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Baylor and Waco community Mourn Death of Founding Dean of the School of Social Work

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Robert Rogers/Baylor Marketing and Communications
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Diana Garland first moved to Baylor in 1997 and quickly helped the social work program to grow. Garland died Monday, September 21 in Colorado after a months-long battle with pancreatic cancer.

The Baylor community is mourning the death of one of their own. Diana Garland was the founding School of Social Work dean. Throughout her tenure at the university, she helped to grow and guide the program. KWBU’s Carlos Morales has this remembrance.

Diana Garland first arrived at Baylor University in 1997 when the fledgling social work program at the school was still housed within the Department of Sociology.

By 1999 the program had become a separate department and was eventually given independent status in 2005. Garland was named the inaugural dean of the School of Social work that year.

Jon Singletary, the interim dean of the School Social Work said since her arrival Garland championed the program and helped it to grow.

“That’s who Diana Garland was," Singletary said. "Always thinking of what can we do in our community to make a difference, what can we do in our school to make a difference, what can we do around the world to bring leadership as an expression of serving others.” 

In her tenure at the university, the social work program grew from just five full-time professors and lectures to 20. It also saw an increase in the number of undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in the program and admitted its first Ph.D. cohort in 2013.

Garland also oversaw the school’s move to a renovated facility in downtown Waco in 2 thousand and 10 and helped to establish more than $7.4 million in research and grants at the School of Social work.

For Garland, her faith was instrumental in how she approached her work at the university and within the Waco community at large. Singletary says Garland’s leadership was an expression of her faith.

“She organized our school around that guiding principle," Singletary remembered. "She helped others helped discern that motivation in themselves. She knew that it’s hard to stay active in this profession if you’re doing it just because you want to do good deeds, that you have to have a sense of calling and purpose that’s bigger than that, rooted in your faith” 

In April, the School of Social work was officially renamed after Garland to reflect her contribution and service to the school.

Diana Garland died Monday, September 21,  in Colorado after a months-long battle with pancreatic cancer.

She’s survived by her Husband, two children, and 4 grandchildren.