Festschrift Description

Festschrift in honour of Dr. Wolf Wolfensberger (1934-2011):

The Influence of the Person and his Ideas Today. 

The event was held on May 12th to 14th 2023 at the McGoogan Health Sciences Library – University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC), Omaha NE.

This event was organized and sponsored by the UNMC McGoogan Health Sciences Library, and the International Social Role Valorization Association (ISRVA).

Festschrift: “a volume of articles, essays, etc., contributed by many authors in honor of a colleague, usually published on the occasion of retirement, an important anniversary, or the like.”  The Festschrift included a gathering/symposium, videos of the presentations and book.

Background: Dr. Wolfensberger died in February 2011, and 2023 will be the 12th anniversary of his death.  2023 is also the 50th anniversary of the founding of his Training Institute for Human Service Planning, Leadership and Change Agentry at Syracuse University (the TI).  His posthumous Model Coherency book has recently been published and after a few COVID related postponements, Spring 2023 was a good time for a Festschrift event. The festschrift provided an opportunity to examine and reflect on the breadth and depth of Wolf Wolfensberger’s contributions to the crafting of excellence in human services, his analysis of what threatens the lives of vulnerable people and what things keep them safe.

Wolf Wolfensberger led an eventful life, and his work has had far-reaching impact at the very least on the thousands of people who have heard him speak, and/or read his writings.  He especially left a lot of remarkable ideas and conceptual schemes that still occupy the thoughts of a number of us who think they have continued relevance in society today. Wolf was a man of ideas and a man of action. As an agent of change he was involved in a variety of initiatives throughout his life. Twelve years after his death, we gathered to consider Wolfensberger’s life trajectory, how his ideas came about and what the future holds for them.

The chapters of the Festschrift book, were the the subject of 30-to-45-minute presentations at the festschrift event:

Presentation (chapter) titles

  1. A Brief Biographical Sketch of Dr. Wolf Wolfensberger – Susan Thomas
  2. A Tracing of the Timelines of the Work of Wolf Wolfensberger – Susan Thomas
  3. There Was No Place Like Nebraska: Wolf Wolfensberger and the Beginning of Community-Based Services – Eric A. Evans, Ph.D.
  4. Changing a country: Wolf Wolfensberger and the Principle of Normalization in Canada – Zana Lutfiyya, Ph.D.
  5. The Syracuse University Training Institute for Human Service Planning, Leadership, and Change Agentry (TI) During the Years 1973 to 2011 – Joe Osburn
  6. The Training Institute’s Pennsylvania Evaluation Project – Joe Osburn
  7. The Early Work and Teaching on Planning and Change Agentry, and What Became of It – Susan Thomas, Raymond Lemay, and Guy Caruso, Ph.D.
  8. Evolving Concepts of Service Quality: Normalization and Social Role Valorizations – John Armstrong
  9. Wolf Wolfensberger’s Use of History – Thomas Malcomson, Ph.D.
  10. The Prophetic Voice of Wolf Wolfensberger: His Faith in Light of His Teaching on Personalism and Deathmaking – Jo Massarelli
  11. Wolf P. Wolfensberger Collection at UNMC McGoogan Health Sciences Library – Darby Kurtz
  12. The ongoing legacy of Wolf Wolfensberger: “But where are moral services to come from?” Marc Tumeinski, Ph.D.
  13. Appendix : Wolfensberger publications

There was a celebratory banquet on May 13th for participants.