Promoting social and racial justice, past and future

Between them, married couple Ken Schulman and Betty Ruth (SSW’84, SPH’85) have contributed nearly 75 years of service to the Schools of Social Work and Public Health at Boston University. What drives their commitment? The emphasis on racial and social justice that Dean Emeritus Hubie Jones (SSW’57) made a hallmark of SSW.

Schulman, who joined the SSW faculty in 1979, has served in administrative positions at the school since 1986 and became associate dean for Enrollment Services & Alumni Relations in 1992. Ruth, a clinical professor at SSW, has been director of BU’s dual degree Program in Social Work and Public Health since 1987.

“Our financial support for SSW programs and scholarships is simply an extension of that longstanding commitment,” says Schulman.

That support includes Schulman’s bequest intention. It will go toward both the Social Work and Public Health Program Fund, which the couple has been contributing to for years, and the Hubie Jones Urban Service Fund.

Ruth eloquently explains the synergy between social work, with its focus on intervention, and public health, with its focus on prevention—and why it hits home for her. “We talk about social work being on the dance floor, and public health being in the balcony,” she says. “Public health social work is one way the two disciplines get together to influence what’s happening on the dance floor of the entire community.”

Given Schulman’s role as associate dean, the pair has become a touchstone for the BU social work community as a whole. “What has been particularly exciting and rewarding for me has been the opportunity to experience the life cycle of the students—from prospective student, to current student, to graduate, to leader in the field,” says Schulman. “We’re proud, and honored, that we have been able to be a part of that.”