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April 28, 2011

Obituary: Anne Rose Jones

ojones-bSocial work professor emerita Anne Rose Jones, who was the founder and director of the School of Social Work’s undergraduate program, died April 16, 2011. She was 89.

Jones was well-established in the local and regional social work agency scene prior to joining the Pitt faculty in 1968 as adjunct assistant professor.

A native of New Castle, Jones received a bachelor’s degree from Livingstone College in Salisbury, N.C., in 1944, and took a job working in a migrant camp and children’s care home in Homer, N.Y.

She came to Pittsburgh in 1948 to join the staff of the Termon Avenue Home for Children on the city’s North Side. During her long career, Jones also held positions with Community Action Pittsburgh, ACTION-Housing, the Anna B. Heldman Community Center and the Irene Kaufman Settlement House.

She was director of training at the city’s anti-poverty program in the 1960s, at one point serving as acting executive director.

Jones enrolled at Pitt in the early 1960s, earning a Master of Social Work degree in 1964. Following her faculty appointment here in 1968, she was named director and charged with developing the new undergraduate program in 1970.

She was promoted to associate professor in 1972, earned a PhD in higher education here in 1978 and was promoted to professor in 1983. She retired as professor emerita in 1989.

In 1973-75 Jones served as acting chair of the Department  of Black Studies. Her University positions also included service as vice president of the University Senate (1975); co-chair of Equipoise (1981); co-chair of the affirmative action committee (1981-84); member of Faculty Assembly and Senate Council (1980-82); member of the Provost’s advisory committee on women’s concerns (1984), and member of the bicentennial committee (1987).

Long-time friend and colleague Morton Coleman, professor emeritus of social work, knew Jones for 55 years.

“I loved Anne,” Coleman said. “I knew her from our days together at the Settlement House and we worked on the Pittsburgh anti-poverty program together before she came to our school. Her maturity, thoughtfulness and decency made her the perfect social worker. She was a tremendous faculty member. I don’t think there was ever, ever any faculty member who was more liked and respected by both students and faculty, and the staff, too. She just was a uniquely qualified person. I thought of her as my saint.”

Jones’s former student and advisee, Tracy Soska, now an assistant professor and director of continuing education at the School of Social Work, was a member of the second graduating class of the BASW program developed by Jones.

“Once I met Anne, I knew I had come home to Pitt and to the social work family. She was more than a program director; she was our nurturer and shepherd through our pre-professional education,” Soska said.

“Not only did she lead me into the social work profession by her teaching but, more importantly, by her outstanding example of service and her ability to bring her practical experience into the classroom.”

Jones always had time for students and took a personal interest in them, Soska said. “Her smile and comforting way were always uplifting, but she could also dispense tough love and high expectation — you didn’t want to disappoint her, as she was so kind and supportive,” he said. “I am forever grateful for her helping me find a home in the school as first a student and later a faculty member. I hope I have lived up to her high expectations of me and her example as a social work practitioner and educator.”

Among many awards, Jones was named a most distinguished woman by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 1969 and was named Woman of the Year by the Business and Professional Women’s Association in 1971. She was honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award from the School of Social Work in 1985.

She also received the Sojourner Truth Award, the Neighborhood Centers Association Special Recognition honor and a proclamation from the City of Pittsburgh for commitment to civil rights and multicultural understanding.

Jones served on the boards of numerous organizations including Womanspace East, Three Rivers Adoption Council, Hill House Association, the National Association of Black Social Workers and the Allegheny County children and youth advisory committee.

She is survived by her daughter, Connie Rose-Leagiton; son-in-law, Lee Leagiton; nephews Frank Derr and Ronald Hill; great-nephews Travis and Matthew Hill, and numerous cousins.

—Peter Hart

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