The launch of a history of the 50 years of Social Work at The University of WA was one of the highlights of a reunion celebrating the milestone anniversary.
The book, Legacy and Promise, also provides a glimpse into the future of Social Work and Social Policy at the University. Guests, who included Social Work graduates and current staff and students, received a complimentary copy.
The reunion, held at the University Club last month, was the culmination of events held this year to celebrate the 50th anniversary - a significant milestone not only for UWA, but also for social work in Western Australia.
Associate Professor Maria Harries, the driving force behind the book, spoke about the outstanding contribution of Emeritus Professor Laksiri Jayasuriya to the discipline over many years. E/Prof Jayasuriya was announced as the Patron for the newly established Social Policy Practice and Research Consortium based at the School of Population Health, a significant development for social policy in WA. Assoc/Prof Harries also acknowledged the support of Social Work administrative staff over the 50 years, all of whom were present.
The evening began with the Welcome to Country provided by current Social Work lecturer Ms Glenda Kickett. Social Work alumnae Libby Lloyd and Louise Durack provided entertaining speeches about their time as students in the past as well as what impact Social Work graduates can have in the community, while current student Olivia Kendell gave a moving talk about what her studies have meant to her.
Professor Colleen Fisher, Head of School of Population Health where Social Work is based, said a broad spectrum of Social Work graduates attended the reunion. “We had graduates attending who spanned most of the 50 years of the discipline, and some had travelled interstate to be there on the night. The buzz in the room was remarkable and it is always a pleasure to see former students catching up with fellow graduates and staff.”
The leader of the Social Work group, Associate Professor Judy Esmond, summed up the evening well: “The reunion was a celebration of why social workers matter in the community, and the sense of friendship was evident in the amount of laughter during the night.”
Copies of Legacy and Promise are available for purchase from the School of Population Health.
Mr Dief Alexander, School Manager, School of Population Health