Wave Perry, MA ’32 & Eline Jorgensen Perry, MA ’32

Wave Perry (MA ’32) and Eline Jorgensen (MA ’32) were among GSSW’s first eight students who entered the program in 1931 and graduated a year later. At that time, the University of Denver’s social work program was known as the Department of Applied Social Science.

Wave Perry’s Master’s thesis was entitled Nine hundred homeless men residents of Denver: A study of cases known to the Citizens’ Relief Department in 1927-1932. Soon after graduation, he became the Supervisor of the Boys’ Department at the Colorado Children’s Aid Society in Denver. His subsequent long career with the Department of Health, Education and Welfare took him first to Washington, D. C., then to Atlanta where he was Director of HEW’s Southern Region. After the Cuban revolution brought Fidel Castro to power, Wave was in charge of HEW’s Cuban Refugee Program, which provided $1.6 billion in money, food, medical care and social services to nearly a million Cuban exiles between 1961 and 1981.

Just before his death in 1997, Wave revealed to the young man who was his nurse that he’d once visited a Japanese internment camp established during World War II by President Franklin Roosevelt. Wave was so ashamed of the camps, he said, that he’d never mentioned the visit to his family.

Eline Jorgensen wrote her Master’s thesis about Denver’s Margery Reed Mayo Social Center and Day Nursery, one of the contributors to the social work program’s start-up costs.  Jorgensen married classmate Wave Perry shortly after graduation, then became a supervisor at Denver’s Bureau of Public Welfare. Years later, she worked at the University of Colorado Psychopathic Hospital, another organization that had played a key role in our school’s founding. Eline Jorgensen Perry died in 1980.

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