Each year at graduation, the School of Social Work presents the Distinguished Alumni Award as our way of honoring alumni who embody social work values and carry our mission of service into the world. Alumni can be nominated by peers, faculty members, fellow alumni or students and are chosen by a committee.
For 2014 we have three winners: Seanee Garris Alexander, MSW ’99; Mary Deyampert-McCall, MSW ’80; and Chris Estes, MSW ’00.
Seanee Garris Alexander is a 1999 MSW graduate and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She currently works as a school social worker at Broadview Middle School for the Alamance-Burlington School System. In 2011-2012, the student services department honored Alexander’s work by naming her School Social Worker of the Year. She also has served as a social work field instructor and serves on the North Carolina School Social Work Association Board. In addition, she spent several years in early childhood serving as a family services manager for two Head Start programs in North Carolina. According to one of her former interns and 2014 MSW graduate, Olivia Brown, Alexander deserves this recognition because “she represents social work values well within the school and community. She is very insightful, resourceful, and willing to help social workers master empowering skills and pursue professional development opportunities.”
Chris Estes is a 2000 MSW graduate and current president and CEO of the nonprofit National Housing Conference in Washington, D.C. In his role, Estes works closely with partners and coalitions to make the case for affordable housing and for the development of effective housing policy solutions. Prior to his 2012 appointment to the national post, Estes served for nine years as executive director of the North Carolina Housing Coalition, one the country’s best known state-housing groups. Because his background also includes a master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from UNC, he has extensive experience in economic development, smart growth advocacy, welfare reform, workforce development, and asset-building research.
1980 MSW graduate Mary Deyampert-McCall has served as an advocate, activist, educator, consultant and leader. Her dedication to the people of North Carolina is demonstrated by her 30-year tenure in public social services, beginning as a front line worker in Cumberland County and ending as statewide Director of the Division of Social Services. For 20 years, Deyampert-McCall also served in various capacities with North Carolina Department of Human Resources. Following her retirement from the state, she spent five years as executive director of Contact, a community crisis center in Fayetteville. During this same time, she began working as an adjunct social work professor with Methodist University, where she now serves as a full-time faculty member and field education coordinator in the social work department. In addition to serving on many state and national groups, Deyampert-McCall has also been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the state’s Order of the Long Leaf Pine.