University of Pittsburgh
May 13, 2007

Larry Davis, Dean of Pitt's School of Social Work, Says Gwen Elliott Taught us A Valuable Lesson


Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH-Former Police Commander Gwen Elliott, whose death was announced today, was a close friend of the University of Pittsburgh's School of Social Work.

Larry Davis, dean of Pitt's School of Social Work and director of Pitt's Center on Race and Social Problems (CRSP), says Elliott was remarkable because of the path her career took-from a person trained to enforce the law to a person committed to helping teen girls avoid the sorts of problems for which they some day could be incarcerated.

"She saw the goodness in people and realized if they had some help, they could make it, and be fruitful people in our society," said Davis. "We should take a lesson from that-sometimes people need more help and less punishment."

In one of CRSP's most highly attended lectures on February 14, 2006, Elliott spoke to an audience of students, faculty, and community members on "Empowering Girls: Gender Specific Approaches for Productive Futures."

"Gwen made our center more purposeful," remarked Davis, adding that academe and the community "made a real match that day."

Elliott also partnered in projects with Pitt's Office of Child Development, which is part of Pitt's School of Education.