Barbara W. White, dean emeritus, passed away July 19 in her Austin home surrounded by her family. She was born Feb. 26, 1943, in Jacksonville, Florida. She received a Master of Social Work and a doctorate in political science from Florida State University.
White was the first African American dean in The University of Texas at Austin’s history. She led the School of Social Work’s successful efforts to meet new accreditation standards, achieve a national ranking among the top 10 schools of social work in the country, and enhance research and evidence-based practice.
She was the recipient of the university’s Presidential Citation in 2012 for her work catapulting the school into a nationally recognized position of leadership. The school’s Advisory Council honored her achievements with the creation of the Dean Barbara W. White Excellence Fund in Social Work Education and Leadership.
White was an accomplished scholar in the areas of cultural diversity, women, and domestic violence. She was actively engaged in social work education and was the only person in her profession to hold the presidencies of both National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
Upon her retirement in 2011, White was named dean emeritus in honor of her outstanding 18 years of leadership and distinguished career. She oversaw the education and training of thousands of social workers, contributed to the knowledge of many more through her scholarship, and was always glad to help those who needed her leadership, compassion and integrity. Her legacy lives in the work of all these individuals, who every day are making a positive impact in the lives of individuals, families and communities.