Contact My SSW Intranet Report Sexual Misconduct

Main menu

Maynard Believes Social Work is the Mindset, Social Justice is the Issue

Olivia (Libby) Maynard, MSW ’71

Olivia (Libby) Maynard, MSW ’71, has had considerable achievements throughout her career, particularly in education and politics, and has consistently helped the underserved and overlooked, especially children, women, minorities and older adults.

Her notable accomplishments range from her nomination as the first woman for the office of Michigan’s lieutenant governor, in 1978, to being the first woman to chair the Michigan Democratic Party (1979–1983). She ran for Lieutenant Governor for a second time in 1990.

After her tenure as chairperson of the Michigan Democratic Party, Maynard became the head of the Michigan Office of Services to the Aging, where she worked to keep senior citizens in their homes, to provide prescription drug reimbursement for low-income residents ineligible for Medicaid, and to develop a national model for guardianship standards.

During the 1990s, Maynard was a U-M adjunct professor at the School of Social Work. She volunteered for SSW for many years and most recently served as a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board.

The great thing about social work is that it’s similar to law, you can really work anywhere,” Maynard explained. “Social work opens us up to the view of what life should be, if it could be. Social justice is the issue, and social work is the mindset.

Maynard’s career has had great depth and breadth, and she attributes much of that to her MSW degree, with a policy and administration concentration, from the University of Michigan.

“The great thing about social work is that it’s similar to law, you can really work anywhere,” Maynard explained. “Social work opens us up to the view of what life should be, if it could be. Social justice is the issue, and social work is the mindset.”

Maynard values her graduate school years, even though she juggled a family and a job while she commuted between her home in Flint and U-M’s main campus in Ann Arbor. “I learned quickly that education is the answer and where you choose to get your education is important,” Maynard said.

In Maynard’s graduate school days, the School of Social Work was located in the Frieze Building.

“We didn’t have cell phones back then, and when we were in between classes, we would run out to the hall find a phone booth to make a call, and then scramble back to class,” Maynard said. “Today I find new technology so interesting, not just for personal convenience, but it opens up so many possibilities to teaching and learning. It’s just amazing how new technology can be used.”

Education has been a life focus for Maynard and her husband Olof, who have been very generous to the SSW, supporting both faculty and students. Not only has Maynard served as a volunteer for the U-M Flint campus, she has been a champion for U-M Flint and the Flint community for many years.

“Most of the money we’ve given has been to support student scholarships, which allow students to focus on their studies and ultimately do better once they’ve graduated from their MSW program,” Maynard said. “Many of our students who come from the Flint community are non-traditional students and we wanted to help those students obtain their MSWs,” Maynard said. “The more we can get our three campuses to work together, the better.”

“I’m proud of what the University does, and the MSW program was really good for me,” Maynard said. “Supporting the School of Social Work scholarship program is another way to demonstrate my pride.”

Contact Us Press escape to close