Wilma Peebles-Wilkins (SAS '71) a guest on "Change Leaders" podcast

Wilma Peebles-Wilkins headshot

Alumna Wilma Peebles-Wilkins was a recent guest on an episode of the Mandel School's Change Leaders podcast.

Born in Raleigh, North Carolina, in 1945, Wilma Peebles-Wilkins graduated from North Carolina State University in 1967 with a bachelor's degree in sociology and a minor in social work. She earned a Master of Science in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University in 1971, followed by a doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a former scholar of the John Hope Franklin Center at Duke University and dean emeritus of Boston University, where she was the first African American female academic dean, serving for twelve years at the School of Social Work.

Peebles-Wilkins has written and published extensively on the history of Black professionals in American social welfare. Among her publications are "Janie Porter Barrett and the Virginia Industrial School for Colored Girls: Community Response to the Needs of African American Children” in the Child Welfare Journal, published by the Child Welfare League of America in 1995, as well as 21 biographical essays on African Americans in the National Association of Social Workers' (NASW) Encyclopedia of Social Work. Notably, her dedication to the former CWRU Mental Development Center and her efforts with the Council for Social Work Education Accreditation Commission were pivotal.

With more than 40 years of experience as a social work practitioner, administrator and educator, Peebles-Wilkins received the annual award for Greatest Contribution to Social Work Education from the NASW-Massachusetts chapter, among many other achievements. In 2005, she was inducted as an NASW Social Work Pioneer, and in 2019, she was honored as a Case Western Reserve Trailblazer.

She has been a stalwart philanthropic partner at the Mandel School for over forty years, providing critical annual support, helping to enhance the Student Emergency Fund, and contributing to scholarships. Often considering her greatest professional achievement to be her mentorship of others, she wanted to provide scholarship support for a student in Cuyahoga County interested in foster care social work. In March 2023, she created the Wilma Peebles-Wilkins Endowed Scholarship for Infant and Young Child Well-Being.

Listen to the episode