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Bright Future, Brilliant Past

March 5, 2007 — The University of Utah’s College of Social Work has cause to cheer this week as it celebrates its 70th anniversary and capital campaign announcement at a party on Wednesday, March 7, from 2 to 3 p.m. to be held in the College of Social Work atrium, 395 South 1500 East, Salt Lake City.

University of Utah President Michael Young and donors Wilford and Dorothy Goodwill will speak at the event, which will be attended by the campaign co-chairs Norma Matheson and Jan Bennett. The party is free and open to the public.

“The faculty and staff of the College of Social Work are proud to be part of a 70-year legacy of education and training for our students, of reaching out to the underserved in our community, and of growth-growth in our curriculum, our programs, and our facilities,” explains Jannah Mather, dean of the College of Social Work.

One of many celebrants benefiting from the college’s activities is Barbara, an 83-year-old woman who lives in a moderate-income neighborhood in Salt Lake City. Years ago she was found half-blind, trying to survive on social security and a widow’s small pension, living alone in a cluttered home with a rotten front porch and a cockroach infestation.

Thanks to Neighbors Helping Neighbors, a program established in 1997 through the College of Social Work’s W.D. Goodwill Initiatives on Aging, Barbara’s clutter and cockroach problems are gone, her front porch repaired, and her self-esteem restored.

Committed to helping older adults live independently for as long as possible, Neighbors Helping Neighbors is powered by social work students and community volunteers who offer their time and hands to seniors in need of repairs, cleaning, shopping assistance, snow shoveling, counseling, or simply companionship.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors is just one example of the outstanding legacy the College of Social Work has created in its 70-year history. With its beginnings stretching back to the Great Depression, the college grew out of a vision held by Arthur Beeley, the college’s first dean who, inspired by Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, felt the community needed trained professionals capable of addressing problems of the era.

In his efforts to create a social work program to train these professionals, Beeley set the tone for assisting the underserved when he defined social work as comprising “all of our arrangements, both public and private, for helping handicapped persons of every variety and from whatever cause.” He described the endeavor as a “non-sectarian enterprise, managed by an ever-increasing body of professionally trained men and women who believe that social ills of our time will yield to an unselfish, intelligent and cooperative attack.”

Since its creation 70 years ago, the College of Social Work has grown from a one-year certificate program with 50 students to a college offering four master’s specializations, annually graduating nearly 500 students with B.S.W., M.S.W., and Ph.D. opportunities.

Today’s master’s students can specialize in health, mental health, public services or criminal justice. The college offers dual degree programs in which students earn a Ph.D. in social work and an M.P.A. through the department of political science, or a joint M.P.A. and M.S.W.

The college also boasts an international social work program, which emphasizes global interdependence, focusing on international social work practice abroad and with multi-cultural populations within the United States.

The college has long benefited from endowments that serve its approximately 50 B.S.W., 400 M.S.W. and 40 Ph.D. candidates. Additionally, in 2006 the Katie L. Dixon Women and Girls Leadership Endowed Fund was formed to help meet the growing need for leadership programs tailored to young and adult women in the community.

In addition to its 70th anniversary, the College of Social Work is celebrating the announcement of its Reaching Out, Enriching Minds, Changing Lives Capital Campaign, aimed at raising just over $9 million; $5.7 million of which will fund the Wilford W. and Dorothy P. Goodwill Humanitarian Building. The new building will increase capacity for education and community seminars and workshops, while also providing dedicated space for aging and clinical training programs.

“The needs we see in our community, our state and our world-needs we feel compelled to try to meet-require more resources and more space than we currently possess,” says Mather, explaining that the campaign is about looking to the future. “The new facility will serve the college, the university and the community.”

Located adjacent to the existing College of Social Work building on its south-east lawn, the new structure will provide space for the W.D. Goodwill Initiatives on Aging and its affiliated Neighbors Helping Neighbors program, expanding their abilities to serve more seniors each year.

The building will also house a community meeting center, a technology-enhanced classroom and a state-of-the-art clinical training center, which will include two observation classrooms and four clinical therapy rooms for family, group, and individual consultations. Other university programs and community groups will have access to the facilities for research and training.

Additional information on the College of Social Work can be found at For questions about the Reaching Out, Enriching Minds, Changing Lives Capital Campaign, contact Lisa Himonas at 801-585-5382. For current Neighbors Helping Neighbors projects visit or call Ryan Engar at 581-5162.