The University of Melbourne’s Social Work Alumni Association - came into being in February 2007 at the instigation of Professor Elizabeth Ozanne, then Head of School, with the general goals of raising the profile of Social Work within the University, and assisting in building the professional and social networks of Social Work graduates.
UMSWAA’s first official activity was a dinner held at University House in October 2007, with Vice Chancellor Glyn Davis as guest speaker. A second dinner was held in 2008, with Professor Marie Connolly, then from New Zealand, later Head of Department, as guest speaker, and a third dinner took place in 2009, when the guests were addressed by the Hon. Bill Shorten MP, then Parliamentary Secretary with responsibility for developing the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
The dinners have been so successful that they have become annual events, with the exception of 2010 and 2014. In 2010 the UMSWAA Committee was heavily involved in the organization of the Colloquium held in March 2011 to mark the School’s 70th Anniversary and were responsible for organizing the Colloquium’s opening reception and the official dinner. In 2014, instead of a dinner, a cocktail party welcoming all alumni was held as part of the Joint World Conference on Social Work and Social Development, which was co-sponsored by the Department.
Other UMSWAA activities include annual receptions welcoming new students to the School, and farewelling new graduates at the end of their courses. The Association has also offered prizes for research projects undertaken by students, and contributed door prizes for student balls. In 2014 the Association supported the five year reunion of the Class of 2009, and in October 2015 held a most successful morning tea for social workers who had completed their social work education prior to the introduction of the BSW degree. In late 2015 UMSWAA contributed to the publication costs of the History of the School of Social Work, which celebrated the 75th anniversary of the school, and in July 2016 the Association assisted with a 40th anniversary celebration for the class of 1976.
Left to right: Helen Murray, Vivienne McCutcheon, Jan Armstrong-Conn (back), Jane Miller, Jan O’Brien (back), Margaret Healy