BSW program honors two pioneers in the field of social work

Written by Karen L. Bystrom
May 4, 2017

Dr. Madeline LovellMary Kay Brennan, MSW, LICSW, Director of Seattle University’s Bachelors in Social Work announced that two prestigious undergraduate awards have been renamed in honor of two pioneers in the field of social work, the late Dr. Madeline L. Lovell and Taylene Watson, MSW.

The Dr. Madeline Lovell Academic Excellence Award is bestowed on the graduating senior with the highest cumulative GPA. Dr. Lovell, Associate Professor, Emeritus was truly inspirational as a scholar-educator.  She was a faculty member in the Department of Anthropology, Sociology, and Social Work for 21 years (1992-2013) and founder of the Bachelor’s in Social Work program prior to retiring and returning as an adjunct instructor until her untimely death in 2016.

Taylene Watson, MSWThe Taylene Watson, MSW Social Justice Award is bestowed on the graduating senior who demonstrates a steadfast commitment to advancing social justice through leadership while at Seattle University. Ms. Watson, MSW has been recognized locally and nationally for her leadership in advancing the social work profession and issues of social justice while in her role as Director of Social Work at VA Puget Sound Healthcare System and as Executive Director of the National Association of Social Work- Washington Chapter. She has been a founding member of the BSW Community Advisory Committee and long supporter of the program.

The recipients of the 2017 awards, which will be presented on June 9 at the Seattle University Awards ceremony, are:

  • Sydney Schafer, Dr. Madeline Lovell Academic Excellence Award
  • Clarissa Alegre Jovellanos, Taylene Watson, MSW Social Justice Award

“We are very pleased to honor two people who have contributed so much to our work as social workers and educators,” said Brennan. “Dr. Madeline Lovell had an enormous presence and impact at Seattle University, in the community, field of social work, and in the lives of all who were fortunate to know her. Madeline’s calm, steady presence grounded in a mindfulness practice and genuine positive regard for others drew many to her for counsel, mentorship, and support.”

 “Taylene Watson, MSW, has been a constant supportive presence in the development of SU's Social Work program since its inception, continuously serving on its Community Advisor Committee, faculty search committees, and meeting with accreditation site visitors,” continued Brennan. “She is one of the most known, revered, and impactful social workers in the state of Washington and, for that matter nationally. 

Madeline Lovell’s research and practice in the areas of trauma response, restorative justice, and vulnerable families’ supports made significant and lasting contributions in the field of social work. Lovell was a prolific writer, publishing 31 scholarly articles, invited chapters, and other monographs. She was an outstanding and popular instructor who was always student-centered.

Dr. Lovell provided significant leadership within the university. She was the founding director of Seattle University’s BSW program and instrumental in the development of the clinical MSW program. Lovell received numerous awards and fellowships while at Seattle University, including the McGoldrick Fellowship and the Gaffney Endowed Chair for Jesuit Identity.

Dr. Lovell was very active with American Red Cross. She volunteered on their crisis response team for numerous years including a deployment to New Orleans post-Katrina. She became a regional trainer for mental health response for the Red Cross.

She received her PhD from University of Washington and her MSW from University of Toronto.

Taylene Watson, MSW, LICSW, ACSW, is currently the Executive Director of the National Association of Social Work, Washington State Chapter. She was named Social Worker of the Year by NASW, Washington State Chapter in both 1999 and 2012.

Prior to her current work with NASW, Watson retired from the Veterans Administration System in2014 after 41 years of service. In her last positions she was the Director of Social Work and the Training Coordinator for Social Worker Service Internship Program at VA Puget Sound Healthcare System. She was named National Social Worker of the Year by the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2006.

In addition, Watson has been a Clinical Associate Professor at the Univ. of Washington, School of Social Work and a member of the Community Advisory Committee at Seattle University both since 2004. 

She earned her MSW at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI and her BA in Sociology at Dillard University, New Orleans, LA.