Under the leadership of Dean Nancy J. Smyth, our school
committed resources to an exciting project that documented the
history of this great center of social work training and
With each passing decade, a new chapter has been added to the
already rich history of one of the first schools of social work in
the nation. It had been over 20 years, however, since an effort to
chronicle the story of the school had been published, in 1984.
So many events have transpired since the last publication of the
School’s history that a new effort was long overdue. In fact,
many members of the School community realized the crucial need to
capture the full scope of the School’s history.
As a result, the UB School of Social Work History Project was
initiated in the summer of 2005. The modern project was built upon
the earlier efforts, and was designed to retell the School of
Social Work story from its founding in the 1930s.
Another project goal was to provide needed historical
perspective about the School to community stakeholders such as
alumni, faculty, students, and the staff of Buffalo’s
One of the first graduates of the School recalled her class of
six students and the school’s early days; alumni and faculty
described the atmosphere of the School during the tumultuous 1960s
and ’70s; and faculty — and one former UB president
— discussed the strong community support generated to prevent
closure of the School in the 1980s.
The UB School of Social Work History Project was an effort to
document the School’s history and also to collect materials
and information that may have been lost or forgotten. Principal
investigators Denise Krause and Susan Green and staff conducted
some 60 videotaped interviews with alumni, former deans, UB
presidents and faculty members.
The resulting documentary video, Living Proof. Reflections on 75
Years of Social Work Education, was produced in conjunction with
Odessa Pictures, a Buffalo-based production company.
The interview snippets were selected to present portions of
interviewees’ outstanding memories of experiences as a
student, faculty or staff member at the School of Social