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Nancy Boyd Webb, Former GSS Faculty Member and Dumpson Chair, Deceased at 90


Fordham’s Graduate School of Social Service mourns the loss of former faculty member and James R. Dumpson Chair in Child Welfare Studies Dr. Nancy Boyd Webb. Boyd Webb passed away Sunday Feb. 5, 2023, at Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport, MA, with her family at her bedside. She was 90 years old.

“Her long list of achievements and accomplishments is a testament to the best of us,’ said Debra M. McPhee, Ph.D., dean of GSS.

Boyd Webb was the wife of Dr. Kempton E. Webb for 68 years. She was a resident of Amesbury for 19 years and was born in Everett, MA, daughter of the late Angie and Earl Boyd. She earned her undergraduate degree from Radcliffe/Harvard College, MSW degree from Smith College, and DSW from Columbia University. Dr. Webb was a retired Distinguished Professor of Social Work emerita at Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service, author/editor, child and family therapist, keynote speaker, workshop presenter, consultant, wife, mother, and grandmother. She had been in reasonably good health despite having had atrial fibrillation for many years. Nancy’s family was the center of her life. Besides her husband, she is survived by her daughter, Rachel Webb and husband William Scott of Newburyport, MA; her son, Scott Webb and wife Rosemary Wooden Webb of Hinesburg, VT; her sister Barbara Fedele of West Virginia; four grandchildren, Katherine Scott and her fiancé Avery Rossow, Jennifer Scott, and Sophia and Preston Webb; and her nieces Oriana and Angie Fedele. She was the sister of the late Charlotte Ross and Robert Boyd. In addition to her family, Nancy will be missed by her many professional colleagues and hundreds of students whom she taught and mentored in the clinical practice area over the 30 years that she was on the faculty of Fordham University.

In 1985, Dr. Webb founded a Post-Master’s Certificate Program in Child and Adolescent Therapy which continued for 22 years until her retirement. Dr. Webb formerly held the endowed James R. Dumpson Chair in Child Welfare Studies at Fordham and was a leading authority on social work and play therapy with children who experienced trauma, various kinds of losses, and bereavement. She published widely on these topics, supervised practitioners, provided staff training, and presented frequently post-retirement as a keynote speaker and workshop leader at professional conferences. When Dr. Webb was not teaching, she was writing professional books and papers in her Lake Champlain vacation home for 50 summers. She and her family lived 3 years in Brazil and 2 years in Portugal relevant to geographic field research of Brazil by her husband Dr. Kempton Webb of Columbia University.  She continued to teach and consult in Fordham’s Certificate Program in Palliative Care for several years post-retirement. In 2010 Smith College honored Dr. Webb with its prestigious Day/Garrett award, and in 2021 the NY chapter of the Association for Social Work honored Dr. Webb with its Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dr. Webb’s 15 books cover a wide scope of problematic situations impacting children and are considered essential references for University clinical courses and for agencies and practitioners.  Many have been published in several editions and the latest, Play Therapy with Children and Adolescents in Crisis, is in its 4th completely revised edition.  Previous editions of this book were published in Chinese, Korean, and Turkish. Her DVD, Techniques of Play Therapy, won a bronze medal in the NY Film Festival.

In addition to academic pursuits consulting with schools and agencies, Dr. Webb participated regularly in several interdisciplinary play therapy, and bereavement professional organizations where she frequently gave keynote presentations and conducted workshops. Dr. Webb was interviewed and taped for the Association for Play Therapy’s archives in a series titled ‘History Speaks’. Her abiding hope was to help the social work profession prepare its students to help children and families in need.

A Celebration of Life will be held on June 3rd, 2023, at 1:00pm to 3:00pm at the Cremation Society of New Hampshire, 243 Hanover St., Manchester, NH 03104. Memorial tributes may be addressed to the Cremation Society of NH at: Burial service will be private.  


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