UH professor Andrew Achenbaum Receives National Honor

Achenbaum cited for leadership, in teaching, service of gerontology

Andrew Achenbaum, professor of history and social work at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, is the 2007 recipient of the Donald P. Kent award.

The honor is given by the Gerontological Society of America each year to a person who exemplifies the highest standards for professional leadership in gerontology through teaching, service and interpretation of gerontology to the larger society.

"I am thrilled and humbled to be recognized by colleagues who have my respect and admiration," said Achenbaum, who lives in Montrose.

"As baby boomers like me come of age, we need researchers to dispel stereotypes of late life, and practitioners to create opportunities for a rising generation to enjoy bold new opportunities."

The award was created in 1973 in memory of Donald P. Kent for his leadership in translating research findings into practical use.

Achenbaum's lifelong interest in gerontology ranges from spirituality to policy-making. He teaches courses on the history of social welfare and policy in the United States, spirituality and aging.

His publications on the topic include Shades of Gray (1983), Social Security (1986), Crossing Frontiers (1995) and Older Americans, Vital Communities (2005).

"The AARP tells us that 60 is the new 30. I don't believe them, but I do think that what is 60 today is unprecedented," he said.

Achenbaum is a former delegate to the White House Conference on Aging (1981, 1995) and a winner of the Geneva Mathiasen Award in 2003 from the National Council on Aging, which he also has served as board chairman.

"We are proud of our friend and colleague. This is a well-deserved award and honor," said Ira Colby, professor and dean of the College of Social Work. "Andy possesses a perspective about gerontology that is scholarly and accessible, and conveys a tremendous insight."

The winner of the Kent Award presents a lecture at the GSA's annual Scientific Meeting the following year.

"To say that I am honored to know Andy is an understatement, knowing as I do that only the most accomplished receive this prestigious award from the Gerontological Society of America," said Steven Applewhite, UH professor of social work.

"Andy is a gifted scholar, a true gentleman, a historian and gerontologist of the highest tradition. We have all benefited from his lifetime of contributions to the field of gerontology."

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