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News and Updates

BSW alum, Robert Sagastume, who is now in the in the master's program at Washington University was honored by the Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy (CRISP) at the 5th Annual Social Work Day on the Hill on Wednesday, March 20, 2019. He was awarded Outstanding Student of the Year. Robert Sagastume was selected among thousands of applicants to attend the 11th annual Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU) this fall. CGIU seeks to bring together student leaders to develop concrete steps toward solving global issues. Sagastume received this honor based upon his “commitment to action” proposal, which came from an idea he had while serving as co-director of an undocumented youth-led group, the Kansas/Missouri Dream Alliance. “It includes a program where undocumented/DACA students mentor other immigrant and non-immigrant students so they can achieve postsecondary education,” he explained. Sagastume was born and raised in Honduras until age 12 before migrating to the United States, navigating through society as a DACA immigrant. At the Brown School, he is a Clark-Fox Policy Scholar, which provides a rigorous and immersive experience to help understand the formation of social policy as a high-impact tool for positive change. He will graduate with a dual master of social work and master of social policy degree this year.

Brandi Schneider, Director of Aging Services and Administration at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences/Schmieding Center for Senior Education, received her Bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in gerontology from Kansas State University in 1996 and received her master’s degree in social work with an emphasis on gerontological administration from the University of Kansas in 1999. She has worked in a variety of geriatric settings, including nursing homes, in-patient geriatric psychiatry, home health, adult day services, and caregiver education. Brandi currently works at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences/Schmieding Center for Senior Education as the Director of Aging Services and Administration. In her role there, she offers individualized education and support to older adults and their families, as well as group support and community education. She is involved in program development and community collaboration efforts.

Grace’s Place Crisis Nursery added counseling services to its list of programs to help aid youth in Franklin County. Jorie Moeller, licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), will provide counseling services to area youth. She has been practicing in the field of social work for 13 years and has a wide range of experience including work in the foster care system, working with at-risk adolescents in a wilderness treatment facility, mental health case management and providing counseling services in an array of different settings. Moeller received her bachelor’s degree in social work from Kansas State University and a master’s of social work from the University of Kansas. Read more. 

The Kansas Department for Children and Families has named Tanya Keys deputy secretary. Keys previously served as regional director for the Children’s Division in Jackson County, Mo. She began her human services career in front-line foster care case management and previously served as child welfare director for the former Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services. Keys earned a bachelor’s degree in social work and master’s degree in public administration from the University of Kansas. Read more. 

Sheria Howard, a nontraditional student, wife and mother, chose to come to the KU Edwards Campus with the goal of earning a degree that would allow her to pursue her passion of serving others and extend a helping hand to communities in need. Howard achieved this goal and graduated in May 2018 with a Master of Social Work (M.S.W.). Howard is currently pursuing her second master’s degree at the Edwards Campus – a Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.). What keeps her going is seeing how government can affect social change. Read more

Michelle Needham will serve as the Director of Operations and Scheduling for Governor-elect Laura Kelly. She will oversee all scheduling and internal office operations. Previously, she was campaign scheduler for Kansas Secretary of State candidate Brian McClendon. Needham graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Welfare. She went on to work in various family and behavioral welfare positions focused on improving the lives of families and adults with disabilities. Read more

Anna Williams, s'05, was elected to the Oregon Legislature to represent House District 52. She is the voice for the 63,000 constituents who live in this district in the Oregon House of Representatives. The voters loved her social work and education background, and her priorities are addressing climate change, housing, education, and access to social services for people who live in rural communities. She is looking forward to using her social work administration degree to improve how legislation is created and implemented in Oregon. She is currently employed with Simmons College in Boston, MA.  

Joni Colwell named new manager of the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum. Colwell is a native of Yuma County, Colorado, and a graduate of Benedictine College, where she earned a bachelor of arts degree in both sociology and English. She holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Kansas. Read more. 

Reno County Magistrate Judge Cheryl Allen announced she is retiring Nov. 30 and will move to Lawrence to be closer to her children. She earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Kansas and a law degree from the University of Kansas School of Law. Read more. 


Staci Smock joined Katie's Way in September 2018. She is a Licensed Specialist Clinical Social Worker and completed her Bachelor of Social Work at the University of Wyoming before completing her master’s degree in social work at the University of Kansas in 1998. After completing her MSW, Staci served for six years as the social worker for the inpatient Geropsychiatric Unit at Geary Community Hospital. Staci then worked for eight years as a Program Manager in Behavioral Health at Mercy Regional Health Center overseeing an intensive outpatient mental health program.

