|Described as a charismatic leader with great vision, integrity and curiosity, Bertram Beck had a distinguished career in social work. Bertram Beck's illustrious career began with a Masters in Social Work in 1942 from the University of Chicago. His outstanding social work career began as a psychiatric social worker 1942-46 for the United States Air Force. At the end of the war, Beck continued his career with the Community Service Society of New York as a family caseworker. He moved into administrative leadership with the Bureau of Public Affairs which contributed significantly to the lives of urban youth. He directed the Special Juvenile Delinquency Project of the United States Children's Bureau; was executive director of Mobilization for Youth, Inc. in New York City; and the executive director of the Henry Street Settlement Urban Life Center. Additionally, he was the author of two books and numerous journal articles.
Recognized for his energy commitment and service, Beck was given the honor of Social Work Pioneer, an honor bestowed by the National Association of Social Workers. Beck was elected to the original board of NASW and became its first Deputy Director. Other awards include the Parents' Magazine Medal for Services to Children in 1954.
He was known to have an impact on any group he was in. Over the years his committee service included: Vice President, Board of Directors, Citizens' Committee for Children; Vice President, American Parents' Committee, Inc.; Member, Demonstration Project Panel; President's Committee on Juvenile Delinquency and Youth Development; Co-Chairman, Inner City Task Force, Department of Health, Education and Welfare Youth Development Administration; Member, Board of Directors, National Federation of Settlements and Neighborhood Centers; and Member, Advisory Council to the New York State Commission of Welfare.
Bertram Beck came to Fordham in 1985 as a professor of social service, lecturing students on social policy. Previously he had been a lecturer at Smith College, School of Social Work. His first-hand knowledge of social services, enthusiasm and optimism led to his appointment as Associate Dean in 1987. In 1996 he became Special Assistant to the Dean, a position he held at the time of his death in 2000. At Fordham Mr. Beck was instrumental in creating the managed care institute and the religion and poverty institute, which was named in his honor prior to his death. "He was a real Renaissance man", said Dean Quaranta. "He traveled widely, was a gourmet cook, a devotee of the arts - He was just a wonderful role model."