Honoring Leaders

Global and Visionary Leader and scholar in social work. Highly effective and popular teacher. Wise and compassionate human being. These are just a few ways to describe the lasting influence of Dr. Nazneen Sada Mayadas.

Her Life
As a highly regarded leader in the field of social work, Dr. Mayadas stretched her influence to communities around the world, having practiced and taught Social Work in India, Canada, The USA The United kingdom, and through her work as Chief of Social Services in the Office of the United Nations’ Commissioner Refugees in Geneva Switzerland, visiting more than 150 countries during her professional career in social work. She was born in Lucknow, India and moved to the United States in 1959 already holding bachelor’s and master’s degrees. It was during her work with the YWCA in Calcutta that she took interest in social work. The YWCA awarded her a scholarship to pursue a second master’s degree, this time in social work, at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. During her time there, she began to understand the impact of this field and worked in Family Services in Cleveland and eventually in Vancouver, British Columbia, to put into practice what she learned during her studies before returning to the classroom to pursue a doctorate in social work from Washington University, St. Louis.

In 1972, after gaining her doctorate Dr. Mayadas taught social work at St Louis University then came to The University of Texas at Arlington in the early 1970s where she mentored hundreds of students and helped mold community efforts to advance excellence in the field of social work. Mayadas was the recipient of many awards including the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Washington University Brown School of Social Work, the prestigious NASW Social Work Pioneer Award, the State of Texas NASW Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Partners in International Education Award from the Council on Social Work Education. While at UTA, she established herself as not only a prolific researcher and scholar publishing six books and countless journal articles, but as a teacher who paved the way for student success. She pushed her students and taught innovative best practices that brought the best out of everyone such as methods that were innovative at the time, using videotaping as a way for students to look back and improve on practice techniques and participating in distant learning to deliver social work education to students in rural areas.

Dr. Mayadas was appointed Chief of Social Services to the Office of the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) based in Geneva, Switzerland in 1980 and served in that capacity for four years, learning to speak French and traversing the globe to serve as advocate for social work in refugee camps. When the UNHCR was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1981, Mayadas and her department made a compelling case and received funding through the Prize for the establishment of a program for the purchase of prostheses for refugees.

Her Legacy
Dr. Mayadas’s global knowledge and perspective gave students the ability to see beyond the four walls of a classroom. Her passion for international social work, her students, UTA, and the community resulted in a legacy that will forever inspire students to change the world for the better.

To continue her legacy, Doreen Elliott, PhD, family, and friends have established and funded the Nazneen Sada Mayadas and Doreen Elliott Graduate Fellowship to support graduate students who uphold an exceptional level of excellence in research or in practice in areas directly related to Nazneen's fields of study. Students pursuing research in international social work, social work and human migration, social group work, clinical social work and communication skills, and clinical social work and diversity are eligible for this fellowship.

You are invited to make a gift now and double your gift through the match of UTA alumni, Dr. Uma A. Segal (MSSW, 1975) & Dr. Madhav N. Segal (MBA, 1975; Ph.D. 1979) of St. Louis, Missouri. They have stepped forward to encourage your gift and committed $25,000 in matching funds. By making your gift online now, it will be doubled with the matching funds.

All gifts received for the Graduate Fellowship will create a permanent endowment and leave a lasting legacy, impacting generations of social work graduate students in perpetuity.

In memoriam to Doreen Elliott, PhD (May 3, 1941 - July 31, 2018), please join us as we build upon the foundation of caring and knowledge Nazneen created during her lifetime.

Complete the form below to make a gift online or mail checks payable to:

University of Texas at Arlington
701 S Nedderman Dr
Arlington, TX 76019-0198

To designate your gift, please write on the check memo: Mayadas Elliott Graduate Fellowship

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Doreen Elliott Ph.D.
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