Social work gala honors students and alumni

On April 9, 2011, SIUE’s Department of Social Work hosted its 5th Annual Department of Social Work Scholarship Gala.

The event–designed to raise money for the Social Work Alumni and Friends Scholarship Fund–featured a social hour, cash bar, entertainment, silent auction, sit-down dinner, awards presentations, and keynote address by Gigi Dowling-Urban, director of the Williams Learning Center, East St. Louis School District 189.

Larry Kreuger, department chair and professor of social work, and wife Jan Kreuger chat with keynote speaker Gigi Dowling-Urban, director of the Williams Learning Center.

Dowling-Urban gave a presentation on the meaning of professional social work and “Social Work Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.”

Kellene Hamilton, instructor of social work, serves at the chair of the committee for the annual event. The committee is comprised of faculty members and community professionals from various areas social work practice.

“In November 2006, Dr. Venessa A. Brown, former Chair of the Department of Social Work, proposed an idea to the faculty for an annual Scholarship Gala to raise money for students seeking scholarship benefits for an education in professional social work leading to a bachelor’s and/or master’s degree in social work,” explained Hamilton.

The 5th Annual Department of Social Work Scholarship Gala was a success.

The first Annual Scholarship Gala was in March 2007. For this year’s event, there were 130 confirmed reservations and faculty and members of the community contributed around 22 items for the silent auction.

According to the gala committee, not only is the gala a fundraising event, it is also an opportunity for the Department of Social Work to pay tribute to one outstanding student in the undergraduate and graduate social work programs. The event also allows the department to honor social work alumni and persons making “outstanding contributions to the well-being of others in the community.”

Award Winners (L-R): Brigid Nalewajka, 2011 Alumni and Friends Scholarship Recipient; Tracy L. Mathias, Outstanding Graduate Student Award; Ruth Anne Scott, MSW, LCSW, Social Worker of the Year Award; William C. White, Jr., Outstanding Alumni Award; Jennifer E. Kremmel, Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award; and Kelly Gable, Pharm. D., BCPP, Humanitarian Award.

This year’s award winners were:

  • Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award: Jennifer E. Kremmel
  • Outstanding Graduate Student Award: Tracy L. Mathias
  • Outstanding Alumni Award: William C. White, Jr. MSW, LMSW, SAP
  • (BSW, 1995 and MSW 2002)
  • Social Worker of the Year Award: Ruth Anne Scott, MSW, LCSW
  • Outstanding Agency Award: Hospice of Southern Illinois
  • Humanitarian Award: Kelly Gable, Pharm. D., BCPP
  • 2011 Alumni and Friends Scholarship: Brigid Nalewajka

The 2011 gala was hosted by Steve Jankowski, director of alumni affairs for SIUE. Jankowski has served as the master of ceremonies for the scholarship gala every year since its inception.

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