Prior to joining Katie’s Way, Staci worked for the VA Hospital providing therapy for Veterans dealing with issues including depression/anxiety, trauma, relationship issues and substance abuse. She is skilled in utilizing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Prolonged Exposure (PE) and Solution Focused Brief-Therapy (SFBT). Staci primarily serves thier teenage and young adult population and specializes in mood disorders, anxiety/panic disorders, PTSD, psychotic disorders, adjustment disorders and family conflict. Staci looks forward to partnering with individuals and families to develop a treatment plan which aligns with their goals and desires and promotes their journey to wellness and recovery. Information courtesy of Katie's Way website

Lawrence Public Schools recognized MSW clinical student Carole Cadue-Blackwood, Kickapoo, for her tireless work to rename a local middle school. Her community organizing that led to naming the school Billy Mills Middle School also caught the attention of the National Indian Education Association. NIEA recently named Carole “Parent of the Year” at their national conference. Congratulations Carole! Carole also played a large role in helping establish Billy Mills Day. During the City Commission meeting on October 16, it was proclaimed, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018, as Billy Mills Day.

Lynne Horwitz Green, s’70, founder of Van Go Inc., an arts-based social service and job-training agency for at-risk teens in Lawrence, will retire in December after 23 years at the helm.

Melinda Carden Lewis, s’99, an associate professor of social welfare at KU, co-wrote Making Education Work for the Poor, which was published in August by Oxford University Press.

Amanda Spangler Everson, c’12, s’18, works at KVC Kansas in Olathe, where she’s a child-placing agency supervisor. She lives in Overland Park with her husband, Jeffrey, and their two sons, Mason and Brantley.

Kelly Riegel Miller, s’18, works at the welcome center at KU’s Edwards Campus.

Melissa Byler Burrow, s’18, is a Parent Management Training-Oregon model (PMTO) therapist at KVC Kansas in Olathe. She and her husband, Zachary, live in Kansas City.

Jennifer Ananda, alum, has been hired as Emporia State’s first Title IX Coordinator

Susan Ridenour, s'85, currently works for Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department. 

Suzanne Wikle, s'06, currently works for the Center for Law and Social Policy in Washington D.C.

Michelle Ree Patterson, s'95, is employed with HIT Inc. in Kansas City. She purchased this company in July 2017 and moved back to the KC area. 

Erin Pullen, s'11, works at Wyandot Center as the director of housing programs. 

Becky Fast, s'93, g'96, is the executive director for the Kansas Chapter, NASW. She has diverse background in clinical practice and macro policy through working as a clinical social worker at Kansas City Hospice and serving as a city council member on the Roeland Park City Council.  She was first introduced to the advocacy efforts of KNASW through leading the Chapter's political action arm and later served on the KS Chapter and NASW Board of Directors. During her tenure on the board, she helped facilitate the passage of the Social Worker Safety Act in honor of Teri Zenner.

MSW grad, Keri Ingle was elected to the Missouri Legislature in this past election. "She is smart, terrific and passionate, and she worked in child welfare for many years. I couldn't be prouder of her accomplishment, winning in the 35th in Lee's Summit, MO, in a district where a different party from hers had dominated for a bit. Pretty cool and it makes me feel hopeful... wanted to pass it on to all of you.” - Ed Scanlon

Recent PhD graduate, Dr. Eunji Nam, has received the Korean American Social Work Educators 2018 Award for her dissertation. Dissertation title: Family, Friends, and Romantic Partners’ Influence on Mental Health Recovery among Emerging and Middle-aged Adults with Serious Mental Illness. Dr. Nam is settling in her new home in Orlando for her position as assistant professor at University of Central Florida.

Kevin Wayne Edwards, s’97, is currently working at Deloitte Consulting LLP in Florida.

Cheryl Mathis, s’07, is currently working at Dignity Health in Arizona.

Marcy Shadden, s’16, s’18, is team lead at Comprehensive Mental Health Services in Independence, Missouri. She has two sons, Tyree and Terrell.

Kaylee Edwards, s’18, works at American Century Investments in Kansas City, where she is a client services representative. She lives in Mission with her husband, Leon, and their son, Leon III, who just turned 1.

Abigail Eisenhutt, s’18, is a day-treatment specialist at Cornerstones of Care in Kansas City.

Jennifer Manka, s’18, works for Johnson County in the department of human services. She and her husband, Keith, live in Shawnee and have two children, Caleb and Athena.

Jason Hurd, s’18, is a recovery advocate at First Call in Kansas City.

Laura Sadowski, s’18, lives in Dodge City, where she is a therapist at Compass Behavioral Health.

Kimberly Darrough-Hayden, s’18, is a counselor at Ulysses High School. She and her husband, Sam, live in Ulysses.

Camille Bollig Ellard, s’84, s’86, works at Haysmed in Hays, Kansas.

Laurita Burbach, s’96, is currently living in Collyer, Kansas.

Robin Unruh, s’02, works at Genesis Family Health in Garden City, Kansas.

Gretchen Heasty, s’94, c’95, s’98, director of TRIO Supportive Educational Services (SES) & STEM at KU, in May was named 2018 Academic Advisor of the Year.

Tiffany Gabel Rito, s’02, s’03, is a licensed master social worker for the Johnson County Department of Corrections.

