History

Gerontological research and teaching have a long history at Penn State.

1940s

The agriculture and home economics faculties conduct projects on well-being of elderly pension recipients, retirement planning, and nutritional needs of the elderly.

1950

University President Milton S. Eisenhower appointed the faculty Committee for the Study of Adulthood

1952

Penn State offers its first course in Gerontology

1973

President John W. Oswald formally establishes the Gerontology Center as a part of the College of Human Development.

1970s

Joseph H. Britton directs the Gerontology Center for its first ten years, consolidating graduate and undergraduate training programs throughout the University with funding from the College of Human Development, the Administration on Aging, and the National Institute on Aging.
Consistent with the priorities of a major land-grant university, extensive programs in continuing education and in the cooperative extension service for practitioners and community service groups were developed during his leadership.

1980s

After Dr. Britton’s retirement, Dr. Gerald McClearn served as interim director of the Gerontology Center, managing the critical transition to a research focus. The quantity and diversity of research in aging increased dramatically with this change.

1985

K. Warner Schaie is appointed director of the Gerontology Center. Under his leadership, The Center built a strong research portfolio in developmental psychology, cognitive aging, and longitudinal data collections such as the Seattle Longitudinal Study.

2003

Melissa A. Hardy is appointed director of the Center. Under her direction, the mission of the Gerontology Center was extended to the development of partnerships for interdisciplinary and cross-college research.
New projects integrate biology and genetics with social and behavioral science research and emphasize the study of aging throughout the lifespan, but particularly from mid-life through old age.

2009

Martin J. Sliwnski is appointed director of the Center.
Research in the Gerontology Center addresses longitudinal approaches to measurement and analysis, the study of change, the connection of stress to health in diverse contexts, and the role of social policy in framing the experience of aging.

2010

The center is renamed to “The Center for Healthy Aging.”