New York Times best-selling author Brené Brown to receive UH Social Work Award

University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work (GCSW) research professor Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW, will receive the college’s Spirit of Excellence in Social Work Award at the GCSW’s upcoming 2014 Biennial Scholarship Gala at 6:30 p.m., on Friday, April 25, at the Hotel ZaZa in Houston.

“Brené will be the inaugural recipient of the Spirit of Excellence in Social Work Award.  The award will honor excellence in the field,” said Elizabeth McIngvale Cegelski, co-chair of the GCSW gala.  “It honors a social worker who portrays excellence in their application of the spirit of social work – striving for social, political and economic justice for all people.”

A nationally renowned speaker, Brown has spent more than a dozen years studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness and shame.  Brown and her work have been showcased by Oprah Winfrey, most recently on the OWN television network program, “Oprah’s Super Soul Sundays.” National media, including Psychology Today, The New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, PBS, CNN and NBC’s “Today” have also featured Brown’s work.      

Brown is the author of the #1 New York Times Best-selling book, “Daring Greatly:  How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead.”  She also wrote The New York Times Bestseller, “The Gifts of Imperfection,” and, “I Thought It Was Just Me.”  Her current research focuses on authentic leadership and wholeheartedness in families, schools and organizations.

Brown earned both her doctor of philosophy in social work, and her master of social work at the UH GCSW.  She is also the founder and chief learning and research officer of The Daring Way, a training and certification program for professionals who want to facilitate her work on vulnerability, courage, shame and worthiness.

The UH GCSW will also honor a non-social worker, Linda K. May, at this year’s gala.  May will receive the 2014 Bobbi and Vic Samuels Spirit of Social Work Award.  May is executive director of The Simmons Foundation and served as founding executive director of the Greater Houston Women’s Foundation (GHWF), now called The Women’s Resource.

The UH GCSW 2014 Biennial Scholarship Gala is open to the media.  For gala tables, tickets for the general public, or scholarship donation information:

For more information please contact:

Connease Warren

UH GCSW Communications Manager


About the UH Graduate College of Social Work

The UH Graduate College of Social Work (GCSW) is a nationally recognized program, ranked 37 by U.S. News & World Report and the highest ranked College at the University of Houston.  Offering MSW and PhD degrees, the GCSW provides exceptional education for advanced social work practice, research and leadership through teaching, advancing knowledge and community engagement to achieve social, economic and political justice. It is the only social work program in the world to have a Nobel laureate on its faculty.  Committed to community engagement, the GCSW partners with agencies throughout Houston and counts a significant number of leaders in service agencies among its alumni.    For more information, please visit