Dean Grover C. Gilmore, PhD
Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Dean in Applied Social Sciences
Professor of Psychology and Social Work
Dean Gilmore in the News:
Aug 19 2015
The entire Mandel School community is deeply saddened today to learn of the death of civil rights icon Louis Stokes, who was a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Mandel School since his retirement from Congress in 1998. He died Tuesday, August 18, at the age of 90, after being diagnosed in late June with an aggressive form of cancer.
“I grieve in the news that Congressman Stokes has passed away,” said Dean Grover “Cleve” Gilmore. “While I am very saddened by his passing, I rejoice in the accomplishments of his life. He truly has made a difference in our nation, our region, and in the lives of the students, faculty, and staff of the Mandel School. Each semester I read the wonderful teaching evaluations that he received. He brought advocacy and policy reform to life for our students. They were inspired and supported by his example and his advice. He also was generous in giving his time and wisdom to students, alumni, and faculty who sought his advice. He was a great man and leaves an indelible mark on our lives.”
An active member of the Mandel School faculty, Stokes taught classes, advised his fellow faculty, and even spent his 90th birthday at the school. But his story begins on February 23, 1925, when he was born in Cleveland. His father, Charles, passed away when Louis and his brother Carl were very young. The boys were raised by their mother, Louise, who had high expectations for her sons. She worked hard so that her sons would not have to stay in the housing projects and on welfare; the key for them, she believed, was education. Stokes took this advice to heart and dreamed of becoming a lawyer.
After graduating from high school, Stokes joined the army and served in the south. His passion for black advocacy was ignited by his treatment as a second-class citizen in the country he was serving. Stokes returned to Cleveland after serving for three years, attending the Cleveland College at Western Reserve University in the evenings and working as a clerk for the Treasury during the day. He earned his J.D. from Cleveland Marshall Law School in 1953. Louis spent the next years establishing himself as a criminal lawyer and opened a firm, Stokes and Stokes, with his brother, Carl. He quickly became one of the top civil rights lawyers in the state and took several high profile cases to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Louis entered the political arena fortuitously in 1968, when new congressional district lines were drawn based on one of his Supreme Court victories. With the encouragement of Carl, the newly elected mayor of Cleveland, Louis ran for Congress and became the first African American from Ohio to be elected to that position. He served as a U.S. Congressman for thirty years. Among his achievements in office were chairing the Appropriations Committee, which allowed him to send millions of federal dollars back to Ohio, founding the Congressional Black Caucus, and chairing the Ethics Committee. Stokes prided himself on always serving his constituents with excellence and for advocating for those without power, especially minority groups.
In the 1970s, then dean M.C. “Terry” Hokenstad, PhD, worked with Stokes to set up the Washington Semester program for Mandel School students, providing a number of students with the opportunity to do their second year field placement in Washington, D.C. Stokes held an annual reception for the program and personally identified many of the field placement opportunities.
“Congressman Stokes actively supported and participated in the educational programs of the Mandel School for over 40 years,” recalls Dr. Hokenstad, a Distinguished University Professor and Ralph S. and Dorothy P. Schmitt Professor. “He was a good friend and then colleague who contributed expertise in the classroom and informal conversation. He will be missed personally and professionally.”
Stokes retired from Congress in 1998 at the age of 73, but retirement did little to slow him down. He came home to Cleveland and he became Senior Counsel at Squire, Sanders, and Dempsey LLP, a global law firm. He also took on the role of Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Mandel School. Upon his appointment Stokes said, “It is and honor to return in this capacity to the institution where I acquired my own education. This appointment enables me to share the knowledge and expertise I have acquired over thirty years in public service with students and the community I love.”
