SPECIAL FEATURE - 9 August 2001
  Honorary Doctorate for Henry Maier

Prof. Jerry Beker (left) reports: On Tuesday, May 8, our esteemed Dr. Henry Maier (right!) was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Science, its highest award, by the University of Minnesota, where he had earned his Ph.D. degree in 1959.

“As many CYC-Net readers know, Henry has been one of our outstanding leaders and thinkers, a veritable guru to many of us, over the last third or more of the Twentieth Century and continues in that role in the Twenty-First.
Through his formal and informal teaching, his speeches, his writings, and his very presence among us and his willingness always to be available as a mentor and a friend, Henry has done much to set the agenda and to provide the inspiration and support that have made possible the development of our field. If you have not become familiar with his work, do make a point of reading what he has written. You will understand the field better and be a better child and youth care worker as a result! The honor that he has been given honors all of us as well, because he personifies all that is good and nourishing and developmentally powerful about our work.”

The Occasion

In a small gathering designed to support the kind of connectedness and exchange for which he is so well known, Henry W. Maier was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science from the University of Minnesota which recognizes Henry's work in promoting the development of the field of care-giving for troubled youth. During the ceremony, Henry gave a short talk on elements of learning and others spoke to the contributions he has made to youth care work or to their own practice. Messages received from others not present were also read (see below). Following the talk and the reflections, Dr. Maier was hooded in a small ceremony attended by friends and colleagues. (Photo above). A reception was held following the ceremony.

A toast

The investiture ceremony was surrounded by other events designed to honour Henry, including a dinner party the evening before, and a round table discussion on the future of the field the following day, hosted by the Minneapolis based Search Institute.


Excerpts from Messages from some who could not be there

I think you know how fond I am of you and how much you have meant to me over the years as a mentor, teacher and colleague. You have always been there as a guide and colleague, whose friendship and insight has been instrumental in my development. Your willingness to take the time to comment on and support my work has meant more to me than I can say. Plus we’ve had a lot of fun.
During our conversations, you have always made me feel as if it is a reciprocal and mutual exchange even though I know that I have been the biggest care receiver.

Mark Krueger

Dear Henry,

When I am asked by my Masters in Counselling students how and where I learned that technique or strategy I say, from Henry Maier. Tasmanian students look at me somewhat puzzled. I catch myself with a far off look with perhaps a smile, recalling fond memories of a great teacher and colleague

Carey J. Denholm Ph.D.
Dean of Graduate Studies by Research, University of Tasmania

Given the enduring focus of Henry’s lifelong work on elevating the most apparently mundane interactions of children and their caregivers to the very highest levels of rigorous, critically focused, graduate level study, seems to me to honor both the individual scholar and the university and professional school that first provided him an academic home. For here, in that uniquely American institution – the "land grant university"— a young scholar could take freely from the emergent science of child development and the rich social justice traditions of social work and related social sciences and fashion a new "curriculum" on child caring that would touch the lives of countless children and families.

Henry’s work has always seemed to me a dance between the search for "truth" in new knowledge and the rendering of it into something of practical utility.

James K. Whittaker, Ph.D.
Professor of Social Work, The University of Washington, Seattle

My best wishes and congratulations to Henry Maier, my mentor in work and play, for his recognition by the University of Minnesota. Early in my career, Henry taught me the importance of balancing head and heart in working on behalf of children. He showed me that anything is possible if you believe in it and work hard to achieve it. He encouraged me through difficult times and always recognized my progress. He is most deserving of this honor. Please convey my heartfelt congratulations to him!

J. David Hawkins, Ph.D.
Director, Social Development Research Group
Kozmetsky Professor of Prevention, School of Social Work
University of Washington

In 1997, a new Child and Youth Care Program was launched at Red River College in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Since then, needless to say, the students have heard about Henry Maier many, many times. As an instructor in an activity programming class, I always carried some balloons in my pocket, just in case a ‘spontaneous’ activity or celebration was needed. ‘Synchronicity’ was a concept that was delightful to teach and it was even more delightful to watch students out in the field remembering it- without consciously knowing what they were doing. All of this—‘Thanks to Henry Maier.’ From being in his workshops at conferences and reading his articles, I learned much that I could pass on to CYC students who then impact on the lives of children. Your ‘synchronicity’ lives on here in Winnipeg and indeed around the world.

Congrats Henry on a much deserved honorary degree! I will blow up a balloon today in your honour.

Karl W. Gompf, Instructor
Child and Youth Care
Red River College, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Among all the important things we do on purpose, the planned interventions; the thoughtful papers, books and articles we write; the workshops we do and panels we participate in; the significance of the spontaneous, life-space responses we make can often be lost.

. . . with equal attention you notice and respond to real life events and give them the benefit of your best ideas. You are actually the embodiment of the kind of direct care practitioner you have always talked about. You not only teach it, you do it. And, from one who has been the direct beneficiary of that ability, I want to thank you. Enjoy your day forever. You so richly deserve it.

F. Herbert Barnes, Director
International Learning Exchange in Social Education
Adjunct Associate Professor
University of New England, School of Social Work

Many of my professors were cognitive robots locked into research, ego, and publishing. Henry was different. He was the only one who saw my potential and talent and believed in me from the very beginning. Unlike many professors, Henry truly cared about and invested his time and energy into student learning and development.

In every training or class I have ever conducted, I have utilized many of Henry's teachings. I also always publicly credit and pay tribute to Henry for being a great teacher, mentor, and friend. Thank you, Henry, for believing in me when nobody else did.

Chuck Bartlett, MSW

Ever since I "discovered" your work many years ago in graduate school, I have admired and learned so much from you. A great deal of my research has been influenced – and enriched – by your writings and your presentations at professional conferences. In addition, it has been a pleasure to have had various opportunities to talk with you and to learn from you in a direct and personal way.

I am very grateful to you and extend my best wishes!

Anthony N. Maluccio, Professor
Boston College, Graduate School of Social Work

Please pass on my congratulations and those of us in Ireland who have had the pleasure of engaging with his work. I can assure him that my current CYC Degree students have read and enjoyed his practice-based commentary.

C. Niall McElwee
President, Irish Association of Social Care Educators

Congratulations on your honorary degree. Thanks so much for the time and energy that you have devoted to this field. As one of the doctoral students who had the opportunity to study with you, I will always treasure the critical thinking you model and the inspiration to strive for excellence that you instil in others.

Best wishes,

Peter Pecora, Ph.D.
Senior Director of Research Services
Casey Family Programs, and
Professor, School of Social Work
University of Washington