NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Margaret Ryan (1909-1995)
Margaret Ryan was born in Syracuse, New York in June 1909. After graduating from Syracuse University with a bachelors and masters degree in mathematics, she was unable to find a job teaching and accepted a position as a caseworker in the City Department of Welfare in Syracuse. She remained in this position until the beginning of World War II, when she took a position with the University teaching young Air Force recruits mathematics and celestial navigation.
At the end of Wold War II, Ms. Ryan joined the American Red Cross and served in both the Disaster Relief and Military Hospital Programs. She was then Red Cross Field Director at both the hospital at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, and the military hospital in Tokyo, Japan.
Upon completing her assignments in the Red Cross, she went to the University of Chicago, School of Social Work where she received her masters degree in social work, sometime in the mid 1950s.
With degree in hand, Ms. Ryan accepted a position as a social worker at the Rehabilitation Institute, operated by the Caterpillar Tractor Company in Peoria, Illinois. After a few years with the Rehabilitation Institute in 1959, she joined the Training Program of the Vocational Rehabilitation Agency as assistant director. She remained in this position until her retirement in the late 1970s.
Social Work Pioneers 1993