By Tamara Norris
The School of Social Work hosted a reception on May 2 to celebrate the career of Irene Nathan Zipper, Ph.D. ’96, MSW ’73, who is retiring at the end of June after 40 years of dedicated public service.
Zipper directs the Family Support Program at the School of Social Work, whose mission is to promote and provide support for families with children who have special needs.
The reception was attended by colleagues, staff, students, friends and family. Tamara Norris, associate director of the Family Support Program, served as the host of the reception. Special remarks reflecting on Zipper’s contributions to the School of Social Work and to the State of North Carolina were shared by Maeda Galinsky, Kenan Distinguished Professor; Marie Weil, Berg-Beach Distinguished Professor; Gary Bowen, Kenan Distinguished Professor; and Evelyn Williams, clinical associate professor. Additional remarks were shared by Jean Livermore, Bernie Hyman, and Barbara Leach. Faculty and staff contributed to several gifts presented in recognition of her work.
In a career distinguished by enthusiastic engagement with stakeholders and commitment to ethical social work practice, Zipper sought to build capacity to improve results for children and families through fostering excellence in statewide service delivery, promoting international scholarship, and demonstrating strong leadership through challenging times. Through numerous other contributions, she has demonstrated excellence in service to the families of North Carolina and beyond, and scholarly engagement that has benefited the School of Social Work and the University in myriad ways.
Her accomplishments during her tenure with the School of Social Work include development and implementation of a training curriculum for child-serving agencies, which served as a model for service delivery in an emerging field; leadership of the Family Support Program; establishment of the PREParation for Emergencies and Recovery: Supporting Individuals with Developmental Disabilities and their Families Project; among many others.
“Irene is an excellent social worker and educator who made a positive difference in the lives of children and families, students, and colleagues,” said Norris. “Her presence will be missed and her contributions will be remembered. Retirement will surely provide many new opportunities, which we know she will embrace with the same wholehearted enthusiasm that she embraced in her work.”