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YU News

The Torch is Being Passed

In January 2021, Froma Benerofe, the current chair of the Wurzweiler School of Social Work Board of Overseers, handed over the leadership of the Board to Julia Kagan Baumann, who joined the Board in 2014.

Ms. Benerofe, who has had a long a career in social work, joined the Board in 1998 and assumed the chairmanship in 2011, for a total of almost 23 years of service. She was introduced to the Board by Daniel Forman, senior philanthropic adviser in the YU Department of Institutional Advancement, and became a member because of her strong advocacy of social work as a profession and education as a civilizing principle.

“Over the course of the past two decades,” said Ms. Benerofe, “Wurzweiler has been a leader in helping social workers adjust to changing times, especially over the past year, where the faculty and students have worked diligently to shift the curriculum online and their practices into telehealth.” She is especially complimentary of Dr. Danielle Wozniak, dean of Wurzweiler, whom she credits with five years of expert and inspiring leadership, and of the faculty, whom she describes as “the kind of people who don’t say ‘no’ and always step up to take on more.”

While she is stepping down from the chairmanship, she intends to continue serving on the Board and providing whatever help she can to ensure the growth and evolution of the school.

Ms. Baumann, the former editor of Consumer Reports and Psychology Today and currently Senior Editor, Personal Finance, at Investopedia, has a history with the school and the Board through her father, Saul, and her brother, David. Saul Kagan, who died in 2013 and who for many years was executive vice president of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, served on the Board in many capacities and was honored in 1990 by Wurzweiler for a lifetime of service to the survival of the Jewish people. Proceeds were used to establish the David Michael Kagan Memorial Scholarship Fund at Wurzweiler in memory of David, who passed away at the young age of 26.

As Ms. Baumann said, “I joined the Board to honor my father's commitment, to honor my brother, and because I believe that social workers have a special mission to heal the world in these complicated times. Helping educate the next generation of helpers and healers is a mission I believe in strongly, one that has only been strengthened in my six years of working on the board.”

Both women are in synch when it comes to predicting Wurzweiler’s course of action over the next five years. They agree, as Ms. Baumann stated it, that the “the effects of the pandemic—medical, economic and societal—have exposed underlying issues of inequality and structural racism that Wurzweiler will tackle with new approaches, techniques and skills.” As Ms. Benerofe noted, “Wurzweiler is already a leader in these areas, and we both look forward to growing that leadership.”