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The Michael C. Langendorf Memorial Scholarship

image of Michael Langendorf and graphic introducing memorial scholarship

Honoring a Lifetime of Commitment and Friendship

Michael C. Langendorf devoted his life to the social work profession. He was a caring and dedicated friend to many at the School of Social Work (SSW), the local community, and beyond. In honor of a lifetime of commitment and friendship, Professor Sandra Kopels has created the Michael C. Langendorf Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship will provide financial support for MSW students pursuing careers in the school social work profession and recognize a person that believed in making a difference in the lives of others through service and friendship.

Michael was proud to be a psychiatric and school social worker and was beloved by his community and colleagues. He received his B.S. in Psychology in 1975 from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) before attending the UIUC School of Social Work and earning his MSW in 1981. Following graduation, he worked for the Department of Children and Family Services and the Oak Therapeutic School in Chicago. Upon moving to central Illinois, Michael worked at Cunningham Children’s Home in Urbana, St. Elizabeth Hospital in Danville, Private Mental Health Associates in Danville, Ford-Iroquois Special Education Coop, Vermilion Association for Special Education, University of Illinois Laboratory High School, and USD116.

Michael served on several committees and boards throughout the state of Illinois. He was the Legislative Chair for the Illinois Association of School Social Workers for over twenty years. He was passionate about providing services for students and was a champion for the field of school social work. Michael shared his passion and concern for children by serving on the Governor’s Early Childhood Mental Health Committee, the Star/Net Mini-Grant review Committee, Novice Teacher Support Project Steering Committee, the U of I School of Social Work Advisory Committee, the U of I Council on Teacher Education Committee, VASE Autism Team, the Vermilion County Emergency/Crisis Intervention Team and the Vermilion County Early Intervention Council. He advocated for students by voluntarily attending school conferences and staffings, mediating for children to receive appropriate services, and talking on the telephone for hours to support and coach parents as they advocated for their children. Michael also served as the chair of the Champaign-Urbana Jewish Federation’s Human Services Committee, helping to support individuals and families in the community.

Michael was a fabulous chef and took pride in the meals he served to his friends and family. No cooking task was too small or too great – cooking hot dogs for a soccer team, cooking a Thanksgiving dinner for hundreds at school, or making gourmet meals for friends. Michael had a special talent for making everyone he met feel important and special. He always opened his heart and his home to anyone in need. He loved keeping in touch with everyone and would call, text and Facebook message at all hours of the day, always expressing to the ones he cared about how much they meant to him. In Michael’s own words, he said, “I am just a noodge who cooks.”

Michael was diagnosed with glioblastoma in February 2021 and fought so hard to enjoy each moment he had. Michael passed away on Tuesday, February 8, 2022. His loss leaves a deep hole in so many people’s lives.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can support this scholarship, please contact Nathan Goebel at 217-244-4709 or

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