Southern University at New Orleans’s (SUNO) honored Alumna Link Millie Charles by dedicating its new school of social work – – The Millie M. Charles School of Social Work.
Millie Charles, who founded the SUNO School of Social Work in 1983, is a social worker pioneer, educator, civil rights, community and social justice activist. She was the Social Work dean until her retirement in 2006. She initially was hired at SUNO as a one-person department in 1965 and by the time of her retirement, the Social Work faculty and staff peaked at more than 30 employees.
As a graduate of Dillard University and the University of Southern California’s School of Social Work, Dean Charles has dedicated her career to advocating for those who could not advocate for themselves. Her commitment to social work education is evident by her advocacy to establish a nationwide bachelors of social work degree (BSW) in the early 1970’s and her contributions as a Council of Social Work Education (CSWE) accreditation reviewer. She also is a founding member of the New Orleans Chapter of the National Association of Black Social Workers (NABSW).
She has received numerous awards, such as the 2013 Times Picayune “Loving Cup Award,” the 1995 National Association of Social Workers’ Pioneer Award, an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Dillard University in 1993, Founders’ Award from the New Orleans Chapter of the National Association of Black Social Workers in 1979, and the National Association of Social Workers’ (NASW) Social Worker of the Year in 1975. The Millie M. Charles Endowed Chair of Human Rights and Social Work Endowed Chair was established in 2008.
The University broke ground on the 10.2-million Millie M. Charles School of Social Work Building, located on the SUNO Lake Campus, in November 2015. The 40,000 square-foot building was designed by Waggoner & Ball Architects and constructed by Lamar Contractors.