Dawn Puderbaugh Hodges, s’92, s’96, JD 96, was recently hired as the Administrator/COO of the Greenwood Genetic Center. The Greenwood Genetic Center is a nonprofit institute centered on clinical genetic services, diagnostic laboratory testing, educational programs and resources, and research. Read more

Preston Williams, s’79, and wife just celebrated their 42nd wedding anniversary on June 26, 2018. They have a 12-year-old granddaughter who just was promoted to the 7th grade and their only child, who is 36 years of age, is being promoted to an upper tier position with the IRS agency in Missouri. Preston is a cancer survivor, having survived thyroid cancer, and both he and his wife are type II diabetics but doing reasonably well at the ripe old ages of 67. They cheer for KU in both football and basketball, and hope that the football team will be a success this Fall. His wife is also a 1973 social work undergraduate from Washburn University in Topeka. (picture above) 

Anna Bailey, s'10, s'13, joined Center on Budget and Policy Priorities as a Law and Policy Fellow and works with the Connecting the Dots: Bridging Systems for Better Health project. She has prior experience at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and in both the U.S. House and Senate. Anna also worked for a community mental center for three years in her native state of Kansas where she served people experiencing homelessness. Anna holds a bachelor's and master's degrees in social work administration from the University of Kansas and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. (https://www.cbpp.org/anna-bailey)

Andrew Brown, s'12, is currently working at KDADS in the Behavioral Health Services Commission as the Prevention Program Manager. He serves as the state's representative to the National Prevention Network (NPN) and chairs the NPN Research and Evaluation Committee.

Jay Logan, s’99, currently works with the Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex in Topeka, Kansas.

Sallie Mae West, s’99, currently works with the State of Missouri in Liberty, Missouri

Judi Berry, s'76, is currently self-employed.

Beth Black, s’77, is a physical therapist at Rust Medical Center in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. She lives in Albuquerque with her wife, Gail.

John Blosser, s’96, s’98, lives in Overland Park, where he’s president of Integrated CareGroup and Pharmacy Distribution Partners.

Heather Bradley-Geary, s'04, currently works as an adjunct instructors with the KU School of Social Welfare and serves on the national NASW Board of Directors. She is the director of supportive housing for Vecino Group in Kansas City. The Vecino Group is a company devoted to housing for the greater good. Affordable housing, supportive housing, student housing; every project they touch has to address a broader community issue, set an example, give back, and inspire the people working on it with a sense of higher purpose. That's housing for the greater good. That's what they do. This position currently involves working for a national NGO on ending homelessness via increasing affordable housing.

Portia Davis-Owens, s'15, is currently employed with Swope Health Services in Kansas City.

Russell DeTrempe, s’81, is director of maximum security and chief of operations at Fulton State Hospital, where he’s worked for more than 30 years. He makes his home in Hartsburg, Missouri.

Tim DeWeese, s'99, is currently employed with Johnson County Mental Health Center

Kimberly Downs Gorombey, s’03, is a social worker in the Liberty School District in Missouri.

Taylor Ermoian, s’16, recently returned from Jerusalem, where he spent a year working as a human rights researcher and a social worker and teacher at a local school. He now lives in Los Angeles.

Kristi L Giltner, s'88, is currently employed with State of Kansas, Department for Children and Families.

Francis S. Hastings, s'87, s'87, recently moved to Arizona as his wife accepted a position as an occupational therapist at Valley View Medical Center. They moved from Fleming Island, Florida, where they lived for seven years after leaving Kansas. Francis worked for Florida Mentors for a period of time before his health prevented him from doing the work he loved and trained for. His wife and him are getting to celebrate thier 10th anniversary in July, and his 20th anniversary of his liver transplant end of March.

Helen Kershaw, s'86, is enjoying retirement years living half year in Texas and other half in the mountains of North Carolina. Even though she retired, her social work classes and work experiences continue to be useful in both her life and the lives' of her friends.

Lemuel E. Kimes, s'85, principal at Kimes and Associates in Kansas City, Missouri. Kimes & Associates provides several services to assist in the areas of business consulting, individual coaching, and group or staff training.

Fred M. Kouri, s'86, is licensed as a MHA, MSW, LMSW, LCSW, CNP and currently employed with Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City.

Jacob Marshall, s’16, is a sign-language interpreter for Kansas City Public Schools. He lives in Prairie Village.

Rose McClanahan Schmidt, s'70, s'77, is retired.

Cynthia A. O'Connell, s'98, is retired, but planning on having a small private practice this year in Manhattan, Kansas, that specializes in trauma recovery and addiction recovery.

Cheri L. Pfanenstiel, s'92, is retiring after 34 years of service to the social work profession. The last 26 with the Manhattan/Ogden school district as an elementary school social worker.

Eric Sader, s'13, is currently employed with the City of Bloomington in Indiana.

Tara Scarce, s'10, is currently employed with USD417.

Avis Smith, s'84, is currently employed with the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare as a lecturer at the Edwards Campus.

Catelyn Smith, s'13, s'14, is currently employed at the State of Kansas Department for Children and Families.