Once on faculty, Stokes made a significant impact on the school, his fellow faculty, and students. He and former dean Arthur Naparstak designed the Louis Stokes Fellowship Program, which focuses on the education of African-American and Hispanic professionals in community development to transform urban areas and neighborhoods to improve the quality of life for residents through economic, housing, and civic development. The goal is to return Stokes Fellows to their communities with enhanced skills and to continue their growth in leadership in order to effect change. Since the initial cohort in 2001, more than 20 Stokes Fellows have graduated from the Mandel School and continue Stokes’ legacy of service and advocacy.
During his time on campus, the congressman sponsored the Louis Stokes Leadership Symposium on Social Issues and the Community, which has featured such speakers as U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, U.S. Rep. Charles B. Rangel from New York, and U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge, who now holds the seat Stokes filled for 30 years.
Students also benefitted from Stokes’ guest lectures on social policy and civil rights. His message students was powerful and clear and he had a great appreciation for the work they had chosen to dedicate themselves to. “There is nothing better than the opportunity to serve people,” he taught. “Continue to stand for and believe in justice, eliminate pediments to equal opportunity, use your education to help people, and seek justice for those who don’t have it.”
He also often told the social work students, “I want to thank you (social workers), you sure changed my life.” Stokes knew from personal experience, having grown up poor in a rough neighborhood and being visited by social workers when he was a child — one of whom was an alumna who made a lasting impression. In 2005, the Mandel School’s (then) oldest living graduate, Ella Mae Cheeks Johnson, came into Stokes’ life — again. As she wrote in her memoir, “It Is Well With My Soul: The Extraordinary Life of a 106-Year-old Woman,” Johnson had been one of two the social workers from the Aid to Dependent Children who personally visited the Stokes family when Louis and Carl were young. When the civil rights legend met the alumna again later in life, Stokes and Johnson recalled each other fondly.
“My impression of Mrs. Cheeks was that she was doing a tough job with compassion,” Stokes said. They formed a friendship in her last years. Stokes relayed to her that he found it “incredibly rewarding to interact with students committed to helping build a more just society, working to eradicate the effects of injustice and discrimination.”
Jul 20 2015
Yesterday, former U.S. Representative Louis Stokes, Ohio’s first black congressman and a Distinguished Visiting Professor on our faculty who regularly lectures classes on the civil rights movement and community activism, released a statement that he has been diagnosed with lung and brain cancer.
“We have been fortunate to know Louis Stokes as a colleague and friend at the Mandel School,” said Dean Cleve Gilmore, pictured on right with Mr. Stokes at the 90th birthday party thrown at the school last February for the civil rights legend. “He is a gentle man but one who is a courageous fighter for those in need. His example by word and deed has inspired us and our students.”
Please join the school in keeping him and his family in your thoughts and prayers. If you’d like to leave a message of encouragement, you can do so on Facebook or email a message to Dean Gilmore’s aid Kristina Soja (Kristina.Soja@case.edu).
Historic $1 Million Commitment by The Higley Fund of the Cleveland Foundation Toward Mandel School Renovation
Feb 25 2015
Gift creates the Albert and Beverly Higley Research Commons, encouraging collaboration in teaching, learning, scholarship and research
A $1 million commitment from The Higley Fund of the Cleveland Foundation – the largest single contribution from the fund in its history – will support creation of more collaborative research and education spaces as part of the $9.2 million renovation of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University.
Announced Tuesday evening at a special celebration at the school, the commitment builds on a long history of engagement between the Higley family and the Mandel School. In fact, it dates back to 1922, when Mildred Higley, MSSA 1922, earned the degree that allowed her to begin a career in social work, and extends through to this most recent commitment.
The Higley Fund, a supporting organization of the Cleveland Foundation, has contributed more than $272,000 in scholarships and youth-focused research grants at the Mandel School. The Higley Fund, originally established in 1994 by Beverly and Albert M. Higley Jr., embodies the philanthropic spirit of three generations of the Higley family. Two of their children, Bruce G. Higley and Sharon Higley Watts, represent the next generation as members of The Higley Fund board.
