Maryann Mahaffey Memorial Garden Tribute

Longtime Wayne State University School of Social Work professor Maryann Mahaffey was deeply committed to solving critical social issues. We're raising funds to honor and memorialize the impact Maryann made in the Detroit and Wayne State communities.

Maryann Mahaffey Memorial Garden Tribute

Enshrined in the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame, Maryann Mahaffey was a champion for women’s rights, filing the precedent-setting lawsuit which established a woman's right to run for office using her birth name, leading the fight to open the doors of the Detroit Athletic Club to women, and enacting an ordinance explaining and prohibiting sexual harassment of city employees.

A longtime professor at the Wayne State University School of Social Work, Maryann left a legacy in the hundreds of students and rising stars she taught and mentored, including the late City Council Member and President Erma Henderson, the current Dean of the WSU School of Social Work, and members of the WSU Board of Governors. 


To honor and memorialize the impact Maryann made in Detroit and at Wayne State, Wayne State University’s School of Social Work is participating in the Maryann Mahaffey Memorial Campaign.

Help us ensure that Maryann’s memory and impact is honored by making a gift to one of the funds below.

  1. Support the naming of the Maryann Mahaffey Memorial Garden located on Wayne State’s campus in front of the School of Social Work building. The space looks out onto Woodward Avenue in the heart of Detroit and connects the Wayne State School of Social Work to the community and citizens for which Maryann advocated. Your gift will help take down the wall, create, maintain and enhance this garden as a special place that will bear Maryann's name.
  2. Support community projects aligned with Maryann's legacy and the causes she championed throughout her life, such as ADA compliant recreational equipment for children. Gifts made to the School of Social Work Dean’s Discretionary Fund in memory of Maryann will support university and community projects in her honor at the discretion of the Dean. 
Rendering of the memorial garden.
Rendering of the new memorial garden adjacent to Woodward Avenue.
The garden space is currently walled off.
The garden space is currently walled off, but will become more open and inviting upon completion of this project.

Gifts made through this page are made directly to Wayne State University, and all gifts made will be processed and receipted by Wayne State University.

Ms. Mahaffey, a proud social worker, was the first woman elected as President to the National Association of Social Workers, co-edited a seminal text (Practical Politics: Social Work and Political Responsibility), and was a member of the executive committee of the International Federation of Social Work.

Maryann Mahaffey served 12 years as a City Council President and 32 years as a Member. She was also an author, educator, civil rights activist, volunteer and political leader at local, state, national and international levels for nearly sixty years, putting into action her deep commitment to solving critical social issues.

To learn more about Maryann, her legacy, and this campaign, click here.