July 01, 2020

In remembrance of Susan Chuang

Susan Chuang, School of Social Work and SPS alumna, was interning with University Settlement to help home-bound senior citizens when the coronavirus took her in April.

Known for her many roles—besides being a part-time graduate student, she was also a wife and mother, an attorney, and a community volunteer—Susan left her mark on our School through her thoughtful contributions to her classes, the passion she showed for the social work profession, and her dedication to the clients she served at her field placements.

“There are no words to describe the pain and loss we feel,” said Dean Melissa Begg. “Susan was such a bright light—always thoughtful, loving, and gracious to all around her. She was driven to help those in need, without waiting to be asked. She was a devoted spouse and mom and a true social work advocate.”

“Susan went to great lengths to ensure her clients’ needs were met which was done with utmost professionalism and creativity,” said her first-year advisor, Laurie Sands. “She had a special way of engaging with the children and their parents and was a fierce advocate. She will be sadly missed in this profession.”

According to Donna D’Andrea, Susan’s final-year advisor: “Susan will always be remembered as a kind, compassionate and highly intelligent student. She was conscientious and hard working. She appreciated the true meaning of social work, whereby she gave of herself to help the most vulnerable in our society.”

At the School of Social Work, several professors recalled Susan’s vital presence in their classrooms. As Professor John Robertson put it, “She had a deep understanding of issues of power, race, privilege and oppression and did a great job conveying that to other students.” Professor Andrew Hamid concurred: “Susan’s commitment to the social work profession’s emphasis on social justice saw her leaving no stone unturned. Her caring and compassionate nature came through as she responded to concerns and anxieties expressed by her classmates. She was a joy to have in class, and will be sadly missed.”

Susan will be deeply mourned by all of those whose lives she touched at Columbia University, where she was also a graduate of the School of Professional Studies. Let’s all keep in mind her loving family and circle of friends at this difficult time. We will make plans to come together in the future to more formally honor Susan and celebrate her life.

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