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School of Social Work celebrates 97th annual commencement

The UNC School of Social Work held its 97th annual hooding ceremony on Saturday, May 12. Friends, family members, and others gathered in Memorial Hall on UNC’s campus to celebrate this year’s 129 MSW and two Ph.D. graduates.

Dean Gary Bowen and Alumni Council president Ashley Benefield, MSW ’08, welcomed the audience, and presented the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Awards. This year’s recipients are: Veronica Creech, MSW ‘98; Constance Fraser Gray, MSW ‘91; Mark A. Oliver, MSW ‘98; Anna Marie Scheyett, MSW ‘89; and Jovetta L. Whitfield, MSW ’95. Kathy Boyd, retired executive of the North Carolina chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, was also presented with the Tate-Turner-Kuralt Champion award, which recognizes extraordinary service to the School and to the social work profession.

During the ceremony, the MSW Class of 2018 and Social Work Student Organization (SoWoSo) chairs also honored several faculty and staff members with special awards. Those recognized were:

  • Tonya VanDeinse: Most Innovative Faculty and Most Overall Outstanding Faculty
  • Iris Carlton-LaNey: Most Inspirational Faculty
  • Travis Albritton: Most Supportive Faculty
  • Sharon Holmes Thomas: Most Supportive Staff Member

State House Rep. Graig Meyer delivered the commencement address. Meyer, who was elected in 2013 to represent portions of Orange and Durham counties, is one of only two trained social workers currently serving in the General Assembly. A 1998 graduate of the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago, Meyer has spent his career combatting institutionalized racism and promoting educational equity and excellence. He encouraged graduates to continue to be a voice for the clients and communities they serve.

Congratulations to all of the 2018 graduates!