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Erinn Barcomb-Peterson
KU News Service
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University mourns professor emeritus Dennis Saleebey

Tue, 07/29/2014

LAWRENCE — Dennis Saleebey, professor emeritus from the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare, died July 16. He had been a part of the KU community since he joined the faculty in 1987. He retired from the university in 2006.

“On behalf of the KU community, I send my condolences to the family of Dennis Saleebey,” said Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little. “His legacy lives on at KU and the School of Social Welfare.”

Saleebey’s early work looked at oppression in female populations, the ability of adolescents to engineer and initiate change, empowerment for clients, and the construction of meaning and knowledge. These coalesced and fed his work as one of the creators of the Strengths Perspective — focusing on an individual’s strengths and available resources to solve a problem.

“In the School of Social Welfare, our thoughts and prayers are with Dennis’ family and those close to him,” said Tom McDonald, interim dean. 

A memorial service will be at 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 2, at Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th St. A celebration of life will follow at 5:30 p.m. at the Cider Gallery, 810 Pennsylvania St.



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Lauded race and class historian becomes KU Foundation Professor David Roediger’s award-winning research and writing has already transformed how historians view the growth of social freedoms in America though the intersection of race, class, ethnicity, and labor. Now Roediger, as KU’s first Foundation Distinguished Professor of History (http://bit.ly/1AbAqYw), will continue to break new ground in those fields as he leads KU’s departments of American Studies and History. Roediger likes to study historical flash points — where one particular change brings a cascade of wider cultural changes. His latest book, “Seizing Freedom, Slave Emancipation and Liberty for All,” makes the point that as slaves began freeing themselves across the South during the Civil War, their emancipation inspired and ignited other cultural movements for freedom — such as the women’s movement for suffrage and the labor movement for better working conditions and an eight-hour day. Understanding the individual stories of average people who wanted to make their lives better, including slaves or factory workers, is important to understanding the wider political movements and elections, Roediger said. “It's tempting to think that all the important political questions have been decided,” he said, “but actually people are constantly thinking about what freedom would mean for them.”


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