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Centennial Celebration

In 2020, in the midst of the historic COVID-19 pandemic, UNC School of Social Work officially launched its Centennial Celebration. Under the theme, “100 Years of Social Work: Ready for Next,” the School embraced a narrative that reflected on our history while leaning toward our future.Cover of Contact magazine, 2021-2022, Issue-1

During the first phase of this celebration in the 2020-2021 academic year, our School hosted a series of virtual events and activities, including a speakers series that focused on social justice and anti-racism.

The following year, through the launch of the 2021-2022 issue of Contact Magazine and an accompanying historical timeline, we invite you to dig deeper into our past and to consider the innovative strides our School has made in teaching, research and community service.

We’ve come a long way since our founding in 1920, since the first courses were offered at what was then known as the School of Public Welfare. This was a major milestone, in both the history of the University and the history of the State of North Carolina.

Centennial celebration historical timeline screenshotFor more than 100 years, our School has been a strong and consistent leader in social work education, with these and other accomplishments:

  • First school of social work in North Carolina
  • First school to offer a doctoral degree in social work in North Carolina
  • First Black faculty member at UNC-Chapel Hill — Mrs. Hortense McClinton
  • First Black dean of a professional school at UNC-Chapel Hill — Dean John Turner
  • More than 5,000 alumni

With the appointment of Ramona Denby-Brinson, the School’s first Black female dean, we begin the next chapter of our incredible journey. We hope you’ll take some time and explore the links above to discover more of our story – of who we are, how far we’ve come and our promising future ahead.

Read the School of Social Work’s Centennial Story, “100 Years of Impact”.