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School of Social Work Spring 2024 Commencement

May 4, 1:30 PM ET

Power Center
121 Fletcher Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Directions to the Power Center

The School of Social Work Spring Commencement for Master of Social Work students will be held in-person and livestreamed on the SSW website. The Power Center doors will open for guests and graduates can begin arriving at 12:30pm.

A light reception will be held in the Power Center Lobby immediately following commencement.

Please email with any questions.

The SSW Commencement will be livestreamed on this page and on the front page of the U-M School of Social Work website.

Letter from the Dean

Beth Angell

Dear Graduates,

Congratulations! We are thrilled to celebrate your hard work and dedication together with your friends, families and loved ones.

In pursuit of your MSW, you have gained the skills, knowledge and training to make a difference in the lives of others. You are effective, practiced facilitators and leaders who know how to take a stand, address injustice and engage the community. As you begin the next chapter of your lives, remember that education is a lifelong process. Keep in touch with your faculty and classmates and keep listening and learning from your clients and colleagues.

University of Michigan social work graduates have a reputation for their expertise, dedication and achievement. Today you join 17,000+ alumni who lead the field as policymakers, agency directors and foundation leaders, who improve lives as accomplished and effective social workers. We look forward to hearing how you apply your talents for the good of people and communities.

You have earned the term “the leaders and best.” On behalf of the Michigan Social Work community, I wish you every success as you reach out, raise hope and change society.

Go Blue,

Beth Angell
Dean and Phillip Fellin Collegiate Professor of Social Work


Keynote Speaker Joyce Dixson-Haskett, MSW ‘94, LMSW, ACSW, SAP

Joyce Dixson-Haskett

Joyce Dixson-Haskett is a leader in the fight against human trafficking. She advocates daily for the freedom and restoration of dignity and value to those affected by this heinous and corrupt system. She is a survivor of human trafficking and has been commissioned by Governor Gretchen Whitmer to sit on the Michigan Human Trafficking Commission.

She is also a leader in the advocacy for children of incarcerated parents. Her clinical model, Levels of Response to Traumatic Events, (LORTE) has been described as “the most sensible approach in assisting children with incarcerated parents.” Professionals also say: “There are no known programs, including programs in the OJJDP Model Programs Guide, which deal exclusively with the effects that the incarceration of a parent has on a child and address the core issues as the LORTE model does.”

Dixson-Haskett holds a Master of Social Work from the University of Michigan and is the founder and owner of Daylily Health LLC in Royal Oak, Michigan, a thriving clinical practice that tackles and defeats mental health problems in the concrete, the abstract and the spiritual. More importantly, she was an incarcerated mother, for 17 ½ years. She knows firsthand how the incarceration of a parent adversely affects the children. Dixson-Haskett began fighting for the rights of women who had been battered and abused, and for their children, while she was yet behind bars; she continues to work diligently on behalf of this elite population. She currently resides in the Houston, Texas area where Daylily Health 2 is being birthed.

Student Speaker Lady Funcke Muñoz

Lady Funcke Muñoz

Lady Alejandra Funcke Muñoz (she/her/ella) is an MSW student in Interpersonal Practice in Integrated Health, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse Pathway. She is a passionate advocate whose academic journey reflects her commitment to integrated health, mental health, advocacy and human rights. She graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Human Services from Palm Beach State College. She has also earned specialized certifications from Columbia University and Palm Beach State College, enhancing her expertise in trauma-informed practice and social services.

She served as a graduate research assistant at the School’s Level Up Lab, as a representative in student government, and as a graduate program assistant for both the DEI Office and Community Conversations. She facilitated educational workshops, coordinated community dialogue events, and advocated for formerly incarcerated students' opportunities within the university, fostering inclusivity and equity in higher education.

Funcke Muñoz worked at User Voice and His Majesty’s the King Prison Service in the United Kingdom, where she researched the intersection of incarceration, biodiversity and human rights to inform evidence-based policy recommendations and advocacy efforts.

In recognition, she received the DEI Impact Awards’ Student of the Year, Latinx Research Week 2024 Familismo Award and the Michigan Difference Student Leadership Awards Nominee from M-LEAD.

Funcke Muñoz intends to pursue her PhD and continue her work in higher education advocacy and mental health.

Student Speaker Jessica Leacher

Jessica Leacher

Jessica Leacher grew up in Milan, Michigan, and holds a BA in Social Relations and Policy from James Madison College at Michigan State University. She spent most of her career working in nonprofits in Washington, D.C., to support community college and university leaders through structured collaboratives, training and workshops that are designed to grow leadership practices and result in more equitable outcomes for students across the country.

At various places of employment, Leacher joined and co-led diversity, equity and inclusion committees, experiencing firsthand the structural inequities replicated within the nonprofit sector. It was because of these experiences that she decided to pursue social work.

During her time earning her Master of Social Work, she has been a Community Change student and a National Community Scholar. She worked for Clinical Associate Professor Daicia Price in the School’s DEI office and Professor Daphne Watkins’ Young Black Men Masculinities and Mental Health Project. Leacher is a lifelong learner and passionate about building creative, inclusive and diverse spaces where every person feels they belong. She intends to pursue a position with a local foundation or nonprofit serving communities in southeast Michigan.

She would like to thank her family and friends for their unwavering support and love.

Commencement Program


Photos from the Ceremony

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