NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Louise Proehl Shoemaker (1925 - 2013)
Louise Proehl Shoemaker had an illustrative career as a group worker, educator, and Dean of the School of Social Work, University of Pennsylvania. In the 1940' and 1950's she worked in the Elliot Park Neighborhood House, Minnesota; the Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota; Maryland State Department of Public Welfare; and the Manhattanville Community Center of New York City.
She taught nationally internationally in such schools as the Unitarian Service Committee; United States State Department; University of West Virginia; University of Hamburg, West Germany; University of Ibadan, Nigeria; and the School of Social Work, University of Pennsylvania, where she was assistant professor, associate professor, acting dean, and dean.
She was concerned throughout her career in working within the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America about issues related to social justice and equality of women in the church as well as minority ministry. She was also active and concerned about international matters and while Dean of the School of Social Work, University of Pennsylvania, she worked to attract more African American students and faculty and during her tenure the school boasted the University's highest percentage of African American faculty members.
She traveled widely and taught in schools of social work in Africa on many occasions. She adopted two orphans from Sudan who had previously spent 13 years in refugee camps. Both went on to college.
Louise was a charter member of NASW having belonged to the predecessors of such organizations as AASW and AAGW. She was well regarded throughout the Lutheran Church of America, international circles, social work group workers, and social work education.
She graduated from the University of Illinois, cum laude, received her MSW from the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Work, an ABD from the University of Edinburgh, and a DSW from the University of Pennsylvania. She authored numerous papers and lectured extensively in the United States, Europe, Africa and Asia..