Awards and honors

Each year, the VCU School of Social Work recognizes outstanding students who have contributed leadership and service to the school and/or university, and who have otherwise distinguished themselves through commitment and dedication to a particular area of social work. Honorees are presented with the awards at the school’s annual Legacy and Leadership Awards Mixer.

Elaine Z. Rothenberg Memorial Scholarship Fund

Each year, the VCU School of Social Work honors an outstanding student in the B.S.W., M.S.W. and Ph.D. programs with the Elaine Z. Rothenberg Memorial Scholarship Fund. As the dean of the School of Social Work, Rothenberg exemplified the following characteristics: academic excellence; service to the university, community and profession; and exceptional personal qualities of compassion and leadership. One student from each program is eligible for the Elaine Rothenberg Social Work Award.

David N. Saunders Legislative Internship Fund

Each year, the VCU School of Social Work honors an outstanding graduating student in the B.S.W. or M.S.W. program with the David N. Saunders Legislative Internship Fund. The award was established in honor and memory of David N. Saunders, Ph.D., associate professor of social work, and recognizes Saunders for his commitment to furthering social goals through involvement in the legislative process at all levels of government. Saunders was an active participant in the development of social policy in state and local government, and he was well known and respected in both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly.

School of Social Work Social Justice Award

The Social Justice Award is given to a B.S.W., M.S.W. or Ph.D. student who has demonstrated a commitment and dedication to the ideals of social justice through his or her activities while a student in the social work program.

School of Social Work Service and Leadership Awards

The School of Social Work requests nominations from students and faculty for determining those graduates in the B.S.W., M.S.W. and Ph.D. programs who have demonstrated leadership and service to the school, the university and the community.

Student Field Impact Award

The purpose of this award is to highlight the impact that a student has had on clients and the community through their fieldwork. This is defined as creating change, gathering resources and/or providing support for individuals, families, groups, an organization, the community or policy, or any outstanding contribution made by the student as part of the field placement experience. 

Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society Membership

Phi Kappa Phi is a national honor society promoting the pursuit of excellence in all academic fields. Founded at the University of Maine in 1897, Phi Kappa Phi recognizes outstanding achievement by students, faculty and others through election to membership. Graduating students with excellent academic credentials and demonstrated leadership qualities are nominated by the School of Social Work for Phi Kappa Phi membership each year.

Phi Alpha National Honor Society for Social Work Students

VCU Chapter/Nu Rho

The purposes of Phi Alpha Honor Society are to provide a closer bond among students of social work and promote humanitarian goals and ideals. Phi Alpha fosters high standards of education for social workers and invites into membership those who have attained excellence in scholarship and achievement in social work. Phi Alpha offers membership to B.S.W. and M.S.W. students, faculty and practitioners. Eligible students will be invited via email to join during the spring semester.

2022-23 recipients

View a list of our 2022-23 VCU and SSW student awards, Phi Alpha Honor Society inductees, and Dean's List honorees (B.S.W. only).