Congratulations, Class of 2020!

June 15, 2020

Graduate in black regalia with hands outstretched.

Congratulations to the MSW Class of 2020! The SU MSW Program is proud of our 25 new MSW graduates. We held a virtual graduation ceremony to celebrate their accomplishments on 6/10/20. Congratulations and best wishes to our new MSW colleagues! Ignite Change! 

Scroll on to read a graduation address from Social Work Chair and MSW Director and Associate Professor Dr. Kang: 

Dr. Kang in her graduation regalia

Before we launch you, the MSW Class of 2020, I would like to share a few words with you.

Graduates, you may recall the first day of your orientation when you started a journey together to gain your MSW degree. When I met you that first day as a cohort, I asked you a question.  “Why are you here?  What is your purpose?”

I asked you to keep that question in your mind as you pursue this complex and arduous program because as long as you are clear about your purpose, there is nothing that can detract you from succeeding.

As the students of this program know, the MSW program is a highly demanding program that involves completing 66 credits of courses for 2-year students and 39-credits for Advanced standing students while completing a rigorous field practicum program.

And many of you did this, while working part time and/or raising a family or caring for loved ones. This is a big commitment that takes rigor and persistence.

And this year was further complicated by the pandemic and its many continuing consequences. No one had any idea when you started this program what our world would be like today.

And you showed all of us, and perhaps most importantly to yourselves, that you kept your purpose and rose to meet whatever the challenge that was thrown at you.  You indeed stepped up, and I applaud you for that.

Now, Class of 2020, you are ready to embark on a new journey as professional social workers in an environment that needs you more than ever.

The historic pandemic laid bare all the inequities and injustice in our society. The country is seething with righteous anger at continuing and violent anti-Black racism. Structural oppressions are more clearly present than ever. And our very system of democracy seems at peril. Sometimes it may seem just overwhelming. But I urge you to know your purpose as a social worker at this time when our world is ripe for revolutionary change.

What is your purpose as a social worker?

Social workers have to be clear about their purpose because the lives of the people that we are entrusted to work alongside, and the people’s journeys that we are graced to be part of, are most complex.

And because as social workers, we work not only to help and heal but also to challenge and change.  Because we strive to enact social justice where injustice and inequalities persist.

This, my new colleagues, is the most important time for social workers to be clear about our purpose, our mission.

The mission of our program is to educate students for social justice-focused and community-based advanced clinical social work practice. The program seeks to advance equity in access to excellent clinical social work practice for historically marginalized populations by preparing competent and effective practitioners who restore, maintain, and enhance human and community well-being with unwavering attention to social and economic justice.

Now, as you are ready to join the profession, I am thrilled to see that you truly are ready for that mission. 

Class of 2020, welcome to the social work profession!

Now, graduates, get ready to put on your MSW stoles. The stole’s citron yellow color signifies the social work profession. Graduates, at this time, please put on your MSW stole with pride.

Thank you, everyone, for joining us. This concludes the MSW graduation ceremony of 2020.

Congratulations! Ignite Change! And may the force be with you.

 

Hye-Kyung Kang, MSW, PhD.

Chair, Dept. of Social Work

Director, Master of Social Work Program

Seattle University