Wynetta Devore ’51

Professor Emerita Wynetta Devore passed away peacefully on December 19, 2020 at the Bishop Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.

The daughter of the late Jessie and Sallie Bell Devore, she was born in Greensboro, North Carolina on December 1, 1929 and was raised in Metuchen, New Jersey. Dr. Devore received her undergraduate degree in 1951 from Hope College in Holland, Michigan. She received a master’s degree in social work followed by a doctorate in education from Rutgers University.

She worked at several public welfare programs and taught at Kane College in New Jersey. She subsequently joined the faculty at Rutgers where she developed the social work program. In 1980, she joined Syracuse University’s School of Social Work where she taught foundational courses which included Human Diversity, Human Behavior in the Social Environment and Foundations of Social Work Practice.

In addition to her work at the main campus, she also taught at their London campus. She later developed a social work program in Cape Town, South Africa where she returned in her retirement as a volunteer for the Presbyterian Church. In 1981, as a response to the increasing needs of a multicultural America, she co-authored Ethnic Sensitive Social Work Practice with Elfriede G. Schlesinger PHD. The book, a seminal work on race, social work practice and social work education, is now in its fifth edition. A celebrated teacher and scholar, she was awarded the Syracuse University’s Chancellor’s Citation for Exceptional Academic Achievement in 1996. Professor Devore was a long-standing member of the Park Central Presbyterian Church. She went on several long-term mission trips to New Orleans, Haiti and South Africa where she taught courses on AIDS. She dedicated her time to community organizations, including Hiscock Legal Services and the Xi Chapter of Lambda Kappa Mu, Inc. as well as the “Stitches” sewing group at Park Central.

Professor Devore is survived by her two children Julia Bryant of Brooklyn, New York, David Bryant of Tucson, Arizona, her brother Jesse Devore of Newark, New Jersey and a host of cousins. She was predeceased by her sisters, Zenobia Smith and Betty Jean Daniels, and her former husband Julius Bryant.

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