A University of Southern California alumna considered a pioneer in the field of social work has donated $60 million to the university and will have the School of Social Work renamed in her honor, the university announced Wednesday.
The gift from Suzanne Dworak-Peck is one of the largest individual contributions to a school of its kind, according to the university. The donation will endow and name the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work.
"Suzanne Dworak-Peck is a visionary who has shown extraordinary leadership in her field, almost single-handedly changing how we perceive social workers," USC President C.L. Max Nikias said. "In the trenches from the very start of her career, she has shown that her compassion and selflessness have no bounds."
"Her great generosity is matched only by her passion for social justice and her drive to inspire change by re-imagining social work so that it empowers everyone it touches," he said. "And this gift ensures that the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work will continue to stand as an innovator by which all others are measured."
Dworak-Peck, who has a bachelor's degree and master's degree from USC, said she hopes the gift will solidify the future of the school, which is responsible for one out of every 20 master's-level social workers in the country.
"My wish is that this endowment will create greater awareness and understanding for the local, national and global community about the profound impact of the social work profession," she said. "By educating and building professional social workers who are visionary game-changers, we are investing in solutions to society's significant problems, like homelessness and poverty."
During her career, she has served as president of the National Association of Social Workers and the International Federation of Social Workers. She also founded the NASW Communications Network, aimed at providing media and entertainment industries with information and resources on social issues.
University officials said her "investments" enabled her to make the donation.
"We stand ready to accomplish real social change, and Suzanne Dworak-Peck's transformational gift will enable us to do so, by expanding our presence and our influence in discussions that matter, whether they are in the business, political, nonprofit or policy spheres,'' said Marilyn Flynn, dean of the School of Social Work.