The Catholic University of America

April 2, 2013

CUA President Appoints Will C. Rainford as Dean of Social Work


Will C. Rainford

Following an extensive national search, Catholic University President John Garvey has appointed Will C. Rainford as dean of the University’s National Catholic School of Social Service (NCSSS), effective June 1, 2013.

Currently Rainford is director of the Worden School of Social Service at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio. Prior to that, he was director of the Master of Social Work Program at Boise State University.

“The Catholic University of America is pleased to welcome a scholar, administrator, and practitioner of Dr. Rainford’s caliber to lead the National Catholic School of Social Service,” said Garvey. “Dr. Rainford has a clear vision of service within the Catholic intellectual tradition focused on social justice. I am delighted that he will be joining the academic leadership of the University.”

Nationally recognized for his work as a social justice advocate and administrator in social work education, Rainford has received numerous honors, including the Catholic Charities USA Volunteer of the Year, National Association of Social Work-Idaho Social Worker of the Year, and the Boise State University Larry Selland Humanitarian Award. His scholarly work focuses on social development, social work pedagogy, and poverty in America.

CUA Provost James Brennan noted that the University Search Committee tasked with hiring a new dean “worked diligently to find a leader to take NCSSS to a level of research and clinical work that builds on the strong foundation now evident in the school. Moreover, Dr. Rainford has a strong interdisciplinary perspective, which will serve NCSSS students and forge strong collaborations with other parts of the University.”

Rainford earned his Ph.D. in 2002 at the University of California at Berkeley and Master of Social Work at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, where he co-authored legislation that created Missouri Family Development Accounts with Michael Sherraden, director of the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis. He received his Bachelor of Social Work at San Jose State University.

The new dean has extensive social work practice, including experience as a crisis counselor in the Trauma Center at Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland, Calif.; a legislative advocate for the Diocese of Boise, Idaho; and a crisis counselor at an Interfaith Sanctuary Housing Services shelter in Boise. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Mexican American Catholic College in San Antonio.

“As a faithful Catholic who believes strongly in providence, I am blessed and thrilled to be appointed dean of the National Catholic School of Social Service,” said Rainford. “To find myself in this position is an actualization of my commitment to Catholic social teaching. Having met the NCSSS faculty and knowing the reputation of the school, I look forward to getting started and working with this wonderful group of educators.”


MEDIA: For more information, contact Victor Nakas or Mary McCarthy Hines in the Office of Public Affairs at 202-319-5600.



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