Commencement Awards

Student and Faculty Commencement Awards

Nominations are held every spring to recognize outstanding Mandel School faculty members and graduating students for their exceptional achievements in the classroom and community. All awards are not given every year.

Irene Sogg Gross Award

The Irene Sogg Gross Award was established by Milton Gross to honor the memory of his wife, Irene Sogg, a 1940 Mandel School graduate. The award is presented to a member of the graduating class, chosen by their peers, in recognition of outstanding interest and accomplishments in the areas of humanitarian service.

Sylvia and John A. Yankey Community Service Award

The Sylvia and John A. Yankey Community Service Award is presented to a graduate who has actively engaged as a volunteer in one or more successful community service activities or projects while a student at the Mandel School. The spirit of the award is to recognize a student who exemplifies Professor Emeritus John A. Yankey's dedication to community service and his desire to strengthen the nonprofit sector. The award brings public attention to the extensive commitment of students to the nonprofit sector, and provides an opportunity to highlight both the student's involvement and the nonprofit organization.

Norma C. and Albert I. Geller Student Award

The Norma C. and Albert I. Geller Student Award is awarded to a Mandel School student who has done significant work in child abuse prevention. The nominee can be a student who graduated in the August, January or May terms.

Arol Schack Dissertation Award for Outstanding Social Welfare Doctoral Student

The Arol Schack Dissertation Award for Outstanding Social Welfare Doctoral Student is awarded to a doctoral candidate who has an approved prospectus.

Dean's Award for Outstanding Student Achievement

The Mandel School Dean's Award for Outstanding Student Achievement is 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

The Outstanding Field Instructor Award recognizes one individual for their incredible work, as well as their commitment to students and to the future of the profession. Field instructors are the social workers in the agencies who work without extra pay to help students apply classroom theory to the realities of today's service delivery challenges, develop their professional skills, and grow their identities as professional social workers.

John A. Yankey Outstanding Teacher Awards

The Outstanding Teacher Awards honor Professor Emeritus 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 students. Each award is a testimony to the tremendous talent and commitment of our faculty members.

  • John A. Yankey Outstanding Teacher Award for Adjunct Teaching

  • John A. Yankey Outstanding Teacher Award for Full-Time Teaching

  • John A. Yankey Outstanding Teacher Award for the MNO Program

Dean’s Discretionary Awards

The Dean's Discretionary Awards are not issued every year—only when there is a clear individual who shines and embodies the criteria of each of the respective awards.

Distinguished Service Award

The Distinguished Service Award is presented to a social worker for outstanding contributions to the social work profession, the community and the Mandel School.

Grace Longwell Coyle Award

The Grace Longwell Coyle Award honors one of the finest educators in social work history. It is given to a person who embodies the spirit, commitment and innovation shown by Grace Longwell Coyle, whose work in the YWCA provided her with a platform for her exploration of group work. As a result of her scholarly pursuits and sincere dedication, Grace Coyle not only created a discipline, but positioned the Mandel School as the nation’s leading resource in group work theory.

Herman D. Stein Distinguished Social Work Educator Award

The Herman D. Stein Distinguished Social Work Educator Award is an exceptional award given only when a body of work is deemed significant and a recognized contribution to social work education and the profession, as evidenced by scholarly pursuits, leadership and academic excellence. The award honors Herman D. Stein, Dean Emeritus of the Mandel School, for his life’s work, extraordinary body of knowledge, and commitment to social welfare both in the U.S. and abroad—he was a social work luminary whose work changed the face of international social welfare.

Advocate for Human Rights Award

The Advocate for Human Rights Award is given to a recipient who has made significant contributions to the social work profession as an education innovator, role model and creator of opportunities for others.

Advocate for Social Justice and Leadership Development Award

The Advocate for Social Justice and Leadership Development Award is the Mandel School's highest honor, given to a recipient for their many significant contributions to promoting social justice, empowering communities, shaping public policy, informing social change and transforming lives.


Conferring of Awards

Student and faculty commencement awards are presented during the Mandel School's Diploma Ceremony in May each year.