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FSU College of Social Work celebrates distinguished alumni, student scholars

Dean Jim Clark and Jackie Dupont-Walker at the College of Social Work's annual celebration.
Dean Jim Clark and Jackie Dupont-Walker at the College of Social Work's annual celebration.

Florida State University College of Social Work’s best and brightest gathered Thursday, Sept. 29 for an evening celebrating five distinguished graduates for their significant accomplishments and contributions to the field of social work. Sixty-five social work scholarship recipients also were honored for their academic achievement.

“This event is especially important because it gathers the College of Social Work family to celebrate two kinds of excellence,” said Jim Clark, dean of the FSU College of Social Work. “The first is the academic excellence of our students who demonstrate extremely promising careers at their outset. The second are our distinguished alumni who represent the kinds of professionals our students aspire to become.”

The event, made up of several generations of social work professionals and students, was held at Madison Social featuring a view of Doak Campbell Stadium, home to the College of Social Work.

The following distinguished graduates were honored:

Distinguished Emeritus Alumni Award
Jacquelyn (Jackie) Dupont-Walker, MSW, LCSW

Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker was a pioneer in desegregating Florida State University as one of the first African American students to be admitted in the 1960s and received a bachelor’s degree in social work in 1966. She is the founding president of the Ward Economic Development Corporation and has spent 25 years developing affordable housing, creating neighborhood networks, facilitating job creation, conducting asset mapping and spearheading intergenerational community efforts. Dupont-Walker also maintains a strong commitment to faith-centered and empowering development as a lifelong member of the AME church and by serving in leadership positions for a host of civic organizations, committees and commissions.

Distinguished Young Alumni Award
Robyn Metcalf, MSW

Robyn Metcalf is the associate executive director of the Children’s Campaign, and is a passionate advocate for children. She joined the organization in July 2013 as a public policy apprentice supporting the management team. Her extensive volunteer experience with organizations including 2-1-1- Big Bend, Guardian Ad Litem, the WINGS program at Oak Ridge Elementary School and Leon County Second Chance School fueled her passion for improving outcomes for Florida’s kids on a macro level. Metcalf graduated with her MSW in 2015 with a concentration in social policy and administration. As the first apprentice to be hired as a full-time employee for The Children’s Campaign Metcalf works to develop a sustainable revenue base for the organization and its affiliate, Voices for Florida, and to foster relationships with external partners and directing day-to-day operations.

Distinguished Social Work Educator
Jack Richman, Ph.D., MSW

Jack Richman is an educational leader in social work. He received his MSW from the State University of New York at Albany and his doctoral degree in counseling from Florida State University. He has been on the faculty of University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill since 1983 and served as dean of UNC Chapel Hill School of Social Work from 2002-2016. Richman’s research and scholarship focuses primarily on individuals, couples and families, social support, at-risk students and evaluation. He has published extensively in his areas of expertise, including coauthoring the books “Intervention Research,” and “The Context of Youth Violence: Resilience, Risk, and Protection.” Richman has also served as consulting editor or on the editorial board for the journals Children in Schools, Social Work in Education, The American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Care.

Distinguished Alumni in Social Work Practice Award
Cheryl Berry Bias, ACSW, LCSW

Since the age of 13, Cheryl Berry Bias has never wandered from her chosen profession. She received her B.S. in social work from Florida State University in 1973 and her MSSW from University of Texas at Austin in 1977. She blazed a trail as an advocate for the amputee community, forming the Amputee Support Group in Austin, Texas, which is still in operation 27 years later. Bias also helped UT-Austin’s School of Social Work as a volunteer who helped recruit field placements. During her 39-year career she has held a diverse number of salaried and volunteer positions with unwavering service to those most in need. Bias has had a career that embraces social work professional and personal ethics.

Distinguished Alumni in Social Policy & Administration Award
David William Springer, Ph.D., LCSW

David Springer is a three-time graduate of FSU. He earned his B.A. in psychology in 1990, earned his MSW degree in 1992, and earned his Ph.D. in 1997. He joined the faculty at the University of Texas at Austin. He has held numerous leadership positions and is currently a Distinguished Teaching Professor and the Director of the Center for Philanthropy and Community Service in the LBJ School of Public Affairs. In these roles Springer has actively pursued the building of knowledge and the educating of future leaders about social justice and equity to create lasting policy and systems for the betterment of society. He has been at the forefront of the juvenile justice reform movement and was named by the Texas governor to lead a task force on juvenile justice reform. The NonProfit Times recently named Springer a, “Top 50 Influencer in the Nonprofit Sector in the U.S.”