Lifetime Achievement, Social Worker of the Year awards presented to MSU faculty members

Contact: John Burrow

Adele Crudden
Adele Crudden (Photo by Beth Wynn)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—A Mississippi State professor from the university’s main campus in Starkville and an assistant clinical professor from MSU-Meridian are top award winners this year for the Mississippi chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, honoring their achievements and continuing work in social work education.

Adele Crudden, a professor in MSU’s Department of Sociology, is the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award given at the recent NASW annual conference. The award is presented to individuals for outstanding contributions throughout their careers.

Angela Savage, director of the MSU-Meridian social work program and an assistant clinical professor, has received the 2022 Mississippi Social Worker of the Year Award for exemplifying “the best of the profession’s value and achievements through specific accomplishments.” 

Based in Washington, D.C. and founded in 1955, NASW is the largest membership organization of professional social workers in the world, with more than 120,000 members. It promotes, develops and protects the practice of social work and social workers and seeks to enhance the well-being of individuals, families and communities through its advocacy.

“I am humbled by this award and overwhelmed with gratitude to my colleagues and former students for their efforts to see me recognized in this way,” Crudden said. “It has been a privilege to work in a profession where each member deliberately chooses to focus their lives on supporting the common good.”

Crudden said social work remains an important program at the university because “social workers frequently work with people in crisis mode, and social workers’ actions in those situations can have life-altering consequences.” She said it is essential for students who wish to pursue social work to “receive a rigorous education and always be conscious of professional ethics.”

With nearly three decades of service to MSU, Crudden received the 2019 Mississippi

Angela Savage
Angela Savage (Photo by Megan Bean)

Social Worker of the Year Award from the NASW and has earned more than $11 million in federally funded research through the National Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision. Crudden was director of MSU’s social work program from 2000-2013. She also is a former director of the Addie McBryde Rehabilitation Center for the Blind in Jackson. Crudden is a Mississippi-licensed social worker and counselor and a nationally certified rehabilitation counselor.

Savage said receiving the award means she is “doing what God told me to do” and has been recognized and validated for her contributions to her profession. Social work is a profession that “invests in people,” she said.

“Social work is not just about helping people. We need people to invest in others, invest in strangers and invest in people different than you and who think and live differently than you,” Savage said. “When you do this, you will see that at the end of the day, we all want the same thing, and that’s why I love this profession and that’s why I want to teach others.”

Nominees for the Social Worker of the Year Award must demonstrate advocacy for clients and social policy, social work practice, program development, administration or research. Nominees also must exhibit outstanding leadership, contributions to a positive image for the social work profession and an ability to take risks to achieve outstanding results.

From 2019-2021, Savage served as the executive director of the Mississippi Conference on Social Welfare and in 2016 was the president of the conference, receiving the President Award that year. In 2011, she was named Field Instructor of the Year at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Savage currently serves as the Association of Baccalaureate of Social Work Program Educators of Color Committee Chair, is a peer reviewer for the Research on Social Work Practice journal and serves as the faculty advisor to the Phi Alpha Honor Society at MSU-Meridian.

She serves as a Wesley House Community Center vice president and was on the Mississippi Human Trafficking Planning Subcommittee from 2018-2020. For the NASW Mississippi Chapter, Savage is the Macro Social Work Chair and previously served as the Southern District Representative. She is founder and chair of the Mississippi Field Consortium, founded in 2019 to provide a collaborative relationship between field directors and field coordinators of the 11 schools of social work in Mississippi.

Part of MSU’s College of Arts and Sciences, more information about the social work program and the Department of Sociology is available at For more information about MSU-Meridian’s social work program, visit

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

Monday, April 25, 2022 - 10:00 am