark legislation into law in 2010. 

She continues to promote the new policy while overseeing the establishment of the Kennedy Institute, which was founded to invigorate public discourse, encourage participatory democracy, and inspire the next generation of leaders in public service.         

The fourth-oldest and highest-ranked Catholic school of social work in the United States, and the University’s highest-ranked professional school, the GSSW offers both a master’s degree and a doctor of philosophy in social work to its more than 500 students. It is also home to two acclaimed research hubs, the National Resource Center for Participant-Directed Services and the Sloan Center on Aging & Work, both of which are part of the Boston College Institute on Aging.  

“The Graduate School of Social Work has been a national leader in the field through its commitment to helping to improve the lives of those in need through a variety of programs that reflect the University’s Jesuit, Catholic mission of service,” said Fr. Leahy. “We congratulate them on their 75th anniversary and look forward to many more productive years to come.”  

Eileen Connors, MSW ’95, BS ’66, said, “The GSSW has had a profound effect in helping those in need by providing social workers and policy makers with the skills necessary to make a difference in the world.  As an alumna, I am proud of the school and wish it the best as it celebrates its 75th year of service to the world.”     

Added GSSW Associate Professor Katie McInnis-Dittrich, “This is an important celebration for the GSSW. Our trajectory toward excellence has been unwavering for 75 years, even as support for the poor and marginalized has fluctuated depending upon the political climate. The GSSW is well tooled to train social workers for the 21st century thanks to an outstanding faculty and the quality of our students. We proudly carry on a tradition that is rooted in our pursuit of social justice and our commitment to our Jesuit mission and to being men and women for others.”  

In recent years, the GSSW has enhanced its international focus, with its faculty and students actively engaged in international research and service collaborations. The school has also established a global practice concentration that infuses global content throughout the entire GSSW curriculum.   

“We are proud of what we have accomplished as an international leader in social work,” said Godenzi. “We look forward to the challenges of the next 75 years in fulfillment of our mission to initiate and sustain change and to foster the attainment of social justice.”  

For more information: Graduate School of Social Work’s 75th Anniversary Celebration, visit their website here.