School of Social Work

No. 28 M.S.W. Program in the U.S.

SSW community,

We are sad to report the passing July 11 of Lila Garlick, who served Virginia Commonwealth University and the School of Social Work specifically for 47 years. Lila retired in 2018 and is the only two-time recipient of VCU’s Dorris Douglas Budd Award for outstanding service by full-time administrative support staff (1986, 1994). 

Lila Garlick

She spent most of her time in the Office of Field Education, where she worked with hundreds of students, faculty and field partners over the years. Lila touched many lives during her tenure with the school and was a constant source of support, joy and encouragement. She loved her family fiercely and many folks in our community grew to know her family as well as an extension of her.  

Please join our school community in grieving this loss and thinking of Lila’s family and loved ones. We will share more information as it becomes available. Here are two early obituary notices: 

“Lila was a quiet, gentle giant of a woman – she did not boast about her accomplishments and was always hard at work, making such important contributions to the school and community partners,” said Humberto Fabelo, associate professor and member of the SSW faculty since 1995. “There was never a time when she did not come through with whatever was needed or asked of her – all you had to do was ask and before you were done, Lila had provided what was asked for, with immaculate record and correct information. I never had to question the accuracy of anything she ever provided.

“For almost half a century, Lila saw people come and go, including deans, administrators, faculty, students and community partners, changes in the school’s structure and how it functioned, changes in the university – she saw the change from taking dictation for letters in short-hand notation taken by secretaries to everyone having a desktop computer and from writing ‘while you were out’ messages to communicating in intra-mail, then email. … Lila saw it all, but throughout, she adapted to all new things quickly and was a positive role model for embracing change, doing the work that needs to be done with great dedication and pride, and quietly sitting with her accomplishments.

“Lila’s pride and joy was her family, all of whom were accomplished individuals in their own right and no doubt, as a result of having her as a mother and grandmother.”  

Sarah Price, recently retired after 17 years as a faculty member with the school, called Lila “a truly bright light in the world and in the School of Social Work. I’m grateful for all the years that Lila filled our lives with laughter (and the field office with goodies … especially memorable back in the Raleigh Building!).”

Lila’s Facebook page reflected her faith and love of life, family and friends. Each day she sent a “Good Morning” message reminding her followers to “Be grateful for another blessed day of life.”

Lila was honored in October 2015 for 45 years of service to the university, receiving a plaque  from VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D.

Categories Community, Faculty and staff
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