By Janet Sassi
Mary Ann Quaranta, D.S.W.
The Fordham community mourned the loss on Wednesday, Dec. 16, of Mary Ann Quaranta, D.S.W. (GSS ’50), former dean of the University’s Graduate School of Social Service (GSS).
Quaranta served as dean of GSS for 25 years before taking an appointment in 2000 as provost of Marymount College. She served at Marymount until 2004, when she was named special assistant to the president for community and diocesan relations. Even when complications from illness in 2007 restricted her mobility, Quaranta continued to serve the public good.
Mary Ann Quaranta was in many ways the life and soul of the Graduate School of Social Services,” said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham. “Her scholarship and vision helped shape the school’s direction, and her tireless effort on its behalf, and on behalf of several generations of students, made the school what it is today. Her intellect, her fire, and her generous commitment to GSS and to Fordham will be sorely missed.”
“I had the good fortune of knowing Dr. Quaranta before coming to Fordham,” said Peter Vaughan, Ph.D., dean of GSS. “She was a leader in the profession of social work who cared deeply about service provision to the most vulnerable persons and groups among us, and until last month was involved in efforts to provide care and compassion to those persons.”
Under Quaranta’s leadership, GSS acquired national prominence as a school of social work that receives consistently high rankings in U.S. News & World Report and which brought in record levels of grant and research funding. Quaranta also developed GSS’ first doctoral program in social work.
Among Quaranta’s achievements as dean was the school’s receipt of the National Institute of Mental Health research grant on Hispanic mental health. GSS was the eighth social work school in the country to be awarded the grant, and the only one without a university medical school.
Several of GSS’ prominent programs were initiated under Quaranta’s tenure. These include the following:
• CHILDREN F.I.R.S.T., the Children and Families Institute for Research, Support and Training;
• the Interdisciplinary Center for Family and Child Advocacy (in collaboration with Fordham Law);
• the National Center for Schools and Communities (in collaboration with the Graduate School of Education).
Quaranta also was instrumental in developing the Ravazzin Center for Social Work Research on Aging and the Institute for Managed Care and Social Work, both at Fordham.
She received her bachelor of science degree from the College of Mount Saint Vincent, her master of social work degree from Fordham and her doctorate of social work from Columbia.
Quaranta served as president of the National Association of Social Workers from 1981 to 1983, and served in responsible positions, both nationally and in New York State. Professional affiliations included the Council of Social Work Education, the National Conference on Social Work, the National Conference of Catholic Charities, American Association of University Professions and New York Board of Social Welfare.
Quaranta is survived by son, Kevin J. Quaranta, Esq. (FCRH ’78, LAW ’81), daughter Mary Beth Morrissey, Esq., M.P.H., (FCRH ’79, LAW ’82) and eight grandchildren, including granddaughter Kathleen Morrissey (CBA ’07). Mary Beth Morrissey is a doctoral degree candidate in GSS and works with Fordham’s Ravazzin Center.