2024 GCSW Graduation - University of Houston
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2024 GCSW Graduation

Congratulations to the Class of 2024!

This year we welcome 251 MSWs and 4 PhDs to the ranks of our incredible alumni. These graduates will become colleagues with the over 6,000 alums of the Graduate College of Social Work.

Student Speaker

Frances Fisher

For over a decade, Frances immersed herself in the realm of adolescent mental health, beginning her career at The Menninger Clinic overseeing leisure and group programming for their Adolescent Treatment Program and then as the lead recreation therapist for the PATH program at UT Health, an outpatient treatment program focused on addressing the intersection of chronic medical conditions and mental health needs of children and adolescents. Frances views the act of play as a gateway to connection and a path to embody new self-stories. Frances’s long-time interest in trauma and somatic work inspired her to complete a 200-hour yoga teacher training in 2019 with Black Swan Yoga. It went on to more specialized training in both trauma-informed and children’s yoga the following year. 


"Change is not merely about reforming the system but reimagining it all together to abolish the limits of what we think is possible. It is about burning down the walls of complacency and compliance that have long kept us bound within the confines of the status quo. Our work is not just about immediate symptoms but about collectively pulling threads to unravel the structures that cause the suffering in the first place. Recognizing that the roots of injustice run deep and that true Liberation requires a concerted effort to uproot the entrenched systems. We must remind ourselves that the system we live under is not inevitably natural or necessary; it's a human creation subject to change and it is our responsibility to actively shape it toward greater Justice and equality." - Student Speaker Frances Fisher


Graduation 2024

2024 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: Destiny Davis 

Jane Addams Unity Award:  Alex Parris

Malala Yousafzai Peace Award:  Kim Carpenter

Martin Luther King Jr. Social Justice Award: Oscar Thomas 

Dolores Huerta Service Award: Tabitha Martinez

Outstanding Staff Award: Micol Rosen

Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award: Maria Maldonado-Morales 

Outstanding Clinical Faculty Award: Melanie Pang

Outstanding Tenured or Tenure Track Faculty Award: Dr. Juan Barthelemy


Closing Remarks

As the ceremony concluded, Melanie Pang, recipient of the Outstanding Clinical Faculty Award, delivered a powerful message. She urged graduates to be clearer and more specific in their language when discussing the world's injustices and atrocities. Melanie expressed her conviction that "Social Workers can do Anything!" She concluded by highlighting that while some may see failure, defiance, and struggle, social workers recognize and honor the resilience and wisdom that often go unnoticed, awaiting acknowledgment and upliftment.





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