The Columbia University School of Social Work has long led the way in addressing contemporary social problems. Today, distinguished faculty continue to conduct cutting-edge research and often convene national and international conferences that contribute new knowledge to the field. Donor support for the School’s building fund has proven instrumental in maintaining an environment that is conducive to this leadership as well as teaching and learning.
The school’s relocation in 2004 brought modern classrooms, additional meeting space, and dedicated library and computer facilities that allowed the school to expand its programs, add students, and truly globalize social work education. “The building at 1255 Amsterdam Avenue enhances the educational experience,” says Kaziem Woodbury ’05SW, an active alumnus. “From a student’s perspective, it’s an environment deliberately designed for learning.” Scholarship gifts help ensure that the very best students can attend the School and take full advantage of its many resources.
When she first enrolled at Columbia, Barbara Grodd ’79SW had already enjoyed a long career in fashion retail even as she raised a family. After graduating, the former buyer for major department stores made up for lost time, devoting more than three decades to often neglected populations. She provided services to women in Westchester County jail, directed drug treatment programs at New York City’s prison complex on Rikers Island, ran a community-based program for adolescent ex-offenders, and more. “Columbia created an opportunity for me to have a very dynamic career,” says Grodd, now retired.
Over three decades Grodd has given generously, often more than once each year, in support of faculty, students, and the building fund. Her first donation was a $40 gift to the Alumni Fund in 1980, one year after her own graduation; one of her most recent gifts, in 2010, created the Barbara and Clifford Grodd Scholarship Fund. In appreciation for her long record of support, the Barbara Grodd Library Alcove is named in her honor. “I have seen social workers do extraordinary things,” Grodd explains. “If I can afford to support the school, I will.”
Published: June 2011