Meet the New NASW Social Work Pioneers®

Oct 3, 2020

Esther Jones Langston, PhD, MSW

The NASW Foundation and the NASW Social Work Pioneers® are very pleased and proud to welcome 16 newly inducted pioneers. In 2021 they will be formally recognized at the Pioneers’ annual program and luncheon—event details will be announced at a later date.

The Social Work Pioneers Program honors social workers who have contributed to the evolution and enrichment of the profession. It identifies and recognizes individuals whose unique dedication, commitment, and determination have improved social and human conditions.

Since its launch in 1994, approximately 800 accomplished individuals have been inducted. A comprehensive collection of their stories can be found within the Pioneer Biography Index. To learn more about the Pioneer nomination process please visit the NASW Foundation website.

Highlights: New NASW Social Work Pioneers®

To view a list of all 16 new Pioneers and their bios, please follow this link >>

Hilary Noel Weaver, DSWHilary Noel Weaver, DSW, has continually worked to promote awareness of important issues that affect indigenous people and communities throughout her social work practice and academic career. She has worked as an administrator, educator, researcher, and author. In the United States she has helped to increase understanding through her teaching at three schools of social work: the University of Idaho, the George Warren Brown School of Social Work in St. Louis, and most recently at the University of Buffalo where she serves as Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Read More >>

Esther Jones Langston, PhD, MSW, has been a pioneer in teaching, research, and community activism for more than 50 years. Her primary Esther Jones Langston, PhD, MSWfocus is social, economic, and environmental justice where she has provided testimony to city, county, state, national, and international political entities.

Langston is Professor Emeritus and Director Emerita at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). Considering the political climate of the 1960s and 1970s, she experienced a challenging yet successful trajectory through academia, community practice, and international service. She was the first African American woman to be employed as a BSW Lecturer within the Nevada system of higher education at UNLV. She was the first African American to earn tenure (1974) and later become a full professor (2003). And, she was the first African American academic department head at UNLV from 1998-2006. These “firsts” within a historically white institution were significant. She challenged the system by demonstrating her knowledge, values, and skills to dispel the “affirmative action hire” label. Read More >>

Anna Scheyett, PhD, LCSWAnna Scheyett, PhD, LCSW, is the Dean of the University of Georgia School of Social Work where she leads a diverse faculty committed to preparing students to engage in culturally responsive practice to promote social justice. In a career that has spanned over 30 years, she has distinguished herself as a scholar and advocate in the areas of adults with severe mental illness, mental illness and the legal system, assertive community treatment, case management services, consumer rights, mental health policy, and policy and practices related to systems moving to managed behavioral health care. Read More >>

Paul D’Agostino, ACSW, was the founder and first President of Children’s Advocates, Inc., a group of 23 hospitals and agencies in the BostonPaul D’Agostino, ACSW area. Created in 1970, the primary role of Children’s Advocates was to educate the public and to facilitate and coordinate the development of services for abused and neglected children and their families.

He also has served in major leadership roles including President of the NASW Florida Chapter, 1994-1996; member of NASW’s National Board of Directors, 2003-2006; founding board member on NASW Assurance Services, Inc. (ASI) (incorporated 2007), NASW Insurance Company, Inc. (NASWIC) (incorporated 2008), and NASW Risk Retention Group, Inc. (RRG) (incorporated 2012) Boards of Directors. Read More >>


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The NASW Foundation Team