Social Work Professor Catherine Havens Dies

A faculty member in Social Work for 38 years, Havens also was longtime associate dean for academic affairs and director of the MSW program.

A candle burning.

Catherine M. Havens, emeritus professor of social work, died peacefully in hospice at Saint Francis Hospital in Hartford, on March 27. She was 67.

A longtime resident of West Granby, Conn., she was born in Hartford to the late John J. Havens and Catherine (Dungan) Havens. She graduated from Saint Joseph College (now the University of St. Joseph), and earned her master’s degree from the UConn School of Social Work and JD from UConn Law.

Havens began her career at UConn in 1974 as the first director of the Women’s Center in Storrs. She joined the faculty of the School of Social Work in 1976, and held several significant administrative leadership positions throughout her 38 years at the School. Most recently, she served as associate dean for academic affairs and director of the Master’s in Social Work program. She assisted thousands of students to successfully complete their MSW degrees; served on the boards of directors and advisory committees of many community organizations, including the DCF Training Academy; and was instrumental in securing teaching opportunities for doctoral students within the MSW program and served as a teaching mentor for doctoral students.

In August 2013, Havens stepped down from her position as MSW program director and associate dean to return to the faculty in the Community Organization concentration, as a member of the Puerto Rican & Latino Studies Project, and director of the Institute for Violence Prevention and Reduction.

Havens taught courses in community organization, macro foundation practice, women’s issues, law and social work, and social welfare policy. Her areas of specialization included women’s studies focusing on women and public policy, women in administration, female offenders, criminal justice, domestic violence, law and the family, and law and social work.

Havens’ service commitments included chair of the Element Two Advisory Committee, Safe Schools/Healthy Student Federal Project – Hartford Public Schools; member of the Advisory Board, State of Connecticut Department of Children & Families Training Academy; consultant to the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women for the Sexual Harassment in High Schools research project; past member of the Boards of Directors for Legal Services Inc. and the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence; past co-chair of the Legal Committee Justice for Women Survivors of Abuse Project funded by Yale University’s Public Initiative Program; and past member of the Connecticut Women Offenders Committee.

She received many honors, including Educator of the Year in 2010 from the National Association of Social Workers, Connecticut Chapter; One Woman Makes a Difference from the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund; and was recognized as a mentor for women in social work education by the Council on Social Work Education’s Council on the Role and Status of Women in Social Work Education.

Havens is survived by her husband Charles McColgan, her son John Havens-McColgan of North Haven and family, her sister Patricia Hopkins of Newington and family, an uncle Leo Dungan of Manchester, and many cousins, nieces, and nephews. She was very excited about the birth of her first granddaughter, Lila, on March 15, 2015.

Havens supported many animal rescue and humane organizations, and owned many dogs, two at a time. She was an avid fan of UConn Women’s Basketball, and enjoyed reading and vacationing on Cape Cod every summer.

UConn social work professor emeritus Julio Morales, a close friend for more than 40 years and an officiant at her wedding, will give a eulogy at the funeral service. Friends may call from 4 to 8 p.m. today, Tuesday, March 31, at the Farley-Sullivan Funeral Home, 34 Beaver Road, Wethersfield, Conn. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, April 1, 2015 at 10 a.m. in St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church, 285 Church Street, Hartford, CT 06103. All attendees are asked to go directly to the church. Parking is available in the church parking lot across the street. Burial will follow in Mount St. Benedict Cemetery, 1 Cottage Grove Rd., Bloomfield, Conn.

Donations in her name may be made to any of the charities listed above. To extend online condolences, for directions, or for more information, go to