With more than 7,800 alumni in all 50 states and 41 countries, our extensive alumni network is a force for positive social change throughout the world and right here at the Mandel School through their generous involvement and leadership.

The compassion and commitment of our alumni is essential to the advancement of our school and the lives our students – from their work on the Alumni Board (which works diligently to organize and participate in Career Nights, Commencement, and other student events) to the Campaign Committee (which is leading the fundraising for our Building Renovation Campaign) to alumni support of the Annual Fund (which is earmarked entirely for student scholarships).

Alumni in the News:

Announcing Our 2015 Alumni Award Winners

Oct 8 2015

The Mandel School Alumni Association is thrilled to honor and celebrate the following recipients of the 2015 Alumni Awards at Reunion on October 10, 2015:

K N George2015 Distinguished Alumnus Award: Karachepone Ninan George, MSSA 1959. This award is the highest honor bestowed by the Alumni Association and is being given to Professor George for his extraordinary professional success and achievements, including his passion for uplifting the rural poor, his instrumental role in raising the level of social work education in India, and his commitment to social welfare administration at the local, national, and international levels. A professor at the Madras School of Social Work in Chennai, India, and its former director for nearly 50 years, Professor George helped Madras School achieve an international reputation as a premier social work institution and to become one of the top social work schools in India. He was instrumental in founding many associations of professional social workers, including the Indian Council of Social Welfare (and currently holds its office of president), the SWISS India Trust (which funds many national-level nonprofit organizations in India and where he is currently a Managing Trustee), the Institute of Sustainable Development (a training and research organization that he chairs), and many more. He served as the Vice President of the International Association of Social Work Educators from 1986 to 1990 and was the founding secretary of the of the Asia Regional Association of Social Work Educators. Professor George is unable to attend Reunion, but his son and granddaughter will be there to accept the award on his behalf.

Bernard Smith2015 Professional Achievement Award: H Bernard Smith, MSSA 1954. The Alumni Association selected Bernard Smith for this prestigious award to recognize his solid commitment to social change and stellar leadership throughout his illustrious career to improve policy and programs for the mentally ill in Cuyahoga County and throughout the nation. He was instrumental in working with Ohio legislators and community to create the Community Mental Health Service Act. As the first Executive Director of the Cuyahoga County Community Mental Health Board, he pioneered the opening of four Community Mental Health Centers and worked to find funding for many other agencies. In 1979, he became the first national director of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) in Washington, D.C., and has published two books about the history of community mental health.

Danny Williams 2015 Nonprofit Leadership Award: Danny R. Williams, JD, MNO 2004. In honor of a career dedicated to leading and serving others, the Alumni Association selected Danny Williams, who has been Executive Director of The Free Medical Clinic of Greater Cleveland since 2006, for its highest nonprofit award. Before becoming a nonprofit leader in 1995 when he took the helm of the Cuyahoga County office of the American Cancer Society, Mr. Williams had a successful legal career, serving as Cleveland’s Law Director and a Cuyahoga County Administrator. He has consistently borrowed on his notions of justice to assist the underserved and promote quality of life for all.

Maya Simek 2015 Early Career Award: Maya M. Simek, MSSA 2007. For her solid commitment to social change in conjunction with excellent leadership skills and effective advocacy, Ms. Simek is being honored by the Alumni Association. Dedicated to cultivating equality and social justice, she is Director of Programming at the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland, where she has helped to bring over $700,000 in grant funding to the agency. She also holds a law degree, to utilize the combination of social work and the law as a platform to effect change. Prior to joining the LGBT Community Center, she founded a legal clinic at Nueva Luz Urban Resource Center. She also works at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law’s Community Advocacy Clinic.

