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February 06, 2015

Namesakes - Grace Longwell Coyle Professorship of Social Work

The first endowed chair established at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences was the Grace Longwell Coyle Chair of Social Work. A fundraising campaign was carried out beginning in 1960 by the Citizens Committee for Strengthening the School of Applied Social Sciences and by the school’s alumni association. By the campaign’s successful conclusion in 1965, nearly 800 alumni had pledged over $50,000. Gifts also came from friends of the school. A gift of $100,000 from the Hanna Final Fund brought the total raised to $276,000. The chair was established in July 1965.

Grace Longwell Coyle was born in 1892 in North Adams, Massachusetts. She received a B.A. from Wellesley in 1914, majoring in English. The following year Coyle received a certificate from the New York School of Social Work. She worked as a settlement worker in New York and in the coal-mining regions of western Pennsylvania. In 1928 she earned an M.A. in economics from Columbia and, in 1931, a Ph.D., also from Columbia.

In 1934 Grace Coyle became an assistant professor in Western Reserve University’s School of Applied Social Sciences. She was promoted to associate professor in 1936 and professor in 1939. She pioneered in the development of social group work practice and theory and advocated for the inclusion of social science research in social work education. Professor Coyle served on the board of the Ohio Consumers League. She was president of three social work professional assocations: the National Confeence of Social Work, 1940; the American Association of Social Workers, 1942-44; and the National Council on Social Work Education, 1958-60. During World War II she worked with the War Relocation Authority to assist Japanese-Americans interned during the war. Grace Coyle was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and received the Brotherhood Award of the National Conference of Christians and Jews.

At her death in 1962 the School of Applied Social Sciences faculty resolution paid tribute to her professional achievements and her personal qualities:

“Grace Coyle was one of those rare people who not only talked about her belief in democracy but practiced it in her daily life. She had a profound respect for the worth and dignity of all human kind. Her ideas about democratic participation at the grass roots, her concern for opportunities for deprived groups were reflected not only in her writing and her teaching but in her activities as a member of organizations which were concerned with social action for the betterment of mankind.”

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Grace Longwell Coyle

Grace Longwell Coyle Professors and the dates they held the professorship are:
Ruby B. Pernell, 1968-1982
Arthur J. Naparstek, 1983-1987
Arthur Blum, 1987-1991
Arthur J. Naparstek, 1991-2004
Pranab Chatterjee, 2006-2008
Elizabeth M. Tracy, 2009-

Researchers interested in exploring Grace Coyle’s remarkable career of teaching, service and scholarship are welcome to use the Grace Coyle Papers in the CWRU Archives.

Posted by jmt3 at February 6, 2015 04:19 PM

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