Ekerdt Takes Office as The Gerontological Society of America’s President

For Immediate Release
November 28, 2017

Contact: Todd Kluss
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David J. Ekerdt, PhD, FGSA, of the University of Kansas has been installed as the new president of The Gerontological Society of America (GSA), the nation’s largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging. He was elected by GSA’s membership, which consists of more than 5,500 researchers, educators, practitioners, and other professionals.

Ekerdt is the 74th person to hold the office since the Society was founded in 1945. As president, he will oversee matters of GSA’s governance and strategic planning, while also managing the program for GSA’s 2018 Annual Scientific Meeting. He has chosen “The Purposes of Longer Lives” as the theme for this conference, which will take place in Boston, Massachusetts, from November 14 to 18.

“When it comes to aging, everyone is eventually a gerontologist,” Ekerdt said. “Professionals who have chosen this field need a strong and welcoming organization that supports their pursuit of knowledge and best practices and that helps them share their insights with the public. GSA is that organization.”

Ekerdt is a professor of sociology and formerly the director of the Gerontology Center at the University of Kansas. He had previous positions at the university’s Medical Center, at the Boston VA Normative Aging Study, at Boston University School of Medicine, and at Harvard School of Dental Medicine. His funded studies of work and retirement, aging and material culture, and behavioral expectations for later life have resulted in 100+ articles, chapters, reviews, editorials, and edited books.

He was editor-in-chief of the four-volume Macmillan Encyclopedia of Aging. Ekerdt has been a GSA member since 1975 and a fellow since 1988. He served as editor of the Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences; as member and chair of GSA’s Publications Committee; and on task forces exploring electronic and contract publishing. He has been chair of the Behavioral and Social Sciences (BSS) Section, plus other committee service for BSS. He recently led efforts to revise GSA’s sets of bylaws, and was part of a working group regarding future options for GSA governance. He has chaired the Aging and Life Course Section of the American Sociological Association. At the American Society on Aging, he has been member and chair of the Generations Editorial Board.

“Dave is a distinguished scholar in the social sciences who is committed to fostering interdisciplinary collaboration, which is a central goal of GSA’s mission,” said GSA Executive Director and CEO James Appleby, BSPharm, MPH. “We look forward to working with him in the year ahead to advance innovation in aging."


The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) is the nation's oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the field of aging. The principal mission of the Society — and its 5,500+ members — is to advance the study of aging and disseminate information among scientists, decision makers, and the general public. GSA’s structure also includes a policy institute, the National Academy on an Aging Society, and an educational unit, the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education.


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