NASW Pioneers Biography Index

The National Association of Social Workers Foundation is pleased to present the NASW Social Work Pioneers®. NASW Pioneers are social workers who have explored new territories and built outposts for human services on many frontiers. Some are well known, while others are less famous outside their immediate colleagues, and the region where they live and work. But each one has made an important contribution to the social work profession, and to social policies through service, teaching, writing, research, program development, administration, or legislation.

The NASW Pioneers have paved the way for thousands of other social workers to contribute to the betterment of the human condition; and they are are role models for future generations of social workers. The NASW Foundation has made every effort to provide accurate Pioneer biographies.  Please contact us at to provide missing information, or to correct inaccurate information. It is very important to us to correctly tell these important stories and preserve our history.  Please note, an asterisk attached to a name reflects Pioneers who have passed away. All NASW Social Work Pioneers® Bios are Copyright © 2019 National Association of Social Workers Foundation. All Rights Reserved.

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Paul Keve Photo
Paul Keve* (1913-1999)

Paul Keve was a pioneer in the field of criminal justice, particularly regarding a professional focus on the management and administration of correctional programs and as a professional writer on criminal justice issues. Paul graduated from the George Washington University with a Bachelor's Degree and from the College of William and Mary. Cordelia Cox was one of his professors and she remembered him well.

Paul began his corrections career in 1941 as a shop instructor at the Bureau of Prisons' National Training School for Boys. In the 1950s Paul was Director of the Hennepin County Probation Department, Minneapolis, Minnesota. His was one other better, if not the best, progressive probation departments in the country. Paul was later named Commissioner of Corrections for the State of Minnesota serving under both Democratic as well as Republican administrations. His leadership was most progressive and led to Minnesota having one of the best corrections departments in the country, which it still commands.

He later became Commissioner of Corrections for the State of Delaware, although for only a brief period of time, in as much as he was ahead of his time for the State of Delaware. I remember visiting with him one time when he and his wife visited us at our summer home in Rehobeth Beach, Delaware, when he was comparing the Minnesota legislature as primarily made up of professional legislators whereas in Delaware, there may be a lawyer or two, someone representing the Dupont Company, maybe a woman or two, and the rest were "chicken farmers."

In 1977 Paul joined the faculty of Virginia Commonwealth University and became Professor Emeritus. Paul wrote several books on various aspects of corrections programs and management, mostly during the time he has been actively working in the field of corrections. He was interested in historical research and wrote several books of this nature. Included among his writings are: "Prison or Parole?", "Introduction to Corrections", "The Probation Officer Investigates", "Imaginative Programs in Probation and Parole", "The History of Corrections in Virginia", "The McNeil Century - the Life and Times of an Island Prison", and A History of United States Federal Corrections - "Prisons and The American Conscience." In 1974 Keve won the John Howard Association National Award for Outstanding Achievement in Innovative Delinquency Programming and Corrections Administration and in 1968 he was named the Minnesota Social Worker of the Year.

Newly Inducted NASW Social Work Pioneer Hortense McClinton 2015

Nominate A New NASW Pioneer

Completed NASW Pioneer nominations can be submitted throughout the year and are reviewed at the June 2021 Pioneer Steering Committee Meeting. To be considered at the June meeting, submit your nomination package by March 31, 2021. To learn more, visit our Pioneer nomination guidelines.