Toasting Social Welfare’s Diamond Anniversary Alumni, faculty, students and friends gather to celebrate 75 years of advancing justice
The UCLA Luskin Social Welfare family came together May 6 for an evening of festivity and reflection to celebrate a memorable milestone: 75 years since the study of social work began at UCLA in 1947.
Alumni, faculty, staff and friends from across the decades joined current students at the gala event at the UCLA Luskin Conference Center, the culmination of a yearlong lineup of special events in honor of the anniversary:
- A fall gathering of Social Welfare PhD students and doctoral alumni highlighted the research and scholarship aimed at advancing justice in both society and academia.
- A reception in winter quarter honored the many community groups and agencies that have guided Social Welfare students in field placements over the decades.
- And a special UCLA Luskin Lecture by Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell put a spotlight on the alleviation of poverty, a key focus of the social welfare discipline.
The importance of field education was underscored at the spring gala with the presentation of the 2023 Joseph A. Nunn Social Welfare Alumnus of the Year award to Gerardo Laviña MSW ’86. Laviña, the longtime director of field education, is retiring at the end of the academic year. His award was presented by field faculty Larthia Dunham and Laura Alongi MSW ’92.
Adjunct Professor Jorja Leap MSW ’80 emceed the gala, which included a welcome from UCLA Luskin’s interim dean, Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, as well as perspectives shared by Laura Abrams, chair of Social Welfare; Rosina Becerra, professor emerita and former dean; current MSW student Elisse Howard; and alumni Stephen Cheung MSW ’07 and Diane Terry MSW ’04 PhD ’12. Adjunct Assistant Professor Khush Cooper MSW ’00 PhD ’10 raised a champagne toast to end the formal program and invite guests to the dance floor.
Read about 75 years of social welfare education at UCLA, including an account of the program’s “finest moment” during the Los Angeles riots.
Read profiles of key figures in UCLA Social Welfare’s history:
- Rosina Becerra, former dean and professor emerita
- Jack Rothman, professor emeritus
- Joe Nunn, professor emeritus
- Gerry Laviña, director of field education
- Coming soon: Fernando Torres-Gil, retiring professor of social welfare and public policy
Watch a video celebrating the importance of field education at UCLA
View photos from the gala on Flickr