Commencement Awards

Mandel School Student & Faculty Commencement Awards

Graduate students clapping as other students pass by

Nominations are held every spring to recognize outstanding Mandel School faculty members and graduating students for their exceptional achievements in the classroom and community.

These awards are presented during the Mandel School's diploma ceremony every May. 

Note: All awards are not given every year.

Student Awards

Mandel School Diploma Ceremony Student Speaker

Nominate one of your classmates to speak as a representative of the current class at the Mandel School's diploma ceremony.

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.

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.

Faculty Awards

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 social work profession. These individuals work 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.

Outstanding Practicum Organization Award

The Outstanding Practicum Organization Award recognizes one organization that has invested in the growth and development of Mandel School social work students and recognizes the importance of helping students integrate the classroom and practicum learning. Organizations nominated for this award provide a variety of progressively-advancing learning opportunities to continuously support student learning and professional development.

John A. Yankey Outstanding Teacher Awards

The Outstanding Teacher Awards (full-time, part-time/adjunct, and MNO) honor Professor Emeritus John A. Yankey, who was nominated a record number of times as "Outstanding Teacher" in both the MSW 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.

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.

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.

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 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.

School of Graduate Studies Awards

Each spring, faculty and staff are encouraged to nominate students from their department for awards offered through the School of Graduate Studies.

The Graduate Studies awards, including the winners of the John S. Diekhoff Awards for Faculty Teaching and Mentoring, are presented at the annual School of Graduate Studies Awards Ceremony each May.

Arol Schack Dissertation Award for Outstanding Social Welfare Doctoral Student

The PhD in Social Welfare doctoral program's Arol Shack Dissertation Award for Outstanding Social Welfare Doctoral Student was established through donations from friends and alumni of the program along with a matching gift from Gigi Nordquist. The fund honors the many years of work and dedication that Arol Shack devoted to the doctoral program, its students and faculty members as the department assistant.

One to two awards are given each year depending on funds and the number of applications received. Funds are used to support the student’s work on his/her dissertation research. The expectation is that the work funded through this award will be completed by the end of the one-year grant award period. Full-time and part-time students who have an approved prospectus, a dissertation chair and have passed the Qualifying Exam, are eligible to apply. Any dissertation topic is accepted.

A faculty committee reviews the applications for the dissertation award and makes recommendations to the chair of the doctoral program based on the merits of the proposals and the financial needs of the applicant. Formal recognition of the award occurs at the Graduate Student Awards Ceremony each spring.

Marie Haug Award

The Marie Haug Award is presented annually to a graduate student who has shown exemplary performance in their gerontological studies. The award was established in 1990 to honor Dr. Haug’s pioneering work in aging at Case Western Reserve University. An internationally-renowned expert in gerontology, Haug was a preeminent scholar in CWRU's sociology department and co-founder of the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing's University Center on Aging and Health in 1978.