Melinda Hamrick '69 Graduate Award in The Joint Master of Social Work Program
When Melinda Hamrick '69 arrived on UNC Greensboro's campus in 1965, she didn't plan on staying. Her heart was set on UNC-Chapel Hill, and she planned to transfer after her first year.
"My mother had graduated from UNCG's commercial program in the 1930s," reflects Hamrick. "I fully intended to transfer as soon as I could, but once I got to campus, I fell in love with it."
Hamrick started out as a pre-med major, hoping to become a pediatrician. She soon discovered she could work with more children and create a greater difference in their everyday lives through social work. In the 1960s, there was no Bachelor of Social Work Program, so Hamrick pursued a degree in sociology, with a concentration in social work.
"The education I received at UNCG was everything I could hope for. I got a position in public social services quickly after graduating, which led to a rewarding 32-year career in foster care and adoption services."
Hamrick's career included working as a foster care and social worker, and then serving as the director of the Moore County Department of Social Services, a regional director, and an assistant director of the State Division of Social Services. In these roles, she oversaw many talented and caring social workers. Hamrick also saw the growth of the challenges that plague public social services today, including the difficulty of retaining top social workers.
"Social work is a calling. It requires people with a special type of spirit, but many social workers end up leaving the profession for private practices. I wanted to help stem that tide."
Hamrick did so by establishing a charitable gift annuity with her alma mater. The Melinda Hamrick '69 Graduate Award in the Joint Master's Degree in Social Work Program will support graduate students accepted into UNCG's and NC A&T's Joint Master in Social Work Program who hope to pursue careers in public social services.
"Even when I was at school, we had a close relationship with NC A&T," says Hamrick, "often engaging in coursework and hearing lectures at both campuses. I'm incredibly glad to support students studying in this excellent program."
Hamrick looks forward to creating a legacy supporting generations of social workers to come.
"Social workers make a profound difference in society, and we need to encourage them to continue this necessary, life-changing work. I hope planned gifts like mine will help more passionate individuals dedicate their careers to public service."