Unlimited reach

Anthony Estreet, Ph.D., has ascended to arguably the highest position in the field of social work, and one thing he can count on is the ubiquity fellow VCU graduates. The 2007 M.S.W. graduate was named chief executive officer of the National Association of Social Workers in January 2023.

Social work alum Anthony Estreet, wearing a gray sports coat, dark tie and pants, stands on the VCU campus, resting against a large flower planter.
Alum Anthony Estreet (M.S.W.'07), Ph.D., on the VCU campus.

“When I’m out and about in the social work profession, I can always find somebody else who’s a VCU alumni, and we can actually connect on the different experiences that we had at VCU," Dr. Estreet says. "We can always connect back to classrooms, to professors, to different experiences, to Richmond. We are global, we’re everywhere.”

He brings a higher education-informed perspective to his role, having previously worked at Morgan State University in Baltimore, where he was a full professor of social work and chair of the master’s program.

“I think we have to try to figure out how we engage students in services that are meaningful for students,” Dr. Estreet says. “And, equally, how do we engage faculty in services that are useful for faculty? For me, the role is really helping students to understand the value of a membership and a professional association and helping them to understand that we’re only as strong as the voice that we have and as our professional association has.

“We are in that space between challenge and opportunity as social workers. If we embrace and fully come together as one profession and break down silos, we can continue to make a lot of change and good trouble in terms of addressing challenges we see.”

He emphasizes the importance of the M.S.W. degree, and says VCU put him on the path to success.

“If we start off with our M.S.W. degree, there's no stopping where we can go in the future," he says. “I believe wholeheartedly that this generation of social workers are going to be the social workers that are going to change the next 10 to 20 years of how we see society.

“VCU is definitely top tier. I particularly loved that I went to VCU, and as you can see, my education has certainly helped me a lot in my career.”

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