NASW Pioneers Biography Index

The National Association of Social Workers Foundation is pleased to present the NASW Social Work Pioneers®. NASW Pioneers are social workers who have explored new territories and built outposts for human services on many frontiers. Some are well known, while others are less famous outside their immediate colleagues, and the region where they live and work. But each one has made an important contribution to the social work profession, and to social policies through service, teaching, writing, research, program development, administration, or legislation.

The NASW Pioneers have paved the way for thousands of other social workers to contribute to the betterment of the human condition; and they are are role models for future generations of social workers. The NASW Foundation has made every effort to provide accurate Pioneer biographies.  Please contact us at to provide missing information, or to correct inaccurate information. It is very important to us to correctly tell these important stories and preserve our history.  

Please note, an asterisk attached to a name reflects Pioneers who have passed away. All NASW Social Work Pioneers® Bios are Copyright © 2021 National Association of Social Workers Foundation. All Rights Reserved.

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Kurt Reichert Photo
Kurt Reichert (1916-2006)

Kurt Reichert was born in Born, Austria, in 1916. He became a U.S. citizen in 1943. He received a BA in 1940 from Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota, an MA from the University of Chicago, School of Social Work, in 1946, and a PhD in 1955 from the School of Social Work, University of Minnesota, with a minor in Public Health. His dissertation was "The Management of Family and Socio-Environemtal Problems as Viewed by Physicians in Private Practice in Minneapolis, Minnesota."

Kurt's professional career included working with the Jewish Family and Community Service, Chicago as a caseworker; U. S. Navy Hospital Corps; Scholarship and Guidance Association, Chicago; Home Service, Hennepin County Chapter, American Red Cross; Assistant Professor and Chief Psychiatric Social Worker, University of Minnesota Medical School and Hospitals; Cultural Affairs Division, United States High Commission in Germany; Lecturer of Social Work, Research Associate, University of Minnesota School of Social Work; Consultant and Special Lecturer in Public Health, School of Social Work, Syracuse University; Director, Office of Public Health Social Work, New York Department of Health; Social Work Consultant, VISTA, Office of Economic Opportunity; Associate Professor of Social Work and Social Research, Bryn Mawr College; Director, Division of Standards and Accreditation, Council on Social Work Education; Dean, School of Social Work San Diego State University; Professor and Coordinator, Health Concentration, School of Social Work, San Diego State University; and, Professor Emeritus of Social Work, San Diego University.

His professional activities and affilitations were many. They included Chairman, New York State Council of Chapters; President-Elect and President NASW (1962-1965); Steering Committee, San Diego Region; Council of Social Work Education; Society for Hospital Social Work Directors; American Public Health Association; National Conference on Social Welfare; International Council on Soicial Welfare; International Schools of Social Work; State Welfare Conference - Minnesota and New York; and International Federation of Social Workers.

His awards were also many, including: Outstanding Service Award, Social Work Section, American Public Health Association; Outstanding Achievement Award, Regent of the University of Minnesota; Professional Leadership Award, National Association of Social Workers, with his wife, Betty Reichert; Social Work Educators of the Year Award, California Chapter, National Association of Social Workers; and honorable Mention by National Association of University Stations for broadscast "Outstanding" with his wife Betty Reichert.

He was the author and contributor of approximately 40 papers and publications and was a reviewer and/or consultant of a number of editorial boards. Kurt died on May 14, 2006. He planned to participate in the San Diego Actors Alliance Festival in July, performing a reading of Chekhov's THE HARMFULNESS OF TOBACCO. His slot was filled with a recitation of his poems, performed by several of his many friends in the San Diego theater community in which he had been active for 25 years.

Newly Inducted NASW Social Work Pioneer Hortense McClinton 2015

Nominate A New NASW Pioneer

Please note, Pioneer nominations made between today’s date through March 31, 2023, will not be reviewed until spring 2023.

Completed NASW Pioneer nominations can be submitted throughout the year and are reviewed at the June Pioneer Steering Committee Meeting. To be considered at the June meeting, submit your nomination package by March 31. To learn more, visit our Pioneer nomination guidelines.

New Pioneers 

Congratulations newly elected Pioneers!  Pioneers will be inducted at the 2023  Annual Program and Luncheon. Full biographies and event details coming soon.