Ms. Siegel, a licensed clinical social worker who since 1999 has lectured for the Department of Social Work Education, died Thursday, Aug. 27 from uterine cancer. She was 58.
Dr. Virginia Rondero Hernandez, chair of the department, informed students and faculty Monday. She said Ms. Siegel’s death was sudden, as the severity of her illness progressed rapidly.
Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro has directed that University flags be posted at half-staff from sunrise to sunset the day of the campus service to honor Ms. Siegel’s memory.
“Dolores spent her life dedicated to the field of social work,” Rondero Hernandez said. “She was truly passionate about our profession.”
Ms. Siegel’s professional involvements included the California Society for Clinical Social Workers, where she served on the board of directors. She was also certified by the National Academy of Certified Social Workers and was a member of the National Association of Social Workers.
A native of Jacksonville, Ill., Ms. Siegel earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Illinois College in 1979 and a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Illinois School of Social Work, Champaign-Urbana in 1981.
Before joining the Fresno State faculty, Ms. Siegel specialized in adoption, marriage and family therapy, and served as a clinical supervisor for the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. She also was head counseling coordinator for the Catholic Archdiocese of Peoria.
During her time at the University, Ms. Siegel taught undergraduate practice classes, master’s level foundation practice classes and Title IV-E Master of Social Work integrative seminars. In addition she was instrumental in the development of the curriculum for the master’s level foundation practice. She served as liaison for social work students placed in several Central Valley county child welfare offices as well as a host of other human service settings in the region.
“Dolores was the consummate social work professional, loved and respected by faculty peers, students, and community members,” said Rondero Hernandez. “She maintained a high degree of integrity and lived the profession’s code of ethics. Dolores challenged her students and encouraged them in a compassionate manner. Most of all, she provided them the gifts of knowledge, practice skills and abilities to become competent and effective social workers. We will miss her greatly.”
On the Department of Social Work’s Facebook page, many of her former and current students expressed their condolences and gratitude. Lydia Vang writes, “My heart breaks to hear this. I am proud to have been one of the many students whose lives she has touched and whose careers she’s helped build.”
“This is heartbreaking news,” wrote Meghan Hulbert, a former student. “Ms. Siegel was my very first professor on my first day of my MSW program, and she helped and supported me the whole way through to the end as my reader for my thesis. I will always remember her kind smile, encouraging words, and helping ways. She will be greatly missed.”
Rondero Hernandez said confidential counseling services are available to students through the campus Student Health and Counseling Center.
Ms. Siegel is survived by her husband, Joel Siegel and their daughter, Natalie, along with her sister, Donna Barnes and her husband Michael; brother Gordon Robinson and his wife Susie, and eight nieces and nephews. She is also survived by mother-in-law, Ruth Newman Siegel, sister-in-law Amy Halperin and her husband Ira, and their son, Eric Halperin.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests any donations be made to Hinds Hospice, 2490 W. Shaw Ave., Fresno, CA, 93711.