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IU School of Social Work Alumni Association

Class Notes


Richard (Dick) Lutz, MA, 1955
I am a graduate of the Indiana University Division of Social Service in 1955. Since graduation I have been a Family Case Worker, a Probation and Parole Agent. a volunteer Director of an American Friends Service Committee work camp in rural Mexico, a counselor in a boy's school, Executive Director of the War on Poverty program in a small county, Assistant Director and then Director of the Forensic Psychiatry Division in a state mental hospital, Superintendent of a state mental hospital, a book publisher and author, and now a resident of a retirement community in Portland, OR. With all the changes in my career, is it because I was taught instability at IU? Seriously, I'd like to hear from any of my old classmates. My email address is

Karen Ullah, MA, 1959
In between working on her two degrees, Karen worked at the Richmond State Hospital for a year as a case aide. Her first post graduate job was for the IU Medical Center in the Robert Long and Suemma Coleman Hospitals. Karen moved to California in 1962 where she attended the School of Public Health and earned a one year certificate there. She then worked for San Mateo County in a variety of Social Work positions over a number of years. She is now retired and spends her time volunteering and reading books. She especially enjoys reading mysteries. Karen has two adult sons who also live in California. She lives in Redwood City, south of San Francisco, and would enjoy hearing from other alumni. She can be reached by phone at 650-591-5017 or by email at


Alvin W. Cohn, MA, 1960
I have been on a fascinating journey since I received my MA in Social Work almost 52 years ago. My very satisfying internships at Family Service and the Child Guidance Clinic ‘pushed’ me into work with families and juveniles, a field I have enjoyed these many years. Those were the days when a DSW was hardly available. Instead, I received a doctorate in criminology at the University of California-Berkeley during the Free Speech Movement. I have served on the full-time faculties of three universities. I founded and edited for five years the newsletter, The Criminologist, for the American Society of Criminology and founded and edited for seven years, Rapport, the newsletter of the National Juvenile Court Services Association, for which I also served as president for two years. I have authored or co-authored six books, over 75 journal articles, have written at least six online training courses for field personnel, and remain active as a consultant to juvenile justice agencies. I live in Rockville, MD, am married, have two daughters, and two grandchildren. I would be very happy to hear from former roommates and classmates:

Donna Sandager Lebsock, MSW, 1969
I thought I'd share a bit about me, and hope I will hear about former classmates of 40 years ago. After getting my MSW, I headed to Colorado where I spent 20 years as a psychiatric/medical social worker, primarily as a hospice social worker. I met my husband of 30+ years in Colorado, and we have a daughter in her 20's. We now live in North Carolina where I again worked for hospice for 15 years. I now work for a large hospital in the cardiac care unit. So, I'm still working full time as a social worker. My email address is

Peter Bohm, MSW, 1969
Peter wrote to say what he has been doing since graduating. From 1969 to 1971 he was a hospital social worker (Family Community Care Program) at Beatty Memorial Hospital, Valparaiso, Indiana where he worked with Ed Dargis, class of 1968. He then moved to Toronto, Canada, where from 1971 to 1976 he worked for the Addiction Research Foundation, with individuals, groups and families on in-patient, out-patient programs, community consultation, and he managed and supervised staff and MSW students. After that, he earned his Ph.D. at the University of Toronto in 1981. Subsequently, from 1981 to 1989, he worked at the Addiction Research Foundation of Ontario as Director of Treatment Training, School for Addiction Studies and he was cross-appointed to Faculties of Social Work at University of Toronto and York University, Toronto. From 1989 to 1996, he was the Clinical Director, Beechgrove Children's Center, Kingston, Ontario and he was
cross-appointed with Queens University Department of Psychiatry, Division of Child Psychiatry, and St. Lawrence College Addiction Counseling Program. He was in private practice at the Kin Family Center from 1996 to 1997 and was the Clinical Manager, Algonquin Child and Family Center, Parry Sound, Ontario from 1997 to 2003, when he retired. He was in a part-time private practice at Parry Sound Family Service starting in 2003 and retired from that in 2008. Peter has four daughters and a grand daughter. He is married to a retired nurse and they live on a lake near the Georgian Bay, North of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Andrew Diamond, MSW, 1969
I live in Los Angeles, CA where I recently retired after serving 23 years as President/CEO of Aviva Family and Children's Services. I would like to hear from any alumni who may remember me


Dixie Dugan, BSW, 1986, MSW, 1987
Dixie began working at Cardinal Service Management (now Occazio, Inc.) in 1988 as a Cluster Director/QMRP. In 1996 she assumed responsibility for starting the Human Resource Department in the company, which provides residential services for individuals with developmental disabilities. In 2000, she was promoted to Residential Operations Coordinator where she is responsible for 17 group homes and also continues to carry out some of the HR functions for Occazio. In 2003, Dixie started working on her Ed.D. in Adult, Higher and Community Education through Ball State University. She was recently granted doctoral candidate status and, as of this writing, had hoped to graduate in the spring of 2010. She and her husband, John Truax, reside near Muncie where he teaches high school and coaches basketball at Wapahani High School. They have one daughter and three grandchildren. Dixie is also a member of the League of Women Voters and the American Association of University Women in Muncie. She now lives in Parker City, IN.


