Louise Proehl Shoemaker had an illustrative career as a group worker, educator, and the Dean of the School of Social Work, University of Pennsylvania. In the 1940’s and 1950’s she worked in the Elliot Park Neighborhood House, Minnesota, the Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota, for the Maryland State Department of Public Welfare, and the Manhattanville Community Center of New York City.
Her teaching was not only national but international 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 has also been 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 while Dean of the Pennsylvania School of Social Work 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.
Louise was a charter member of NASW, having belonged to the predecessors of such organizations as AASW and AAGW. She is highly thought of throughout the Lutheran Church of America, international circles, by the field of 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 conducted and wrote over three hundred institutes, lectures, and papers given in the United States, Europe, Africa and Asia.