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Louise Frey

NASW Social Work Pioneer® Louise Frey dies at 84

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Louise Frey, a professor emerita at BU’s School of Social Work, died in California on February 13 of complications from Alzheimer’s disease. She was 84.

Born on April 5, 1924, Frey earned a bachelor’s degree from Queens College, City University of New York, and a master’s from Columbia University. She joined the SSW faculty in 1957 and held many roles, including professor of group work, coordinator of social work practice courses, and director of the Division of Continuing Education, the forerunner of SSW’s current Professional Education Programs, for 10 years.

Recognizing the interconnections between people’s lives and their varied cultures, Frey was instrumental in expanding SSW’s efforts in global social work practice. Along with her recruitment efforts in Southeast Asia, she was responsible for the school’s participation in the overseas program with the U.S. Army in Germany and worked in the school’s Refugee and Immigrant Training Program. She coauthored a manual on working with refugee minors for the U.S. Catholic Conference Office of Migrant and Refugee Services. She made significant contributions to the field of group work and adult learning literature, including the book Explorations in Group Work: Essays in Theory and Practice, edited with Saul Bernstein, and was honored by NASW as a Social Work Pioneer. She retired from SSW in 1991.

“She had a strong commitment to group work, and to providing excellent training to students in social work practice,” says Gail Steketee, dean of SSW.

“I know that her work here meant a great deal to her,” says Wilma Peebles-Wilkins, dean emerita of the school. “Louise often talked about group work, continuing education, and the off-campus programs at BUSSW. The School of Social Work still reaps the benefits of her legacy.”

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