UW Today

February 2, 2011

Ballmer gift establishes first endowed deanship in social work

News and Information

The UW has received a gift to establish the nations first endowed deanship in social work at a public university. On Jan. 20, Dean Edwina (Eddie) Uehara became the inaugural holder of the Ballmer Endowed Deanship in Social Work.

Dean Edwina (Eddie) Uehara

Dean Edwina (Eddie) Uehara

This gift allows Uehara and all future deans to pursue important initiatives that address the mission of the School of Social Work in ways that would not otherwise be possible, said UW Interim President Phyllis Wise. “The Ballmer Endowed Deanship celebrates exceptional leadership embodied in individuals such as Eddie. She has a rare capacity for bringing together great minds and motivating them to work creatively and collaboratively to find solutions.”

Uehara was named to lead the School of Social Work in 2006 and is the schools first dean of color. She holds a bachelors degree from Eastern Washington University, a masters degree in social work from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. from The University of Chicago. Uehara is nationally renowned for her research on social networks, social support and ethnic-minority mental health. She was the recipient of the University of Washingtons Distinguished Teaching Award in 1996 and The University of Chicago School of Social Service Administrations Edith Abbott Award for career excellence in 2007.

Connie and Steve Ballmer of Bellevue made the gift as a tribute to the Ueharas leadership. “We were inspired by Eddies vision and desire to put the expertise and energy of the school in service to the community, and not limit the learning experience to the classroom,” said Connie Ballmer. “The School of Social Work is a valuable resource to our community that helps strengthen the training of future social workers — unsung heroes in our community.”

This award is derived from the Ballmers initial gift to the school in 2007 to form Partners for Our Children, a unique collaboration among the University, the state of Washington, and the private sector designed to strengthen the child welfare system and improve the lives of children, youth and families in Washington state.

The endowment also responds to a growing need for social work expertise. Social work is one of the fastest growing careers, according to the Department of Labor. The gift will ensure the school maintains its national stature and ability to foster high-caliber leaders, educational excellence, and influential and innovative scholarship. U.S. News & World Report ranks the school fourth among the nations 153 graduate schools in its most recent 2008 survey.