“Our connection to Case Western Reserve University began nearly a century ago,” said Bruce G. Higley, Chairman of The Albert M. Higley Co. and president of The Higley Fund. “This commitment to the Mandel School reflects that legacy, as well as our belief that well-constructed spaces can have a transformative effect on what happens inside them.”
In 1925, Albert (Ab) Higley founded The Albert M. Higley Co., which today numbers over 100 employees and produces an average of $175 million in construction projects each year. The firm has an active practice in higher education, and has built many Case Western Reserve projects including Tomlinson (1948) and Crawford (1968) halls, as well as the Kent Hale Smith Science and Engineering Building (1994) and the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Community Studies Center (2007).
Albert Higley, Jr., became chairman and CEO of the company in 1971 and launched The Higley Fund through the Cleveland Foundation 23 years later. Beverly Higley was intimately involved with The Higley Fund and for many years also played an active role in the important work of the Cleveland Sight Center. In recognition of the new commitment, the Mandel School will name space on the second and third floors of the renovated building the Albert and Beverly Higley Research Commons.
“The commitment that the Higley Fund of the Cleveland Foundation feels to lifting the hearts and minds of others is evident in every commitment it has made over the past 21 years,” President Barbara R. Snyder said. “We at Case Western Reserve and the Mandel School are deeply humbled by this new gift, and dedicated to proving the family’s confidence in our work well founded.”
The Higley Fund of the Cleveland Foundation focuses on social service organizations providing basic needs – food, shelter, clothing, medical care, and support – to those living in Greater Cleveland. It has contributed to organizations ranging from the American Red Cross, Greater Cleveland Foodbank to the Salvation Army.
“For more than two decades, we have been privileged to address the changing needs of our community through our partnership with the Cleveland Foundation,” said Sharon Higley Watts, First Vice President of The Higley Fund. “This gift ensures the next generation of Mandel students will thrive in an environment focused on collaborative learning and innovative research that strengthens the compassionate care provided in Greater Cleveland and beyond.”
U.S. News & World Report ranks the Mandel School’s master’s degree program the ninth in the nation. Launched a century ago as leading Cleveland philanthropists recognized the need for professional training for social work, the Mandel School has achieved particular distinction for its work on youth violence, international social work education, and urban poverty and community development.
The school’s primary building was completed in 1990, and its design reflects an era in education more focused on individual learning and scholarship. But as the world itself has grown ever-more connected through technology and other advances, so too have approaches to education and research. Announced in the spring of 2013, the renovation project aims to provide students, staff and faculty space that encourages interaction, teamwork, and broad collaborations. All told the effort is expected to involve renovation of just over half of the building’s existing square footage (32, 440 of 63,594 total) as well as the addition of 3,700 square feet.
“I cannot begin to convey how much it means to our entire school and alumni community to see this project become so much closer to reality,” said Grover “Cleve” Gilmore, dean of the Mandel School. “We feel profoundly honored by the fund’s historic gift, and extraordinarily appreciative of the entire Higley family.”
For more information, media may contact:
Susan Christopher, The Cleveland Foundation: 216.615.7591
Bill Lubinger, Director of Media Relations, Case Western Reserve University: 216.368.4443
About Case Western Reserve University
Case Western Reserve University is one of the country’s leading private research institutions. Located in Cleveland, we offer a unique combination of forward-thinking educational opportunities in an inspiring cultural setting. Our leading-edge faculty engage in teaching and research in a collaborative, hands-on environment. Our nationally recognized programs include arts and sciences, dental medicine, engineering, law, management, medicine, nursing and social work. About 4,200 undergraduate and 5,600 graduate students comprise our student body. Visit case.edu to see how Case Western Reserve thinks beyond the possible.
About the Cleveland Foundation
The Cleveland Foundation is the world’s first community foundation and one of the largest today, with assets of $2.1 billion and 2014 grants of $98 million. Through the generosity of donors, the foundation improves the lives of Greater Clevelanders by building community endowment, addressing needs through grantmaking and providing leadership on vital issues.