In 1994, Anne Louise Stanford Chastain of Thomasville established a scholarship at Valdosta State University for future Division of Social Work students and funded it each and every year. When she died on Oct. 21, 2010, she remembered the program and provided enough funds to maintain it.
â€œHer recent bequest endows the scholarship,â€ said Sandra Fletcher, VSUâ€™s director of planned and major gifts. â€œThe scholar ship is for students pursuing a masterâ€™s degree in social work, with preference given to Thomas County residents.â€
Dr. Louis Levy, former provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, said Chastain was instrumental in helping VSU organize support for a Master of Social Work Program. He described her as a â€œvery determined lady.â€
The Division of Social Work at VSU began in 1995 and has educated roughly 300 social workers who currently practice in Georgia and beyond.
â€œShe has given monetary gifts and supported the social work program throughout its history,â€ Levy added. â€œThis most recent bequest is a gift to our students. It will allow them to come out of the program without the heavy burden of loans.â€
Chastain, who was 102 years old when she died, earned her masterâ€™s degree from Columbia Universityâ€™s School of Social Work in New York City, when Franklin D. Roosevelt was president, and went on to become the first social worker in Thomas County. She served as director of welfare at what is now known as the Division of Family and Children Services for three decades, and she served as the director of social services at Southwestern State Hospital for seven years.
â€œShe was a delightful and practical person,â€ Fletcher said. â€œI always enjoyed visiting with her.â€
â€œShe lived a nice long life of contributing to the happiness and welfare of others,â€ added Levy. â€œWe will always be indebted to her.â€
Fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, VSUâ€™s Division of Social Work offers a Master of Social Work Program that focuses on multi-level, advanced generalist practice. Students learn about both clinical and community practice and are able to develop the requisite skills to practice in many settings, from schools to hospitals, law enforcement to hospice. Students in the program can attend classes on campus full time or part time, or they can take advantage of an innovative web-based program that requires them to meet face-to-face only five weekends a semester.