The UT Arlington School
of Social Work Advisory Council has created a new, $250,000 endowed
professorship focused on issues of family violence in honor of the Arlington
police officer and University alumna killed in the line of duty last year.
Advisory Council members
committed a total $125,000 to The University of Texas at Arlington to create
the endowment, a gift that is believed to be the first of its kind from a
University advisory group. That sum has been doubled through the Maverick Match program, which pairs
natural gas royalties with new endowment commitments to encourage philanthropic
Social Work Professor
Beverly Black, who joined the University in 2008, has been named the
professorship’s first recipient.
“Family violence can
destroy generations without respect of class or creed. It is a scourge on the
American family,” said Scott Ryan, dean of the UT Arlington School of Social
Work and the Jenkins Garrett Professor of Social Work. “This kind of private
support is critical to elevating the research of faculty who have distinguished
themselves in the field of family violence prevention and to establishing best
practices for resolving conflict before it is too late.”
Robert Gladney, chairman
of the social work advisory council, said he and fellow members were moved to
create the Jillian Michelle Smith Professorship in Family Violence Research by
the heroic actions of Officer Smith.
“We knew that naming the
professorship for her would serve both to honor her actions and inspire future
scholars to develop research-based practical solutions for the terrible problem
of family violence,” said Gladney, who is division vice president
Jillian Michelle Smith graduated
cum laude from UT Arlington in August 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in
criminology and criminal justice and a minor in sociology. She graduated from
the Arlington Police Department in August 2010 and was responding to a domestic
violence call when she was fatally shot in December 2010.
Smith was heralded as a
hero because she placed herself between the gunman and a child, ultimately
saving the girl.
Doug Smith, father of
the fallen officer, said he and his family are honored by the new endowment.
“If my daughter were
here, she would be very pleased,” he said. “Anything positive that results –
for example, better training for police officers responding to family violence
calls – would be good.”
Arlington Police Chief
Theron Bowman said Smith understood that her life’s calling was to help others
experience the kind of caring and stability she experienced in her own life.
“I know that Officer
Smith would be honored that her battle against family violence continues,”
Bowman said. “Her legacy is secure through the dozens of future beneficiaries
of the endowment bearing her name.”
Black, who also is
director of UT Arlington’s doctoral social work program, has
focused her previous research on sexual assault, adolescent dating violence,
prevention programming and domestic violence – an issue she believes must be
addressed early with young people.
The UT Arlington School
of Social Work offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs focused on
enhancing social work education and preparing students for professional
practice. To learn more, visit http://www.uta.edu/ssw/.
The University of Texas
at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of 33,449 students in the
heart of North Texas. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more.
The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.