School of Social Work - News Bytes Volume 1, Issue 2 | March 2005

Heartfelt Tribute Honors Community, Academic Leaders

John Bryant of Operation HOPE, Scholar Richard Barth Receive Accolades

The USC School of Social Work hosted its annual black-tie scholarship fundraising dinner, “A Celebration of the Heart, 85th Anniversary Gala,” on March 6 at The Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills.

This year’s theme, “Honoring the Past, Inventing the Future,” commemorated the university’s 125th anniversary, as well as the school’s own 85-year legacy of helping solve important social problems while attracting the best faculty and students for educating tomorrow’s leaders.

The event honored individual contributions to social work practice and research in the community and throughout the world. Proceeds from the evening helped launch the John Bryant Scholarship in Urban Social Development for students pursuing graduate study and careers in social work at the USC School of Social Work.

“This event is unique in the United States for a school of social work,” said Dean Marilyn Flynn. “It brings together at one time recognition for a scholar whose work has changed society and honor for a distinguished community leader whose actions have transformed lives. All who attend this event agree that there is nothing quite like it elsewhere.”

Photo: Crystal Heart Award Recipient
John Bryant and City Controller Laura Chick

This year’s Crystal Heart, the school’s highest honor for community service, paid tribute to John Bryant, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE. The non-profit organization is America’s first social investment banking and national self-help provider of economic empowerment tools and services for the underserved. Selected by Time magazine as one of America’s most promising leaders of the future, Bryant has been cited by the past four U.S. presidents for his work to empower low-wealth communities and is a past recipient of the President’s Volunteer Service Award for Lifetime Achievement for his charitable activities.

Richard Barth, Ph.D., Frank A. Daniels Professor of Human Services at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, received the Flynn Prize for Research. This award honors research that has achieved high social impact and carries a $10,000 honorarium and gold medallion. Author and co-author of 10 scholarly books and more than 170 articles and book chapters, Professor Barth is perhaps the single most well-known scholar in the United States on child welfare and foster care. A recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Research from the National Association of Social Workers, he has been named lecturer at several research universities, including USC.

Photo: Tena Nelson and Festus Webley
Festus Webley and Tena Nelson

His work was influential in shaping the Multi-Ethnic Placement Act, Adoption and Safe Families Act, Chafee Foster Care Independence Act and the revised Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act.

The school also presented Tena Nelson and Festus Webley the W. June Simmons Distinguished Alumna and Alumnus awards for their professional contributions to the field of social work and the southern California community of Riverside.

A first-year MSW student in the Community/Organization/Planning/Administration concentration, Daniel Soto was honored as the first recipient of the John Bryant Scholar in Urban Development. Soto is the Orange County representative for the Student Organization and a member of the International Social Work Caucus.

Photo: Daniel Soto and Dean Flynn
Daniel Soto and Dean Flynn

He has been a family support counselor at the Children’s Bureau of Southern California and has worked with at-risk adolescents involved in gangs.

The Celebration of the Heart Dinner Committee was comprised of Lee Stein-Wood and William Wood, dinner chairs; Kathleen Kavanaugh, tribute journal chair; James Bogenrief, Alan D. Levy, Helen Gordon Levy, Mary Mader, Pamela Mischel, Michalle Mor Barak, Edward P. Ogle, Jr., Ann Thor and Richard Thor.

About the USC School of Social Work

As part of a world-renowned research and academic powerhouse on the most culturally diverse campus in the United States, the USC School of Social Work is the highest ranking school of social work in Southern California and among the top 10 in the nation. Annually, the School funds $1 million in scholarships and loan support and more than $700,000 in field agency stipends. The majority of the school’s 500 students could not attend without significant financial assistance.


Rising Stars
Carlos Alcantara
Jenee Areeckal
Jennifer Ritchkoff

Awards & Recognition
Devon Brooks
Kathleen Ell
Frances Feldman
Steve Hydon
Helen Northen
Wendy Smith
Brad Zebrack

Published & Presented

Alumni Notes
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Did You Know?
Each year, the USC School of Social Work funds $1 million in scholarships and loan support and more than $700,000 in field agency stipends.