Leslie Traylor, s'15, is currently employed with Immanuel Lutheran Church and University Student Center.

Susan Tusher, s'92, s'94, is currently employed with the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Wichita/Midwest AIDS Training and Education Center.

Mary Webb Murphy, s'80, s'82, is currently employed with Kingswood, a not-for-profit Life Plan Community in the heart of in Kansas City.

Sheri Pierce Williams, s’74, is the DCF East Region Supervisor for Foster Care and Residential Licensing Division. Her two children, Danny Williams and Katie Williams McGee are KU graduates. She has been married to husband Gary Williams for 42 years.

Adele Falk, s’14,after graduation, she passed her LMSW exam and went to work for Skills to Succeed, an organization that serves adults with autism in Olathe, Kansas. Then she went on to secure employment as an Outreach Advocate for the Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center (WASAC) in Wichita, Kansas.

Yehoshua M. Othniel, s’07, Yehoshua, a.k.a. "Josh" Othniel, returned to the seminary and earned his Doctorate in Ministry in the spring of 2015 fulfilling a life long dream and giving his late mother bragging rights in Paradise. Now she can say "My son the doctor!" Yehoshua is employed full-time as a Renal Social Worker with two dialysis centers, Independence and Parsons, Kansas where he was recently promoted to Social Worker II. Prior to enrolling at KU, Yehoshua was an ordained Rabbi. In 2017, he became  a volunteer Police Chaplain for the Independence Police Department; their first non-Christian chaplain. Yehoshua is the current Vice President of the National Association of Social Workers, Kansas Chapter and a volunteer board member on four additional boards of directors. After a two year clinical internship with Care Counseling, Inc. of Parsons, Kansas, Yehoshua has been specializing in "Faith-based Therapy Services," which combines the early roots of social work with evidence based practices in the service of families and individuals.

Victoria Sander, s’17, currently working on clinical licensure; working in a private practice, Mindful Matters providing therapy and Brookdale Home Health assisting elderly clients in accessing community resources to help them be successful and maintain independence for as long as possible.

Michelle R. Shaheen, s’80, s’85, Clinical Manager: Social Work, Chaplain and Bereavement Services at Harry Hynes Memorial Hospice in Wichita, Kansas. 

Kathryn Anderson Orr, s¹12, joined McCallum Place as a community liaison and outreach representative, working to support and educate community clinicians, school personnel and medical providers about eating disorders and resources for treatment.

James Edward Hafner, s¹87, has maintained a career for the past 30 years in nephrology social work. He has been a long-standing member of the Council of Nephrology Social Workers having leadership roles in both the local chapter and on the national level. He recently decided to retire at the end of March 2018.

Timothy Hornik, s¹10, is one of the eight KU students to receive a Wounded Warrior Scholarship for the 2017-18 academic year. Timothy Hornik is the recipient of the Bill and Shanthi Eckert WWS at KU. Hornik is a native of Chicago, a retired U.S. Army captain and the CEO of Blind Not Alone LLC.  In 2004, while serving in Iraq as an Air Defense Artillery platoon leader, he was shot in the head and consequently blinded. Despite his injuries, Hornik obtained a master¹s degree in social work from KU in 2010 and is currently pursuing a doctorate in therapeutic science at the KU Medical Center. He plans to use his degree, along with his considerable social work case management experience, to assist and advocate for disabled veterans. Hornik, his wife, Cate, and their two daughters live in Lawrence.

Claire Jones, s¹15, received her LCSW in Missouri and is working in private practice.  Clientele is often from foster and adoptive resources where children have been impacted by trauma.

Krista Kastler, s¹10, is currently a Child and Family Therapist at The Children's Place, where she specializes in addressing issues related to complex trauma, attachment, and the difficult behavioral struggles that often accompany those areas. She is also an EMDRIA Approved Consultant and assist with EMDR trainings across the region.  

Lemuel E. Kimes, s¹85, currently works at Kimes & Associates.

Jacob Marshall, s¹16, is currently working in the Kansas City Public Schools.

Mary Webb Murphy, s¹80, s¹82, is currently working at Kingswood.

Cheryl Karczewski Rathbun, s¹87, was promoted to chief clinical officer at Saint Francis Community Services in Salina, where she has worked for the past 39 years.

Harry Satariano, s¹77, has a private practice in Overland Park. After the past five years providing clinical services in rural communities, Harry has re-established private practice in Overland Park, KS. specializing in family and group psychotherapies.

Kim White, s¹05, earned the 2016 West Virginia Social Worker of the Year, presented by the National Association of Social Work, West Virginia Chapter. She completed her doctorate in education last year, and started teaching in social work in Marshall University¹s new master¹s program in the fall of 2016. Kim also is a member of the board for Mental Health Matters, a grassroots group fighting for expanded mental health access, and Create Huntington, the grassroots group of people in the city sharing ideas and working toward positive changes.

