Commencement 2020

Mortar Board hat with 2020 tassel dangling

The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University celebrated the graduation of its most recent social work and nonprofit management students virtually on Sunday, May 17, 2020.

Alumna Suzanne Elise Walsh, MSSA 1994, JD 1997, gave the Mandel School's diploma ceremony address, sharing her personal and professional journey to becoming the 19th president of Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina, a historically black, women’s-only private college. Walsh expressed her notion of "soul craft"—being involved with work that speaks to and is important to one's soul, or doing work that one loves. She told graduates that everything they do matters, and others will pay attention if they see they have soul in the game. Walsh closed with advising the 2020 graduates to listen to their souls, because their soul and the world are rooting for them. Watch her commencement address here.

Case Western Reserve bestowed upon Walsh an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa, and the Mandel School honored her with the Advocate for Human Rights Award.

Several members of the school were also recognized with awards commemorating exceptional achievements in the classroom and community.

  • Irene Sogg Gross Award: Lindsay Gopinath
    • Established by Mr. Milton Gross to honor the memory of his wife, Irene Sogg, a Mandel School graduate in the class of 1940. The award is given to a member of the graduating class, chosen by their peers, in recognition of outstanding interest and accomplishments in the areas of humanitarian service.
  • Dean's Award for Outstanding Student Achievement: Brittany Rabb
    • Presented to a graduate whom faculty feel exhibits academic achievement, exceptional service to the school, and exemplary performance in field education.
  • Outstanding Field Instructor Award: Larry Bresler
    • Each year, we have the opportunity to recognize one individual as an outstanding field instructor. Field instructors are the social workers in the agencies who work without extra pay to help students develop their professional skills, apply the classroom theory to the realities of today’s service delivery challenges, and develop their identities as professional social workers. They do it because they are committed to students and the future of the profession.
  • John A. Yankey Outstanding Teacher Award for Part-Time Teaching: Janus Small
  • John A. Yankey Outstanding Teacher Award for Full-Time Teaching: Dr. Kathleen J. Farkas & Dr. David B. Miller
    • Honoring Professor Emeritus Dr. John A. Yankey, who was nominated a record number of times as “Outstanding Teacher” in both the MSSA and MNO degree programs for his ability to enlighten, motivate and inspire. This award is a testimony to the tremendous talent and commitment of each one of our faculty members at the Mandel School. 
  • John A. Yankey Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award for the MNO Program: Dr. Jennifer Madden
    • Presented to an instructor who demonstrates dedication to the development of students in the Master of Nonprofit Organizations (MNO) program and their educational experience at the Mandel School.
  • Advocate for Human Rights Award: Suzanne E. Walsh
    • For significant contributions to the social work profession as an education innovator, role model and creator of opportunities for others.

Congratulations, all!