Social Welfare and Justice Ida B. Wells/Jane Addams Award

Ida B. Wells

Ida B. Wells was a teacher, journalist, editor, public speaker, women’s rights activist, and civil rights leader. She spent much of her life documenting the lynchings of African Americans, as a leader of anti-lynching campaigns, and later as an urban reformer in Chicago. She was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Like Jane Addams, she worked for the right of women to vote and she recruited Addams to work with her in opposition to an official segregated school policy in Chicago. In 2020 she was posthumously awarded a Pulitzer Prize special citation, for her “courageous reporting” on lynching. In the spirit of a Marquette Social Welfare and Justice education, Wells said "the way to right wrongs is to cast the light of truth upon them.”

Jane Addams

Jane Addams co-founded one of the largest and most influential settlement houses in the United States, the Hull House. Addams’ advocacy for the poor and marginalized transcended the inner-city Chicago neighborhood where the Hull House was located. Addams was among the leaders of the Progressive movement, fought for the right of women to vote, and is widely recognized as responsible for introducing the tenets of social justice and reform to the field of social work. Later in life, Addams was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her lifelong contributions to the social work field.


Selection Criteria

The prestigious Ida B. Wells/Jane Addams Award is offered each year to one outstanding senior who has excelled in the areas of academics, service, and leadership. This award is competitive and is bestowed upon the one graduating senior who has acquired at least a 3.5 cumulative GPA, demonstrates leadership qualities, and has dedicated significant time and effort to service of the University and community. The recipient of the Ida B. Wells/Jane Addams Award will be honored during the Commencement Ceremony and associated media announcements, including all-university commencement programs, the college's graduation webpage, and college social media accounts.

Selection Criteria

To be minimally qualified, the nominee must meet these standards:

  • Be a graduating senior at the time of the award
  • The nominee must be a Social Welfare and Justice major (double majors are also eligible)
  • The nominee must have a cumulative QPA of at least 3.5

Additional Criteria

In judging the nominees, the Committee will take into consideration the following factors:

  • Academic record
  • University service
  • Leadership
  • Community service
  • References

Past Awardees

Samari Price
Katie Ruszkowski
Sarah Lipo
Anusha Das
Claire Keyes
Jessica Szuminski

Additional Information