School of Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley Announcement

“John Wilson and Beclee Newcomer Wilson (MSW ’90) pledge over $3 million to support social justice leadership.”

John Wilson, Beclee Newecomer Wilson, and Dean Burton

“John Wilson and Beclee Newcomer Wilson, longtime supporters of the School of Social Welfare and members of the Dean’s Alumni Advisory Board, have committed to one of he largest planned gifts in the School’s history to promote social justice within Berkeley Social Welfare and at UC Berkeley.

Chancellor Carol Christ shared her gratitude with the Wilsons: These initiatives will make it possible for the School of Social Welfare to elevate their public visibility and draw awareness to dynamic scholarship and discourse around these issues on a national level. Your commitments are important not just to Berkeley’s future, but also to the future of our nation. Thank you for lighting the way toward racial reckoning and social justice.”

One of the most significant new initiative is the “Idea of America and Social Justice Forum.” This is a five-year program “envisioned as an annual forum—sponsored by the School of Social Welfare—of scholars, researchers, policymakers, social justice advocates and students.” As Dean Linda Burton states: “Now more than ever the School of Social Welfare at UC Berkeley needs to expand its reach in praxis, teaching, research, and shaping public policy around social justice. John and Beclee’s generosity has fast tracked our School’s ability to do so.”

The Forum, while only one part of the new social justice initiative, will be launched in the fall of 2021 with the first of the annual forums. It will focus on themes pertinent to Latinx communities and democracy. Chancellor Christ has made this the main focus for the entire academic community of Berkeley for 2021 and the Idea of America and Social Justice Forum will be on the forefront of this initiative. Subsequent forums will identify current issues and challenges to be addressed and given national prominence.

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