Ashley Williamson, s¹17, after graduating Ashley was hired at Women's Employment Network, her practicum site, as the Community Engagement Coordinator. At WEN she has revamped and re-energized the volunteer program and the alumnae association. She also manages a program helped develop with WEN staff called WEN on the Road, an initiative that brings client-favorite workforce and financial workshops directly into the community. Williamson was recently selected to the steering committee for Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Nonprofit Connect and as a protégé in the C. Stephen Metzler Mentor program of the Mid-America Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

Image of Sharon Brown, Johnson County Department of Corrections, KU MSW

Sharon Brown, Johnson County Department of Corrections, KU M.S.W.

Gravitated towards corrections as she felt there was a strong need for social workers in this setting.

Image of Annie Olsen-Meehan, Ewing Marion Kauffman School, KU MSW

Annie Olsen-Meehan, Ewing Marion Kauffman School, KU M.S.W.

Annie remembers sitting in a social work class at KU and deciding this is what I want to do. It wasn't just about helping people, but it was also appealing to her that she would have multiple career paths or avenues after graduation.

Image of John Sergent, Amulatory Social Worker, Mercy Hospital and KU BSW and MSW alumnus

John Sergent, Ambulatory Social Worker, Mercy Hospital, KU B.S.W. and M.S.W.

I choose Social Work because it gave me an opportunity to understand the hardships of my past much better and change the trajectory of my future. Social Work is one of the most universally recognized professions in the delivery of both national and international social service programs.

Michelle Levy, Research Associate, KU School of Social Welfare, KU B.S.W.

The social worker that I met that day helped my family navigate through those challenging times. I am forever grateful for her support and for introducing me to the profession of social work.

Kellie Henderson, 2014 M.S.W.

Kellie was one of twenty students who began KU master’s classes the summer of 2013 with the launch of KU’s new western Kansas-based M.S.W.

Molly Tye, 2006 B.S.W.

Molly’s interest in social work began with a desire to mentor youth in the inner city. She was able to sharpen her skills during her practicum at an inner city school district.

Venida Chenault, 1986 B.S.W., 1990 M.S.W.

In December 2004, Chenault was named Haskell’s vice president of academic affairs, which gave her administrative oversight of a $3-$4 million budget and supervisory responsibility for all academic programs, budgets, faculty and staff within the Division of Academic Affairs.

Laura Moriarty

Laura Moriarty, 1993 B.S.W.

Instead of writing down her own thoughts, she decided to write the stories from the perspectives of the patients.

Sam Finke

Sam Finke, 2004 M.S.W.

Sam Finke graduated from the B.S.W. program in 2003 and the M.S.W. program in 2004.

Joel Karman

Joel Karman, 1996 M.S.W.

Currently, Karman is the associate hospital director at the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System where he manages 35 departments and roughly 400 employees.

Paul Gutierrez

Paul Gutierrez, 2009 M.S.W.

Since graduating, Gutierrez has worked in direct therapy and counseling at the Mattie Rhodes Center in Kansas City.

Adele Falk

Adele Falk, M.S.W. student

Read about Adele Falk’s decision to choose the Master of Social Work (MSW) program at the University of Kansas.

Felicia Mitchell

Felicia Mitchell, Ph.D. student

Read Felicia Mitchell’s journey from KU undergrad to working on her Ph.D. in Social Work from the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare.

Margaret Lloyd

Margaret Lloyd, Ph.D. student

Read about Margaret Lloyd’s mentoring relationship with Jody Brook and how it impacted her time here as a Ph.D. student at University of Kansas School of Social Welfare.

In Memory

Jan Jess, s'82 and KU School of Social Welfare retiree, passed away on Nov. 9, 2019 at Presbyterian Manor in Lawrence at the age of 81. Read the full obituary in the Lawrence Journal World  here. You can also read more about Jan who was featured in the Lawrence Presbyterian Manor Community Matters March 2018 edition

Excerpts from an obituary written Jan's daughter Jill Jess Phythyon:

Jan Jess, social justice warrior, basketball fanatic and devoted grandmother.

Janet Kay Hurt was born on Jan. 21, 1938, in Spencer, Iowa, to Eleanor and Owen Hurt and grew up in northwest Iowa. She attended high school in Rock Rapids, which – to her dismay – did not have basketball for girls. She petitioned the school board to establish a team; they played half-court ball in satin skorts.
She met her husband, Paul, when he returned from the Korean War -- her family had moved in next door to the Jess family home. They married June 1, 1956, and she joined him in Iowa City while he studied for his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He preceded her in death on Oct. 22, 2015. She worked in the University of Iowa secretarial pool and earned extra money typing theses and dissertations.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from South Dakota State University in 1970 and was politically active throughout much of her life. She was instrumental in the McGovern campaign in Ann Arbor, Mich., in 1972 and volunteered as a poll worker for many years in Lawrence.
Upon moving to Kansas in 1976, she took a job in the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare as an administrative associate and completed her master’s of social work in 1982. She was named Outstanding Nontraditional Woman Student.
Her first social work position was with the then-new hospice program of the Visiting Nurses Association of Douglas County. VNA Hospice was important in the end-of-life care of both Paul and Jan.
She returned to the School of Social Welfare as the assistant director of field practicum, retiring in 2003 after 20 years in the position. In that time, she helped place more than 6,000 students in the workforce.

