Dorothy Pearson (MSSW ’60, Ph.D. ‘73) found no shortage of challenges in her lifetime, but always met them with passion and perseverance. From her beginnings in the legally-segregated South, Pearson worked her way to becoming the first African-American to earn a PhD from the UW-Madison School of Social Work.
In 1975, Pearson joined the faculty at Howard University, where she established a doctoral program in social work. She retired from the university in 1999. After a distinguished career in social work practice and education, Pearson was designated a Social Work Pioneer by the National Association of Social Workers.
She went on to serve on the UW-Madison School of Social Work Board of Visitors and established the Dorothy M. Pearson Graduate Fellowship Fund which supports an African-American PhD student each year.