Friends, family, colleagues, and former students gathered at the Graduate School of Social Work on a picture-perfect afternoon on June 5 to remember and honor Professor of Social Work Raymond Albert, who died last August.
At the gathering, a pair of benches—placed in his honor one at the Graduate School of Social Work and one across from Taylor Hall—were dedicated.
"All Bryn Mawr faculty give an extraordinary amount to Bryn Mawr through their teaching, research, and service," said Bryn Mawr President Kim Cassidy at the dedication. "But Raymond also provided leadership to the Bryn Mawr community as a whole through his commitment to institutional diversity and inclusion, and through the critical role he played in resolving conflicts involving staff, faculty, and even students."
Albert's listening, mediation, and problem-solving skills, and willingness to use those skills in the service of the College, served as the inspiration for the benches.
"We have chosen this design as one to enable people to engage in thoughtful conversation, and true listening," said Cassidy.
Albert's widow, Theresa, who attended the dedication with their daughter, Alexis, also addressed the gathering.
"Ray was an artist who stitched together the most complex and difficult interactions with clarity and understanding," she said. "The ease of him in these difficult moments was what defined him."
Shawn Maxam, M.S.S./M.L.S.P. '14, who is currently the Assistant Director for Diversity and Inclusion at Princeton University, was the final speaker of the day, and he spoke about the impact Albert had on him and so many other students.
"It is a rare blessing to meet a person who is an exceptional scholar, fantastic teacher, skilled advisor, and trusted mentor. I was fortunate to experience all of Raymond’s gifts and talents. He is the reason I enrolled at Bryn Mawr’s Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research...As a black man who was a successful academic committed to social justice he is my role model. Raymond embodied–professionally and personally—the value of a critical understanding of social responsibility and purposeful, reasoned, and imaginative action in pursuit of a just and democratic world. Because of Raymond I experienced tremendous growth intellectually, professionally and personally. His impact on me and my fellow M.L.S.P. alums cannot be overstated. I can only express my gratitude by carrying forward his values and embodying the commitment to ongoing deep learning and servant leadership he modeled for me. I promise—along in solidarity with every person who was blessed to experience his wisdom and kindness—to carry his legacy forward into the world."
GSSWSR Dean Janet Shapiro and Phoebe Sheftel, M.S.S. '90, M.L.S.P. '91, who worked with Albert as part of the Good Shepherd Mediation Program, also made remarks.