Herman D. Stein


  • Katherine Kendall


Herman Stein, President of the International Association of Schools of Social Work from 1968 - 1976, has for more than sixty years excelled as an educator, scholar, internationalist, university administrator, and leader in a variety of professional associations. From almost the beginning of his career, the world has been the stage on which he has played those many roles, all of them with an abundance of talent. In fact, while he was in the graduate program of what is now the Columbia University School of Social Work, he had to decide whether to become a social worker or an actor. As an undergraduate he became involved in student theatrical productions, where he teamed up with the famous comedian, Danny Kaye, who became a life-long companion and friend. At the end of Steins first year in the social work program, he was invited to join an off-Broadway variety show that helped to launch Kaye on his meteoric rise on both stage and screen. "If I´d joined," Stein has said, "the theater probably was going to be where I would make my career as a character actor." Fortunately for social work and social work education, he chose instead to continue his studies at the School of Social Work, from which he received his master's degree in 1941 and the doctoral degree in 1958. While the world has been his stage, education has been at the heart of his manifold activities. Following a period of direct service practice as a caseworker in a well-known private agency in New York City, he was recruited by the Columbia School of Social Work in 1945 as a faculty member. With an interruption for a significant overseas assignment from 1947 to 1950, he continued at Columbia for another fourteen years, rising through all professorial ranks to Professor and Director of the School's Research Center.






Historical Portraits