As her final gift to higher education, she donated her body to the University of Kansas Medical Center.

Herman Leon, 89, our beloved father, and long-time Lawrence resident, passed away on August 26, in Kansas City. Herman was born May 10, 1930 in Brooklyn, NY. His father, David Leon, immigrated from Jerusalem, Palestine and his mother, Betty Leon, immigrated from Odessa, Ukraine. In 1971, he joined the faculty of the School of Social Work at KU to establish a graduate social work program that exists to this day. Herman taught Social Work and Human Behavior at KU for many years and was a Hope Award Finalist for Outstanding Progressive Educator. He retired as Professor Emeritus in 1998 after teaching for 25 years at KU. Read full obituary here.

Dr. Arthur Katz, former dean of the KU School of Social Welfare from 1968 to 1974 and acting dean from 1976 to 1977, has passed away at the age of 95. Dr. Katz was the founding dean of the School of Social Welfare at the University of Kansas. Prior to his arrival, the social work degree was housed as a department in the College of Liberal Arts and Science and offices were located in Blake Hall. According to the book “Transitions - The Emergence, Growth, and Development of the School of Social Welfare” by Shirley Patterson and Ben Zimmerman as editors, “Dr. Katz made it clear that it was his expectation that there would be support for autonomous school status for the Social Work Department.” And within his first year of his tenure, he was able to make this true. He decided to call us the School of Social Welfare instead of the School of Social Work, since he felt social welfare was a broader term and designated policy and social reform implications instead of the narrower term of social work. With the School status, he was momentous in securing Twente Hall and Watkins Home as the two buildings to house the School on campus. After his tenure at KU, he later became executive director of the Council on Social Work Education and retired from faculty in 1986.

Erin Langhofer, 25, died on Friday, August 2nd, in Kansas City, MO. She was attending a First Friday event in the Crossroads District with her boyfriend, the love of her life, Thomas LeManske, and other friends, when she was struck and killed by a stray bullet. Erin graduated from Blue Valley Northwest High School in 2012 and from the University of Kansas in 2016 with a BS and an MS in 2017. As an undergrad, Erin received the Margo Award, the top prize in the School of Social Welfare. Erin was a counselor and therapist at Rose Brooks Center and helped domestic violence survivors. Honoring her giving nature, Erin had registered as an organ donor; her decision will give new life to at least 50 people. Read the full obituary here.

Edith Black died on June 30, 2019 in her home in Lawrence. Born in Lawrence on Bastille Day 1928, Edith was the daughter of William Edwin Elam and Edith Mae Tobler. She graduated from Lawrence Liberty Memorial High School (1946), the University of Kansas (1950) and earned a Master's in Public Administration from KU (1974). Edith worked at the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare from 1970-1995. Read the full obituary here.

Sandra Sue Johnson, Muskogee resident, passed from this life on Thursday, April 25, 2019 at her home. She was 69 years of age. Born June 10, 1949 in Norton, KS she was the daughter of Kenneth Bilben Johnson and Dorothy M. Jewett Johnson. She grew up in Topeka and attended school there. Sandi earned her master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Kansas. She worked as a social worker for several years and was a tremendous advocate for women’s services. She was married to Don Johnson on May 31, 1990 in Topeka, KS. Following their retirement they moved first to Norman, OK and later to Muskogee to be closer to family. Read more. 

Dianne Lynn (Zoglo) Schwartz was born August 26, 1948, in Denver, Colorado, the daughter of Raymond and Ruth Zoglo. Dianne died peacefully at her home in Lawrence on Monday, March 25, surrounded by her family. Dianne finished a second Master's degree, in Social Work, from the University of Kansas. She finished her career in a role she sincerely cherished, as a counselor at Hillcrest Elementary School. In retirement Dianne served in a variety of community roles, working with voting/election processes and later coordinating art exhibits at Ten Thousand Villages on Mass Street. Read the full obituary here.

Dr. David Hardcastle, interim dean from 1974-75 and dean of the KU School of Social Welfare from 1977 to 1982, passed away at the end of January 2019. As Dr. Hardcastle reflects on his tenure as dean in the book, “Transitions - The Emergence, Growth, and Development of the School of Social Welfare” by Shirley Patterson and Ben Zimmerman as editors, "The goals I had for the School during my tenure were academic development and improvement of its research and scholarship, to achieve a synthesis growth, change and stability, and to enhance its position on campus as an integral part of the University. My personal objectives as dean were to be equitable, fair, consistent and even predictable with the various constituencies of the School. While not totally successful, I believe the School demonstrated prodigious accomplishments and growth during the era in fulfilling its general mission. This was an era characterized by declining federal funding, a reduced applicant pool nationally, a transition in CSWE accreditation standards. However, during this era the School maintained its position as one of the top units on campus in extramural funding per faculty, kept its enrollment constant with qualified students except by planned decline, and achieved full accreditation of its masters and baccalaureate programs." Read an obituary written by Cynthia Bisman, PhD, MSW, Professor Emeritus, Bryn Mawr College School of Social Work and Social Research here.  

