NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Herman Stein (1917 - 2009)
Herman Stein was nominated as a NASW Pioneer because of the many years of outstanding service he has provided the social work profession as a social work educator, administrator, consultant, and in social work research, nationally and internationally.
Herman Stein was born in 1917 and was born and raised in the Bronx. He attended the City College of New York by day and evenings and Sundays studied at the Jewish Theological Seminary where he acted in student productions. In 1937 he was invited to join a cast for a summer theater. He spent the following two summers in summer theater. During this period he became acquainted with Danny Kaye who was then trying to get into radio. The two became lifelong friends. Many years later they both saw each other as each worked in their respective way for UNICEF. During this time he also entered the New York School of Social Work. He was offered a part in an off-Broadway variety show, but decided to accept a full time scholarship at the School. Even though he decided then not to become a professional actor he wrote skits such as The Bartender as Clinical Social Worker" and an "Interdisciplinarian Approach to the Study of Movement" which he performed at gatherings of social workers and academics, including annual Council of Social Work meetings.
His early employment was with the College of New York, the New York Jewish Family Service, and the Columbia University School of Social Work. While there in 1947 he decided to go to Europe with his wife of less than a year to work for the American Jewish Distribution Committee, European Headquarters, in Paris. His decision to leave his position at the CUSSW was due to his interest in helping the survivors of the holocaust. He remained there until 1950 when he began his series of employment as a social work educator and administrator. He was on the faculty of Smith College School of Social Work (1951-1963); Columbia University School of Social Work (1950-1964); the University of Hawaii School of Social Work (1971-1972); and Case Western Reserve (1965-1990) where he served as a Professor of Social Administration, Coordinator of Social and Behavioral Science, Dean, School of Applied Science, Provost of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Provost of the University, University Vice President, and University Professor, the highest academic rank at CWRU. While at CWRU he maintained an association with UNICEF that began when he was at Columbia.
During Stein's 56 years career he has received many awards and has served as a consultant for many professional agencies and organizations including President of the International Association of Schools of Social Work (1968); International Council on Social Welfare; UNICEF; National Academy of Sciences; American Joint Distribution Committee; American Psychoanalytic Association; President, Council on Social Work Education (1966-1969); National Institute of Mental Health; Chairman of Mayor's Commission on the Crisis in Welfare in Cleveland (1968-1969); Department of Health, Education, and Welfare; the National Association of Social Workers which awarded him their Life Time Achievement Award; Council on Social Work Education's Distinguished Service Award (1970); and the Council of Social Work Education's Significant Life Time Achievement Award (1996). In 1994 he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa; he received Smith College School of Social Work's Day-Garrett Award for distinguished service; and in 1994 he was inducted into Columbia University's School of Social Work Hall of Fame.