The Beck Institute’s Director, Dr. Anita Lightburn, is a Professor in Fordham’s Graduate School of Social Service. Since 2004, Dr. Lightburn has been a key leader in the work of the Beck Institute. Dr. Lightburn supports the continued work that began under the leadership of Bertram M. Beck. Work with the faith community has focused on furthering recognition of the important role the faith community has in meeting the needs of the most marginalized men and women. This has been through the understanding and development of new ways to use restorative justice as a foundation for living faith in action. Mentoring Doctoral candidates and Social Work Master's students has been a very important part of this work and a joy for Dr. Lightburn.
Dr. Lightburn brings over 40 years of teaching clinical practice and broad experience in education, program evaluation and intervention research. Her scholarly publications focus on community-based clinical practice and studies of innovative mental health service programs. Previously, she was Dean of the Smith College School of Social Work and a Professor at Columbia University School of Social Work.
Dr. Dale Lindquist was appointed as Associate Director of the Institute. Together with Dr. Lightburn they presented the work of the Beck Institute at the first national conference on "Social Work for Social Justice: Strengthening Social Work Practice through the Integration of Catholic Social Teaching", St Paul, Minnesota, June 3-6. Their presentation, "Celebrating Faith in Action: Capacity Building Through a University Institute's Social Justice Mission for the Poor", has been published in a Resource Guide: Social Work for Social Justice, School of Social Work, St Paul: Minnesota, School of Social Work, College of St Catherine and St Thomas.
During this important transitional period, the Institute gained the leadership of co-directors Dr. Anita Lightburn and Dr. Gemma Beckley. Dean Peter Vaughan and Vice President Gerald Blaszczak, SJ, with Fordham’s new President, Joseph M. McShane, SJ, emphasized the importance of furthering the Jesuit Mission for social justice though strong educational programs. A renewed vision emerged that became part of the Graduate School of Social Service's strategic plan for centers of excellence.
Dr. John Cosgrove, Associate Dean of Research became, the Acting Director.
Annie Rawlings was named the first director of the Beck Institute and was instrumental in developing a host of programs and publications that forwarded the initial vision for Beck (chronicled in our achievement section). She was an inspiring champion of the Beck mission to develop a base for advocacy in congregations throughout New York City. Her advocacy work continued as a member of the Beck Advisory Board and in her position at the Inter-faith Center. It is most unfortunate that her untimely death in the Spring of 2014 left us without her indomitable loving spirit.
1999 - Bertram M. Beck
Described as a charismatic leader with great vision, integrity and curiosity, Bertram Beck had a distinguished career in social work. After earning a Masters in Social Work in 1942 from the University of Chicago, he served as a psychiatric social worker for the United States Air Force from 1942-1946. 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.
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, 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."