The Mies van der Rohe-designed building that is home to the University of Chicago’s Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy and Practice has been dedicated in honor of Edith Abbott, a UChicago alumna who played a historic role as the School’s founding dean, was the first woman to lead a graduate school in the United States, and shaped a model of social work inquiry and impact that continues to this day.
Abbott, PhD 1905, was a scholar, researcher and innovator, who fundamentally reimagined the social work profession, revolutionized the social work curriculum, and advanced a bold vision that became the Chicago tradition of social work education. Her vision for a graduate school was unique: The school would advance the social work profession through a combination of practical theory, social science theory and research, and it would reflect the major social issues of the time.
The University celebrated the dedication of Edith Abbott Hall at a March 17 ceremony featuring UChicago leaders as well as Crown Family School faculty and alumni.
“As the dean of what we now know as the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy and Practice, Edith Abbott and a few likeminded colleagues conceived and implemented a new vision and mission for the School, and for social work education more broadly,” said President Robert J. Zimmer in his remarks. “We are pleased to honor Edith Abbott’s fundamental contributions to the field of social work, and her enduring legacy at this University, by giving her name to the building that sits at the heart of the Crown Family School’s scholarly and educational activities.”