JR Majors, 93, formerly of Overland Park, Kansas, passed away at his home in Edina, Minnesota, on January 18, 2019, after a brief illness. He is survived by his wife, Ruth, of 68 years, and daughters Janis Majors Howard (Eliot) of Edina, Minnesota, and Karen Majors Bogle (Grant) of Boston, Massachusetts. He also leaves six grandchildren and two grea-grandchildren. JR was born in Roff, Oklahoma, and moved to Winfield, Kansas, as a teenager. He served in the United States Navy during World War II. Following the war, JR graduated from the University of Kansas with a Master's Degree in Social Work. JR worked at Family and Children Services of Kansas City, Inc. and served as its Executive Director for 25 years. He was the first recipient of the KU School of Social Welfare Alumni of the Year award. In addition to his service with the KU School of Social Welfare Professional Advisory Council, JR served on many community boards including the National Association of Social Workers, the Child Welfare League of America and the Kansas Children's Service League. He served on the board of Marriage Foundations, Inc. and as a trustee of the UMKC Starr Education Funding Committee. JR was a Life Elder of the Prairie Village Presbyterian Church and a 36-year member of the Kiwanis Club of Kansas City. A service celebrating his life will be held on February 9th at 11 am at Linden Hills United Church of Christ at 4200 Upton Avenue South in Minneapolis, MN (55410). The family suggests memorials in JR's name to the KU School of Social Welfare Dean's Opportunity Fund. Donations can be sent to the KU Endowment, PO Box 928, Lawrence, KS 66044 or online herePublished in Kansas City Star on Jan. 27, 2019. Picture taken at going away party in 2015 when JR moved to Minnesota to be closer to family.

Dr. Andrew Edward Zinn died suddenly and unexpectedly at his home in Lawrence, KS, on December 28, 2018. Andy earned his PhD in Social Welfare from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and worked for many years as a Senior Researcher at the Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago. In 2012, Andy and his family moved to Lawrence, KS, where Andy joined the faculty of the School of Social Welfare at the University of Kansas. He earned tenure this past year, and was made an Associate Professor of Social Welfare and PhD Director.  As a colleague described, Andy was “an intellectual powerhouse, a tireless child welfare advocate, a great ‘all hands on deck’ colleague, and a good friend.” Read the full obituary here.

Shirley L. Patterson, Ph.D. (former faculty at KU School of Social Welfare), age 84, beloved social work professor, teacher, and mentor, community organizer, activist, photographer, writer, and story teller in the tradition of her West Texas roots, was a force among us. Born July 22, 1933 in Rankin, TX, she passed away April 10, 2018 under the loving care of the Palliative Care team at Rust Medical Center, Albuquerque. Small excerpt from Shirley's Story by Susan Cho written for the Gathering to Remember and Celebrate Shirley L. Patterson, Ph.D., at La Vida Llena on April 18, 2918, "Shirley was an incredible teacher. She stated her beliefs, opinions and facts pretty clearly on most things - 'like it or not.' From the time in 1953 when she sat in the 'Blacks Only' section of the train returning her from a summer work experience at Back Bay Mission, Biloxi, MS, to when she, as a member of the Albuquerque NOW chapter, picketed Hobby Lobby for their policy to exclude birth control as a covered expense in their employee health insurance plan. Shirley spoke and acted on her convictions. As she aged she let everyone know that she was not goign to let anyone ignore her, dismiss her as 'just and old lady' or undervalue her abilities or accomplishments. She was a force." Read the posted in the Albuquerque Journal full obituary

Margaret S. Gordon died on October 3, 2016 at Aberdeen Heights in Kirkwood, Missouri. Margaret Schutz Gordon made lasting contributions to the KU School of Social Welfare during her career as well as post-retirement.. She was the Director of the Field Education Office from 1970-83. Following her retirement, she sponsored an annual lecture for field instructors, liaisons, and professional colleagues. The "Margo" lecture brought many notable social work scholars to  campus, including Brene Brown, author of "Daring Greatly," Gary Bailey, MSW, ACSW, Professor of Practice at Simmons College School of Social Work and at the Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences, and many others. Said Alice Lieberman, Chancellor's Club Professor of Teaching at the School, "Margo's generous contribution to the School, in the form of ongoing funding for the Margo Lecture, has enabled the School to offer the community opportunities for continuing professional education to all. The lecture has now become a grand tradition, an occasion for social workers across the state to gather and to celebrate our accomplishments. This School leads the state and the region in the development of a great social work workforce, and contributions like Margo's are the reason we are able to continue to do so." Professor Gordon was also active in the community and recognized as a Distinguished Alumna by the George Warren Brown School of Social Work, and as an outstanding faculty member here at the KUSSW. Margaret was a cherished member of our community whose career and interests span the rich history of our School. We send condolences to her family, who have requested that memorials in her honor be directed to the Douglas County Senior Service, the First Methodist Church, Lawrence, Kansas or the charity of your choice. Read the full obituary here

