4th GSSW Dean – Kenneth W. Kindelsperger (1914-2000)

KENNETH W. KINDELSPERGER (1914-2000)
4th GSSW Dean (1971-1978)
Interim Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs (1978-1979)
Acting Dean, Colorado Women’s College, 1980-82 (supervising its merger with DU)
Recipient, Outstanding Service to the University of Denver Award, 1986

Kindelsperger pic

Ken Kindelsperger was born in Galesberg, Illinois. Ken received a B.S. and M.S. degree in social group work from George Williams College (Chicago) in 1942. He completed his doctorate at the Syracuse School of Social Service Administration in 1956. He held various social work positions in Chicago while attending college and graduate school. During WW II, Ken served as Lt. Commander, U.S. Naval Reserves, which included a stint as Fleet Morale Officer at Pearl Harbor. After the war, he was the Secretary for Planning and Research for the Council of Social Agencies at Syracuse, NY, and eventually joined the social work faculty at University of Buffalo in 1950. Subsequently, he served as dean of schools of social work at three universities: Syracuse University, University of Louisville (KT), and University of Denver.

Two major themes highlight his career as a social work educator and administrator. First, he was committed to international social work. He worked for two years in India, studying social problems and helping to establish schools of social work. Later, he made two visits to South Vietnam as a consultant for the Agency for International Development, studying social welfare conditions and making recommendations. He traveled to many other countries and served on numerous international committees at CSWE and other social work organizations. Second, he was deeply committed to the advancement of civil rights for oppressed racial and ethnic groups. As Dean of the Kent School of Social Work at Louisville, he participated in the march on the state capital to demand passage of civil rights legislation.

He came to GSSW during the time when student protests over the Vietnam War and racial discrimination were at fever pitch. Although faced with the loss of federal stipends for social work training, instituted by the Nixon administration, he nonetheless managed to increase significantly the number of MSW and doctoral students of color, and also increased the faculty of color. He was a widely respected administrator, known as hard working, compassionate, and fair.
Ken and his older brother, Walter, were both deans of social work at the same time–the only known set of “brother deans” in the history of the profession.

Kindelsperger lecture pic

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