Dr. Billie Terrell ’77

USF Social Work Professor Dr. Billie Terrell Creates Graduate Student Scholarship

University of St. Francis professor emerita Dr. Billie Terrell will continue to inspire students in the field of social work through the establishment of the Terrell Multicultural MSW Scholarship at USF.

Terrell is an alumna, graduating in 1977 with her bachelor’s degree in social work from then-College of St. Francis. She earned her MSW degree from the University of Illinois and her Ph.D. from the Institute for Clinical Social Work in Chicago in 2003.

Terrell has an extensive background in medical and psychiatric social work, working at both Silver Cross and St. Joseph hospitals in Joliet. Other career achievements include opening her own practice for multicultural families in 1985 and working as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Illinois and USF until becoming a full-time faculty member at USF in 1992. During her years as USF’s BSW program director, she developed the proposal for the MSW program, which was fully accredited in 2010. Two certificate programs were established in 2012.

Terrell wishes to be remembered for the program initiatives that were the dreams of her mentors, James McCabe and Christine Ponquinette. She hopes that this scholarship will continue to provide support to the next generation of students willing to work with the most vulnerable populations. Awarded to a graduate social work student at the University of St. Francis pursuing the MSW degree, the Billie Terrell MSW Scholarship will be based on demonstrated leadership, financial need, academic achievement and community involvement.

Giving back to the university was important to Terrell because of the support she had received during her career. “Giving back is the way we earn what was given to us,” commented Terrell.

“I have had tremendous support over the years that has enhanced my personal and professional life. I know the financial struggles our students experience trying to earn their degrees and to better their lives. I hope with our alumni support, this scholarship is available for many years.”

Terrell has served the community by participating on the boards of several agencies including the Guardian Angel Home and the Center of Correctional Concerns. She currently serves as the vice president of the Will County Board of Health.