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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Diana R. Stroud

Pioneering Contributions

Diana R. Stroud, MSW, LCSW, ACSW has built a vibrant career in social work that has been shaped and driven by two key guidelines: Always listen to the client and always support the profession. Through her education and experience in medical settings, child welfare, resource development, administration, and fund-raising, Stroud has created endless opportunities for clients, programs, and organizations to be successful. 

Stroud was director of the Crisis Nursery at the Crittenton Care and Counseling Center in Peoria, Illinois (1987-1991) where she created and developed organizationally strong, innovative, and stable programs for adolescent pregnancy, in-home visits, respite care for children affected by chronic illness and familial chemical dependency, transitional living for homeless youth, and childcare for special needs children. Her ability to build coalitions and consensus among diverse populations, groups and organizations was key to her success. She was also able to initiate contact with government officials and create successful linkages among local state and federal political systems.

During her time at the Peoria Crisis Nursery, she recalled a case involving a battered infant. With prevention firmly in mind, Stroud significantly expanded Nursery’s program by increasing service offerings beyond crisis care for children at risk of abuse and neglect to family counseling, parenting classes, support groups, in-home visits, early childhood development and medical care.

She initiated the first Respite Care Program for drug and alcohol-affected children in Illinois as well as the first Illinois Respite Care Program for HIV/AIDS-affected children and their families. She also developed the Teen Parent Initiative through the Department of Public Aid in response to welfare reform initiatives affecting teen parents in the state. Knowing that effective program development required funding, Stroud wrote grants for the agency and helped to significantly increase the overall agency budget from $225,000 to $2 million. This happened through tracking funding from the federal level through state and local systems. 

As a result of her strong and successful performance in resource development and programming, Stroud was called on to serve as a consultant to the Illinois Attorney General’s Office to address the development of child abuse prevention programs and crisis nurseries throughout Illinois. She also served as consultant to crisis nurseries and respite care organizations nationwide while also taking the lead in developing an Illinois statewide coalition for crisis nurseries and respite care programs.             

Stroud’s contributions through her work at the community, state and national level served to expand opportunities for families in need of crisis support and assistance when confronting child abuse, neglect and substance involvement.  While it is difficult to quantify the numbers positively affected by the services that Stroud helped to provide within her community and state, the benefits of crisis nurseries in Illinois have been documented by researchers and practitioners.

Stroud’s focus on prevention led her to become a founding member of the Prevent Child Abuse Illinois organization in 1990, and where she served as president from 1996-1997. She later turned to managing a fund development program there. The organization remains active in advocating for child abuse prevention to this day.

Career Highlights

Following her time as director of the Crittenton Crisis Nursery, Stroud became the assistant director of Crittenton Care and Counseling Center in Peoria, Illinois, where she continued to use and develop her expertise in policy-making, program development, staff supervision, grant-writing and research, strategic planning, public relations, education and training.

In 1997, Stroud transitioned from Prevent Child Abuse Illinois to a new and challenging arena when she became the assistant dean for Development and Alumni Affairs at the University of Illinois School of Social Work. There she implemented an ambitious development program, and then served as director of development for the Office of the Chancellor and as assistant dean for Advancement and Alumni Affairs for the Graduate School of Library and Information Science.

Throughout her career, Stroud has steadfastly maintained her service to the profession by serving on the NASW Illinois Board, NASW National Board (Treasurer), NASW Assurance Services (President, Treasurer and Secretary), and on the NASW CEO Search Committee.  She has been an NASW member since 1984.

Biographic Data

Stroud was born in Belvidere, Illinois to Raymond and Corinne Tripp. She is the second of four children. Diana and her husband Ronnie are the parents of three adult children and have three grandchildren. Stroud currently lives in Mahomet, Illinois.

She holds a BS in Political Science from Illinois State University and an MSW from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champlain.

Significant Recognition and Awards

Stroud was named Social Worker of the Year by NASW Illinois in 1990. She received the award in recognition of her accomplishments as the director of the Crisis Nursery in Peoria, Illinois. Highlights of her nomination included the work that she did with the residents of the Peoria, Illinois Work Release Center that were approaching their release date. She provided counseling and parent education classes to men and women who were going to be reunited with family after some years of separation. Her award was given in recognition of “excellence in her professional work for the innovativeness of her projects and for the major efforts beyond her professional role.”

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.