2023 GCSW Graduation - University of Houston
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2023 GCSW Graduation

Congratulations to the Class of 2023!

This year we welcome 254 MSWs and 5 PhDs to the ranks of our incredible alumni. These graduates will become colleagues with the 6,120 alums of the Graduate College of Social Work.

"And just as they have done and are doing, you too will make an incredible difference in our communities and in the lives of countless numbers of children, families, adults, and communities," said Associate Dean Sarah Narendorf during opening remarks at the 2023 GCSW Commencement.

Commencement Speaker 

Students are at the center of what the GCSW's education mission is all about. So, "over the last several months, as we watched GCSW students organizing, activating, speaking up to share their voices about your hopes and visions for what this College should be – expressing so much care and concern about the future of the GCSW and the future of the social work profession – it became clear that the voices that most needed to be heard at this year's Commencement were those of our students," said Associate Dean Suzanne Pritzker while introducing Caro Achar, this years commencement speaker.

Caro is a passionate political, social worker and proud Houstonian. As a queer, immigrant woman of color, she believes there is nothing more powerful than an intersectional vision of community care.

"Fellow graduates, today marks a significant milestone in our lives, one that we should celebrate with reckless abandon. But let us never forget to fight for the future we deserve. To not only address the needs of our clients, but to address the root causes that created the need for social workers in the first place. Congratulations to the graduating class of the University of Houston's Graduate College of Social Work—it is an honor to care for others alongside peers like you," said GCSW Commencement Speaker, Caro Archar.

Graduation 2023

2023 GCSW Award Winners 

Every year the Graduate College of Social Work honors students, staff, faculty and community who exemplify the GCSW’s beliefs, values and actions of an exceptional character. The awardees were recognized at this year’s GCSW Commencement and were voted on by the student body. Congratulations to all the winners!   

Barbara Jordan Integrity Award – Tanae Nious     

Jane Addams Unity Award – Savannah Lee   

Malala Yousafzai Peace Award – Carunya (Caro) Achar   

Martin Luther King Jr. Social Justice Award - Evan Tiffany and Brice Buchanan    

Dolores Huerta Service Award - Marlen Guerrero  

Humanitarian Award - Deysi Crespo  

Outstanding Staff Award – Kennedy Henderson    

Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award - Paola Guzman

Outstanding Clinical and Lecturing Faculty Award - Melanie Pang

Outstanding Tenured or Tenure Track Faculty Award - Dr. Alan Dettlaff

Closing Remarks 

As the ceremony came to an end, Dr. Prizker closed with the following message, “At the GCSW, we’ve witnessed your advocacy, we’ve heard you amplify your voices loudly and clearly, we’ve witnessed your persistence – as you continue into your social work careers, bring your energy, your drive, your vision to never stop standing up against injustice. Find ways – big and small – to challenge the injustices around you. Be a social worker who never stops standing up for what you know is right,” said Dr. Prizker.


After commencement, over 150 graduates, families, and staff celebrated at the GCSW Jewel Box with a reception. Congratulations to you all!