Also at Reunion, the following Dean’s Award will also be presented:

Maria Thompson photo edited2015 Louis Stokes Community Service Leadership Award: Maria J. Thompson, MSSA 2005, Louis Stokes Fellow. This inaugural award is being presented by Dean Grover “Cleve” Gilmore to an alumna who embodies the socially-minded characteristics of the late beloved and honorable Congressman Louis Stokes and emulates his spirit in the community. Maria Thompson was selected for her leadership in community engagement, Mandel School volunteerism, and social justice advocacy. In addition to actively volunteering and serving on a wide variety of boards, she is the Community Reinvestment Act Officer and Manager of Community Development Services at Third Federal Bank. She previously held other bank management positions, including as Senior Advisor in the Community Affairs Office at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.

Building Community: Centennial Salon Series on September 16

Sep 8 2015

Neighborhood revitalizationAlumni, students and community revitalization professionals are invited to “Building Community for Neighborhood Revitalization,” an evening of conversation and networking with Assistant Professor Mark Chupp and hosted by Maria J. Thompson, MSSA, on Wednesday, September 16, at 5:30 p.m. at the Cleveland Restoration Society (Sarah Benedict House) at 3751 Prospect Avenue in Cleveland.

Heavy appetizers will be served. This event is sponsored by Third Federal Savings & Loan and is part of the Centennial Salon Series, which are informal and informative discussions bringing together alumni, faculty and friends.

To attend, please contact Marianne Lax by September 11 at Marianne.Lax@case.edu or 216.368.1832.

Centennial Speaker Series: “Serving Veterans: Research and Policy” on September 30

Sep 7 2015

veterans-bootsThe Centennial Speaker Series kicks off with the first Research & Training Colloquium of the 2015-2016 school year, Serving Veterans: Research and Policy, at 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, September 30, in room #115 of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Community Studies Center at 11402 Bellflower Road on the campus of Case Western Reserve University. There will be a reception following this free event.

Two CEUs are available ($10 alumni; $25 non-alumni).


Sponsored by the Mandel School’s Office of Research Administration and the Doctoral Program, this year’s Research & Training Colloquia are “Featuring Our Own,” spotlighting speakers from the school’s doctoral and master’s alumni. For “Serving Veterans: Research and Policy” on September 30, the topics and speakers are:

Mark ChapinResearch on Military Families and Deployment: Hero Stories and Horror Stories” presented by Mark Chapin, MSW, PhD 1995, LISW, BCD, who serves at the Team Leader at the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs’ Annapolis Vet Center, where he specializes in addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), marital/family therapy, mind-body medicine and community outreach. Dr. Chapin will address how for the last 14 years, families of military members have experienced deployment into the combat zones of Afghanistan and Iraq as a “normative crisis,” which most military families will experience at least once if not several times.  His presentation will discuss how McCubbin’s model of family resilience can be applied to research on the unique stressors and adaptations that families make during three phases of deployment. Dr. Chapin earned his PhD at the Mandel School and his MSW from the University of Maryland.

Lisa PapePolicy Perspectives on Serving Homeless Veterans” presented by Lisa M. Pape, MSSA 1990, LISW, who is the Executive Director of the VHA Homeless Programs Office for the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Ms. Pape’s focus is on operationalizing plans and approaches designed to most effectively meet the needs of the nation’s veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. She will address how the VA has made ending veteran homelessness a top priority and has undertaken an unprecedented campaign to dramatically increase successful outcomes for veterans and their families. She will also discuss the importance and influential impact that research has on the implementation of policies.

This event will be live streamed. If you’d like to attend via live stream, click the remote access option when registering and you will be provided a link as the date approaches. No CEUs are available for people who attend via live stream.

Mandel School students receive two professional development hours for attending (online students who watch via livestream can receive 2 PD hours by submitting a brief summary to their field adviser). On-campus students can also visit with the speakers at 1:00 p.m. prior the colloquia for “Advice From Mandel School Alumni,” an informal session in the Mandel Center Lounge.

Please be sure to explore our other Centennial Speaker Series events:

Addiction Recovery on November 4

Cultural Competency: Training and Program Evaluation on March 18

Aging Well: Research and Services on April 8

Workshop on Research Ethics on April 22