Professor Emeritus, University of Houston, Graduate School of Social Work
Gerson David was chosen as the Edith Abbott Distinguished Alumni Award winner in 2003 in recognition of his long and distinguished career as an educator, researcher, author, and advocate for social justice. His many contributions span the specialty areas of social development, social justice, and aging.
The Crown Family School Alumni Association presents the Edith Abbott Award semiannually. The award was established to recognize alumni for distinguished service and outstanding professional contributions at the local, national, or international levels. This significant award honors exceptional leadership in an agency or within a community; meaningful contributions through research or publications; or creativity demonstrated by traditional, non-traditional, or innovative approaches to practice.
Mr. David was a founding faculty member of the Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW), established in 1968 at the University of Houston. Before joining the faculty at GSSW, he served on the faculty of West Virginia University and was director of the University of Toronto Family Diagnosis Research Project for more than four years. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to his academic career in the United States, he served with the Government of Burma and on the National Council of Churches Relief Committee of India.
In addition, he served as a Congressional Delegate from Texas to the 1995 White House Conference on Aging (WHCoA), held in Washington, D.C. That same year, he also organized the Metropolitan Houston Area Pre- WHCoA and served as a faculty member for the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) 1995 Meeting of the Profession Seminar, held in Philadelphia. In 1996, he was appointed a member of the Presidential Leadership Task Force.
The list of accolades and professional citations awarded to Mr. David is long. He received the Distinguished Alumnus Award of the University of Pittsburgh in 1984. In 1994, the Houston Unit of the NASW presented him with a Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1998, the NASW again honored him as a social work pioneer in recognition of his exceptional contribution to the social work profession and his ability to meet the needs of all people.
He was listed as one of 14 preeminent social work internationalists in Internationalizing Social Work Education: A Guide to Resources for a New Century (Estes, 1992) for his dedication to fostering a more international perspective in social work.
The Gerson David Gerontology Endowed Scholarship was established in his honor by the GSSW in 1994. In 2000, GSSW announced The Gerson David International Exchange for Peace and Social Justice, honoring Mr. David’s lifelong commitment to the pursuit of both.
In 2004, he received the National Award from the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, Houston chapter. The award honors organizations and individuals whose positive words or deeds promote U.S. heritage.