NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Ernest Witte (1904-1986)
Ernest F. Witte is best known for his leadership in social work education. He spend most of his working life in schools of social work, and his most outstanding work was the establishment of the Council on Social Work Education. In addition, he established schools of social work in Nebraska; California State University in Fresno, Sacramento, and San Diego as well as the School of Social Work in Trondheim, Norway.
Born in Swanton, Nebraska, Witte received his bachelor's degree in 1925 in Nebraska and his doctorate from the University of Chicago in 1932.
Witte started working in relief and public welfare programs in the early 1930s. He was the first field representative of the Social Security Board in Chicago. Witte was recognized for his work during World War II, during which he directed aid to displaced people and refugees in allied-occupied Italy and Germany. Witte also directed care for survivors of concentration camps. Ernest Witte received many honors and awards. Witte's papers are available in the Minnesota state archives.