NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
June Gary Hopps
Hopps’s contributions date to her days as an undergraduate student. While working on her undergraduate degree in political science and history at Spelman College, Hopps became active in the civil rights movement. In 1960, she helped to organize and participated in the first student sit-in and lunch-counter boycotts in Atlanta, which ultimately resulted in the desegregation of public facilities in that city.
During 24 years at Boston College, June Gary Hopps took the small school to national prominence. She established three joint graduate and professional degree programs with law, business and pastoral counseling; started a doctoral program in research-driven, proactive social work; and expanded opportunities for graduate education in social work throughout New England. The school rose to rank 14th in the nation, according to the U.S. News & World Report, and faculty publication rankings rose to the top 10, according to a study in the Journal of Social Work Education. Hopps was also the youngest dean ever appointed at Boston College.
During her tenure at Boston College, Hopps was the first African-American to serve as editor-in-chief of Social Work, the NASW’s journal. As editor, she established writing workshops that brought more women and people of color into research publication. A special issue of the journal on problems experienced by non-whites is considered a landmark publication by those in the social work profession. Hopps also co-edited the 19th edition of the Encyclopedia of Social Work, a classic reference work for social work practitioners that was selected as one of the best books of 1995 by Change, a magazine that covers contemporary issues in higher education.
Hopps is Dean Emerita of the Graduate School of Social Work at Boston College. She stepped down as Dean after a 24-year career that propelled the school to national prominence.
She currently holds the endowed Thomas M. Parhap Chair of Family and Children Studies at the University of Georgia. In this capacity, Hopps serves as the school’s leading authority in public policy in the areas of children and families. She is also the school’s liaison with state and federal government offices and legislators on emerging policy issues. Hopps continues to teach and conduct research, and oversees Parham Policy Day, an annual event that brings leading national and state figures to the university to speak with students about public policy issues. Past speakers include Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, granddaughter of President Franklin D. Roosevelt; June Hopkins, granddaughter of New Deal architect Harry Hopkins; and former Georgia Commissioner of Labor Michael Thurmond, among others.
Significant Achievements and Awards
Her many honors include recognition by the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare for outstanding public service and the NASW Presidential Award for Excellence in Social Work Education. In 2005, Spelman College named the June Gary Hopps Atrium in her honor.