SSW Historical Background

School Background

The University of Hawaiʻi began offering a social work training program to students on the undergraduate and graduate levels in September 1936. The courses were designed primarily to train employees of local social work agencies who were college graduates but lacked professional preparation. An integrated one-year program of professional graduate-level study, set up in 1940, served as the basis for the establishment of a School of Social Work. In 1942, the school was provisionally accredited by the American Association of Schools of Social Work. The School of Social Work was fully accredited in January 1948 as a one-year school, awarding a Certificate of Social Work.

A two-year graduate program leading to the master of social work (MSW) degree was approved by the Board of Regents in November 1948, and the school was fully accredited as a two-year Graduate School of Social Work by the American Association of Schools of Social Work in January 1950. In 1950, there were approximately 30 students. The school has since grown to an average enrollment of 300 students in the undergraduate and graduate programs.

The undergraduate program, leading to the degree of bachelor of social work (BSW), was approved by the Board of Regents in October 1976. The BSW program was initiated in January 1977.

In February 1991, the Board of Regents approved the provisional status of the PhD Program in Social Welfare. The program began in 1991. In May 2003, the BOR approved the permanent status of the PhD Program.

The school's BSW and MSW programs were fully reaccredited for eight years by the Commission on Accreditation of the Council on Social Work Education in 1994. The council is the national accrediting body for professional schools of social work.

In 1986, for the 50th Anniversary of the School of Social Work, a booklet which breifly shows us the history of the School of Social Work from it's infancy up until 1986 was created.

Here is the booklet in PDF form called "A Short History of the School of Social Work, University of Manoa 1936-1986". (Click on the link to view).

Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work

On Friday, September 19, 2008, the Board of Regents unanimously approved the naming of the School The Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work. Myron "Pinky" Thompson received his MSW from UH in 1953. He went on to become a noted humanitarian and leader in the struggle for the preservation of the Hawaiian culture.

Thompson has been described as wise, compassionate, a lover of music, full of life and laughter, a warrior against social injustice, and never satisfied with the status quo or the status of Native Hawaiians. He passed away on Christmas Day in 2001.

To read more about Myron "Pinky" Thompson, click on this link.

Gartley Hall History

ALONZO GARTLEY (1869-1921), for whom Gartley Hall is named, was a Honolulu businessman and the chairman of the first Board of Regents of the University of Hawaiʻi. Gartley was a graduate of the US Naval Academy, and came to Hawaiʻi as a naval officer several times in the last decade of the nineteenth century. He settled permanently in Hawaiʻi in 1900 and became manager of Hawaiian Electric Company. From 1910 until his death he was manager of his father-in-law's company C. Brewer. His innovations in milling machinery for C. Brewer made him famous in cane sugar circles. He founded the Hawaiian Engineering Association and was its first president. Gartley was a man of many interests. He developed the Agnes Galt hibiscus, a widely grown hybrid in Southern California.

He was an especially talented photographer and his views of Hawaiian landscapes, native Hawaiians, and panoramic scenes have become classic images of a bygone Hawaiʻi. Art historian Lew Andrews characterized his photographs as some of the most appealing and beautiful ever taken in Hawaiʻi. A number of Gartley's photographs were used in tourist promotion campaigns to illustrate the scenic wonders of Hawaiʻi.

Gartley Hall was built in 1921 and was one of the buildings in the "Old Quadrangle", which also included Hawaiʻi Hall, Crawford Hall, and George Hall. On May 7, 2012, a ground blessing ceremony was held for the renovation of Gartley Hall. In June 2014, the Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work moved into Gartley Hall from it's previous space in Henke Hall.

Information from and

Past Deans of the Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work

School of Social Work Deans
Dean Handley
Dean Delliquadri
Dean Aptekar
Dean Katharine Handley
Dean Fred Delliquadri
Dean Herbert Aptekar
Dean Sanders
Dean Ewalt
Dean Matsuoka
Dean Daniel Sanders
Dean Pat Ewalt
Dean Jon Matsuoka