Dr. Mary Valentich Awarded The Glenn Drover National Award for Outstanding Service: The Canadian Association of Social Workers' Highest Honour

March 23, 2018 – The Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) is pleased to announce that the recipient of the 2018 Glenn Drover Award for Outstanding Service is Dr. Mary Valentich.

Presented every two years to a social worker who is a member of a CASW Partner Organization, it honours outstanding social work practice at the local, provincial, national or international level.  It includes direct services, service on behalf of the profession, advocacy, social policy development, education and research.

“We are thrilled to be honouring Dr. Valentich, as she embodies not only the passion and impact of the profession of social work, but also its diversity,” stated CASW President, Jan Christianson-Wood. “From grassroots, research and education, to policy and political settings, Dr. Valentich has worked in an incredible variety of roles in tireless pursuit of a better world for all of us.” 

Dr. Mary Valentich began her career as a hospital social worker, joining the St. Patrick’s School of Social Welfare at the University of Ottawa in 1968, later transferring to Carleton University. She moved to the University of Calgary in 1976, taking the role of Assistant Dean of the Master of Social Work Program and later, Associate Dean of the Graduate Programs. She also spent three years as Advisor to the President of the University on Women’s issues, reflecting her particular interest in feminist practice and advocacy. 

Outside of her formal employment, Dr. Valentich was a founding  member of two rape crisis centres (Ottawa-1975 and Calgary-1976), founded an out-of-school program that still exists 35 years later, and numerous innovative educational courses and programs, in particular, in human sexuality, assertiveness at work, and professional boundary issues. She also helped found several grassroots groups active in influencing policy and the development of a just and equitable society, for instance, developing the University of Calgary’s first December 6th Memorial in 1990 and initiating what was likely the first Violence Awareness Week on a North American university campus in 1991.

“Dr. Valentich embodies the ideals of social work, fighting untiringly for women’s issues, bringing awareness and understanding around the diversity of human gender and sexuality, working to end racism, address climate change, promote assisted dying legislation and array of other issues that impact us all” added Christianson-Wood. “Her work as a social worker and educator brought institutional change in political spheres, and she has touched the lives of hundreds of students and community members throughout her diverse roles and positions. We are honoured to present her with the most prestigious award offered by the Canadian social work community.”

The national award is being presented to Dr. Valentich during the Alberta College of Social Workers’ Annual Conference and Awards Luncheon in Edmonton, Alberta on March 23, 2018.

For more information contact:

Fred Phelps, MSW, RSW

Executive Director