Kay Lynne Myers passed on Monday, July 25, 2016. Kay Lynne was the coordinator of the School's MSW program at the Edwards Campus from 1996 until her retirement in 2011. Additionally, she pioneered our continuing education program which supported countless alum and other social work professionals. Kay Lynne Myers came to the school of social welfare with a broad range of both volunteer and professional service that allowed her to hit the ground running as the school’s director of social work programming at the Edwards campus and director of professional and community education. She demonstrated exceptional skills in dealing with students, faculty and members of the social work community in the metropolitan area. She supported hundreds of our MSW students, our faculty and staff during this period. She was a central figure in the school’s early attempts to move beyond alumni donations to garner support from the Kansas City area. She provided the school's dean, Ann Weick, with opportunities to tell the school story in order to secure funding. She was an excellent staff member who supported the work of others and made significant contributions to the various school committee's and task forces on which she served. Without a doubt, she was the face of our program in KC during this era. Prior to her work at KU, she had an extensive practice career in KC starting with the VNA in 1980. Her career was marked by her commitment to get things done - her tenacity in the face of obstacles - her boundless sense of hopefulness about getting things done - and her compassion for social works client base. Read the full obituary here

The University of Kansas community is mourning the death of Toni Johnson, associate professor of social welfare, who died Jan. 7, 2016, in Austin, Texas. She was 59. Johnson, whose area of study was children’s mental health, began her career at KU in 2005 as an assistant professor. She was a lead investigator from 2009-10 and became an associate professor in 2012. She received her master’s and doctorate in social work from the University of Texas-Austin and a bachelor’s degree in sociology and psychology from Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma. She also had worked as a therapist, trainer and program coordinator for disadvantaged individuals and families. Read the full KU news release here

Dennis Saleebey, professor emeritus from the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare, died July 16, 2014. In 1987, Dennis had the opportunity to take a position as professor at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas. Dennis remained at KU from 1987 until his retirement in 2006. During his tenure, he acted as the Chair of the Doctoral Program (until 1997) and from his retirement to his death held the position of Professor Emeritus. It was at KU that the seeds of his lifelong commitment to community organizing and his belief in the inherent resilience and capacity of individuals took root. His early works addressing such topics as oppression in female populations, the ability of adolescents to engineer and initiate change, empowerment for clients and the construction of meaning and knowledge coalesced and fed his work as one of the creators of the Strengths Perspective. The Strengths Perspective, which upends traditional medical models of intervention and focuses instead on strengths and capacities and their ability to leverage change, transformed the practice of social work both at KU and across the national, and international, landscape. While on this academic journey, Dennis met and married Ann Weick, former Dean of the KU School of Social Welfare, who became his partner in academia, life and a mother to his adult children. Although he lost both Ann and Bette, Dennis remarked that he was an undeniably lucky man – to have had two great, enduring loves. But, that was Dennis. Ever grateful, ever hopeful. Ever searching for possibilities. Read the full obituary here. Read the KU news release here.

Born in Portland Oregon on March 3, 1941 to loving parents Thomas Ferdin and and Cecilia Rose Weick, Ann Weick had a self-described 1950's childhood, happily ensconced in a close knit family with her older brother Jerry and her younger sisters Carolyn and Jeanie. A devoted daughter, sister, sister-in-law and aunt to Sarah and Cathy, Ann's commitment to her family, and theirs to her, was unwavering. Throughout her life, she was the kind confidante, quiet leader and strong supporter for her siblings, their families, and an ever growing community of friends and colleagues. We are saddened by Ann's passing on May 31, 2014. But, we, her family, friends and colleagues are grateful to have been a part of her life. Shortly after obtaining her Ph.D., Ann accepted a teaching position at the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare in Lawrence, Kansas. While at KU, Ann taught a master's level course in social policy as well as an undergraduate course in social welfare. Her continued professional and personal interest in the unique challenges confronting women led her to develop the first class in women's issues at the School. In 1981, Ann became the Director of the Doctoral Program. In 1987, Ann became Acting Dean of the School of Social Welfare, and in 1988 she accepted the position of Dean, which she held until her retirement in 2006. After her retirement, Ann held the position of Dean Emerita. Read the full obituary here. Read the KU news release here

Aimee Elizabeth Ziegler, 40, died on April 2, 2012. She was born on November 11, 1971 in St. Louis, MO the daughter of David Robert and Kathleen Mary (Cullen) Ziegler. Aimee graduated with a Bachelors from the University of Missouri, Columbia and later graduated from the University of Kansas with her Masters in Social Work. Aimee helped start the WRAP program through a partnership between Bert Nash and the Lawrence School District. Read the full obituary here.

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