Thomasville Social Worker Endows Scholarship at VSU

March 15, 2012

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

Thomasville Social Worker Endows Scholarship at VSU

VALDOSTA -- In 1994, Anne Louise Stanford Chastain of Thomasville established a scholarship at Valdosta State University for future Division of Social Work students and funded it each and every year. When she died on Oct. 21, 2010, she remembered the program and provided enough funds to maintain it.

“Her recent bequest endows the scholarship,” said Sandra Fletcher, VSU’s director of planned and major gifts. “The scholarship is for students pursuing a master’s degree in social work, with preference given to Thomas County residents.”

Dr. Louis Levy, interim president of VSU, said Chastain was instrumental in helping VSU organize support for a Master of Social Work Program. He described her as a “very determined lady.” The Division of Social Work at VSU, according to Dr. Martha Giddings, director, began in 1995 and has educated roughly 300 social workers who currently practice in Georgia and beyond.

“She has given monetary gifts and supported the social work program throughout its history,” Levy added. “This most recent bequest is a gift to our students. It will allow them to come out of the program without the heavy burden of loans.”

Chastain, who was 102 years old when she died, earned her master’s degree from Columbia University’s School of Social Work in New York City, when Franklin D. Roosevelt was president, and went on to become the first social worker in Thomas County. She served as director of welfare at what is now known as the Division of Family and Children Services for three decades, and she served as the director of social services at Southwestern State Hospital for seven years.

“She was a delightful and practical person,” Fletcher said. “I always enjoyed visiting with her.”

“She lived a nice long life of contributing to the happiness and welfare of others,” added Levy. “We will always be indebted to her.”

Fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, VSU’s Division of Social Work offers a Master’s of Social Work Program that focuses on multi-level, advanced generalist practice. Students learn about both clinical and community practice and are able to develop the requisite skills to practice in many settings, from schools to hospitals, law enforcement to hospice. Students in the program can attend classes on campus full-time or part-time, or they can take advantage of an innovative web-based program that requires them to meet face-to-face only five weekends a semester.

“We are currently examining the feasibility of offering a doctoral program in social work,” according to the Division of Social Work.

To learn more about the Division of Social Work, please call (229) 249-4864, send an email to, or visit

To learn more about the benefits of planned giving, please call (229) 333-7441 or visit