LSU School of Social Work Celebrating 75 Years of Helping Louisiana’s Vulnerable

04/18/2013 10:00 AM

BATON ROUGE – For 75 years, the LSU School of Social Work has been a leader in aiding vulnerable populations in the region. To commemorate this landmark, the school is hosting a two-day conference and celebration. Alumni, faculty, friends and supporters of the School of Social Work will gather on April 18 and 19 to celebrate the acclaimed school’s 75th anniversary.  

The 75th anniversary, which takes place at the Lod Cook Alumni Center, will be a unique combination of seminars, training sessions and of course celebration. A number of seminars spanning both days will address a wide spectrum of human and social interest topics.  

Contact hours of continuing education offered will include more than 10 clinical hours, BACS renewal and three hours of ethics training.

“Our whole purpose is to reconnect and engage our alumni and supporters,” said Associate Director and 75th Anniversary Chair Traci Lilley. “We also wanted to give the faculty a chance to shine and present their research.”

There will also be a celebration the night of April 18 featuring special guest Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, who will deliver an address at the celebration. The party will be a chance for School of Social Work supporters to reconnect, network and enjoy live jazz music.

The anniversary event will culminate on Friday with a presentation from keynote speaker Bruce Perry, who will speak about the impact of trauma and neglect on the developing child.  Perry is the Senior Fellow of the Child Trauma Academy, a not-for-profit organization based in Houston.  He is also adjunct professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University School of Medicine in Chicago.

The two-day event will pay tribute to 75 distinguished honorees. These men and women have contributed in a multitude of ways to the field of social work, and several have achieved historic accomplishments. Furthermore, one honoree from each decade will be specially highlighted. Honorees from the current decade will also be celebrated as “Future Leaders.”
In preparing for the 75th anniversary celebration, the school’s faculty and staff have dedicated time to going through the school’s archives.

“The 75th has allowed us to look back while also looking forward,” said Lilley. “I am a part of such an incredible school. Seeing the history of people before us has made me realize we are more than just this moment in time.”

The two-day event will celebrate a school that has contributed greatly to the field of social work over the last 75 years. The School of Social Work was founded in 1937 as the Graduate School of Public Welfare Administration at Louisiana State University.  Formed during the New Deal era, the school’s original purpose was to train social workers who were working in social welfare offices.

Since that time, the School of Social Work has been a major player in social welfare throughout Louisiana. According to Interim Director Daphne Cain, 84 percent of the students who receive their Masters of Social Work from LSU stay in the state.  Cain emphasized that this is crucial because of Louisiana’s many social service needs, such as poverty, school drop-outs, incarceration, low birth weight and a quickly aging population. By addressing these issues in the state, LSU is serving one of its purposes as a land grant university.

“We’re training the workers who stay in this state to serve the most vulnerable populations of the state,” Cain said. “That’s the legacy of the school.  If you meet a social worker in Louisiana, chances are they graduated from LSU.”

“We’re still true to our mission,” Lilley said. “But we’ve grown and developed into a research institution.”

The School of Social Work’s research has been nationally renowned, and social work professionals across the country are paying attention.  However, the implications of this research are seen most clearly within the state.

“The true impact has been educating students who stay in Louisiana, and the vision is to impact policy that makes the state a more livable place for everyone,” Cain remarked. “I see forward movement in the state, and the School of Social Work wants to be part of that progressive effort.”

The LSU School of Social Work aspires to be a leading graduate school of social work, a vibrant center for intellectual development, a leader in promoting and supporting diverse communities and an advocate for an integrated and inclusive model of social work.  The guiding philosophy of the School of Social Work includes values that create a framework for ethical and informed social work education, research and service.

The School of Social Work is one of six schools realigned to form the new LSU College of Human Sciences and Education, joining the School of Education, the School of Human Resource Education and Workforce Development, the School of Kinesiology, the School of Library and Information Science and the University Laboratory School.

For more information on the School of Social Work, visit

For more information on the College of Human Sciences & Education, visit

Billy  Gomila 
LSU Media Relations

Posted on Thursday, April 18, 2013