Valerie Decker, MSW, 1999
I have lived in Indianapolis all my life. I earned my BS in Psychology at IU Bloomington. When I was at the IUSSW, my practicum placements were at the Boys and Girls Club of Indianapolis and the Indiana Youth Institute. I graduated from the Indianapolis Campus in 1999 with my MSW. Since then, I have held the following social work positions: Research Assistant at Indiana Youth Institute (1999-2000); Education Director at Keenan Stahl Boys & Girls Club of Indianapolis (2000-2005); Determining Educational Needs Project Manager at IUSSW (2000-2002); and Child Welfare Education and Training Partnership Evaluation Project Manager at IUSSW (2007-present). I received the Indiana University School of Social Work PhD Program Esprit Award in 2008.


Neely Keys, MSW, 2001
I was born and raised in Marion, IN and now live in Hilliard, OH. I attended Indiana-Purdue in Fort Wayne and earned my BS in Criminal Justice. I saw social work as an opportunity to better serve at risk adolescents. While at the IUSSW, I had practicum placements at Ben Davis High School and Marion County Childrens' Services. I graduated with my MSW from the Indianapolis Campus in 2001. Since then, I have worked as an Adolescent Coordinator and Director of Treatment. I supervise Ohio State School of Social Work master's level students. I have been blessed with a wonderful husband of twelve years and two beautifully gifted children.

Sarah Morley, MSW, 2004
I was born and raised in Indiana and now live in Tampa, FL. I earned my BSW at Anderson University. I grew up in the foster care system and thus became interested in social work.
My practicum placements at the IUSSW were at the Department of Child Services and at
Bethany Christian Services and I graduated in 2004 with my MSW. Since graduating, I have
held the following social work positions: Family Care Manager Children's Services Coordinator Psychosocial Specialist Licensed Clinical Social Worker for Chapters Health PACE (current).

Jessie Blake-Whitaker, MSW, 2006
I was born and raised in South Bend, IN and continue to live there now. Prior to attending the IUSSW, I had the following educational experience: IUSB -BS in Public and Environmental Affairs, concentration in Criminal Justice; and MSA, Institutional Administration, University of Notre Dame. I became interested in social work because I was raised in a family of 13 children and we were fortunate to benefit from the services offered by social services program. I always wanted to return the generosity of others. I attended the IUSSW on the South Bend Campus where I had my practicum placements at Children Are the Future - Foster Care Training Agency. I earned my MSW in 2006. I am currently the school social worker at a new charter school called the South Bend Career Academy and I taught one semester in the school of social work at St. Mary's College. I also received a social work award from that college.

Rachel Johnson, MSW, 2006
I was born and raised in Hebron, IN and now live in Rensselaer, IN. I earned my BSW from Indiana State University. I was active in Amnesty International in school and this got me interested in the field of social work. Jane Cutler was an excellent mentor and teacher when I was at the IUSSW. My practicum placements were at the Indiana Boys School and the St. Vincent's Inpatient Unit. I graduated in 2006 with my MSW. Since graduating, I have been employed at the Wabash Valley Alliance as a therapist. I belong to the NASW. The accomplishments in my career that I would like to share are my work with Duluth model domestic battery training, with chronic mental illness in rural communities and with families involved with DCS.

Barbara Scott, MSW, 2006
I am a lifelong resident of Gary, IN. Prior to attending the IUSSW Northwest, I attended Indiana University NW - Nursing Grad - 1987 and Purdue University Cal - Social Sciences 1997. I got interested in social work because I worked for Gary Manpower years ago and I like the field of helping people. My social work practicum placements were at New Beginnings Mental Health and Gary Neighborhood Services. I graduated from IUNW with my MSW in 2006. I am in the ministry-Rose of Sharon Prayer Ministry.

Barbara Warner, MSW, 2007
I live in Columbus, IN and I am currently working as a social worker in a residential drug and alcohol facility. The work is challenging but rewarding in that I see, at times, dramatic changes in the client's appearance and thinking. But most importantly, as a social worker, and advocate, I get the chance to witness personal growth in others and myself as a result of the work. I am reminded every day of the power of change and personal growth and I am honored to be a part of this process.

Erica Rezendes, BSW, 2009
I moved to Denver after receiving my BSW from IU Bloomington. I chose the University of Denver because they have an MSW program that includes a certificate in Animal Assisted Social Work. After completing my MSW, I obtained a job as a school social worker for Laradon, an alternative school/day treatment program that serves students ages 5-21 with developmental disabilities and a mental health diagnosis. I conduct social skills and anger management groups as well as case management for each student on my caseload. There is a wide variety of disabilities and emotional/behavioral disorders that I encounter in this setting, and each day is a learning opportunity. I am currently in the process of creating a proposal to include animal assisted therapy in our interventions with students, as research supports that it would be very beneficial with this population.

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