Clark Tibbitts Award

Clark Tibbitts (1903 - 1985)

Clark Tibbitts was an architect of the field of gerontological education - an academic who spent most of his career in the federal government as an advocate for the development of aging education, training, and research programs in institutions of higher education. Tibbitts was the director of the Institute for Human Adjustment at the University of Michigan for 12 years before moving to Washington, D.C., in 1949 to serve as an specialist in aging with the agency that preceded the U.S. Departments of Health, Education, and Welfare, and Health and Human Services. He retired in 1983 as the special assistant to the U.S. Commissioner on Aging after 35 years of government service.

During those three decades, his contributions and accomplishments were many, including the following: he directed the 1950 National Conference on Aging and helped develop the 1961 White House Conference on Aging; chaired the HEW Committee on Aging and Geriatrics in the early 1950s; founded the Administration on Aging (AoA); and founded and directed AoA's Education and Training Program and its National Clearinghouse on Aging.

He played a major role in planning, organizing, and convening many international conferences on aging from the 1950's through the 1980's. He authored more than 100 publications; the most notable, undoubtedly, was the Handbook of Social Gerontology: Societal Aspects of Aging, which for a decade was the principal textbook on aging.

Clark Tibbitts died in October 1985 at age 82, leaving a legacy of accomplishments in academic institutions throughout the world. Through a combination of personal friendships and professional expertise, he fostered a federal commitment to the improvement of the lives of older persons through the development and growth of hundreds of academic gerontology programs.

The Clark Tibbitts Award

The AGHE award was established in 1980 to recognize those individuals and organizations that have made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of gerontology as a field of study in institutions of higher education. In 1985, AGHE's Executive Committee renamed the AGHE award the Clark Tibbitts Award to recognize the major role that Tibbitts played in establishing and nurturing the field of gerontological education.

In addition, Tibbitts was key in establishing the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education. Tibbitts and colleague Wilma Donahue (University of Michigan) were the first recipients of the AGHE award in 1981. Walter Beattie was the first recipient of the Clark Tibbitts Award in 1986. The Tibbitts Award is presented each year at the AGHE annual meeting.

Purpose of the Award

This award, named for an architect of the field of gerontological education, is given by AGHE each year to an individual or organization that has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of gerontology and/or geriatrics education.

Eligibility Criteria

Nominees must have made a national impact on gerontology and/or geriatrics education, have had significant involvement in gerontology and/or geriatrics education, and have advanced the goals and mission of the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education. At the time of the nomination, the nominee must be affiliated with an AGHE member institution.


Nominees will be reviewed and an awardee will be recommended by the AGHE Awards Committee with final approval given by the Association's Executive Committee.       


The awardee becomes an honorary Fellow of the Association, receives an engraved plaque, complimentary Annual Meeting registration in the year the award is presented, and delivers a major address at the Annual Meeting of the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education.

Nomination Process

To be considered for the award, the nominator must submit, via email, a nominations packet that includes a primary letter of nomination, a maximum of four supporting letters of nomination, a copy of the nominee's curriculum vitae or resume, and a headshot. Only electronic submissions will be reviewed. If at all possible, the nomination packet should be in the form of one, PDF file that includes all of the required material. Nomination packets should be sent to AGHE at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Nominators are encouraged to work closely with nominees to ensure the strongest and most complete nomination package possible. Self-nominations are not permitted.

For questions about this award please contact the AGHE office at (202) 289-9806 or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Marilyn R. Gugliucci | University of New England
JoAnn Damron-Rodriguez | University of California, Los Angeles
Case Western Reserve University
Suzanne R. Kunkel | Miami University
Harry "Rick" Moody | AARP
Marie A. Bernard | National Institute on Aging/National Institute of Health
John A. Krout | Ithaca College
Edward F. Ansello | Virginia Commonwealth University
Frank J. Whittington | George Mason University
Larry Polivka | University of South Florida
Leonard W. Poon | University of Georgia
Robert Binstock | Case Western Reserve University
William J. McAuley | George Mason University
Sally Newman | University of Pittsburgh
Jon Hendricks | Oregon State University
Phoebe Liebig | University of Southern California
Stephen Cutler | University of Vermont
Bernice Parlak | Health Resources and Services Administration
Carroll Estes | University of California, San Francisco
Armin Grams | University of Vermont
James H. Schulz | Brandeis University
Scott A. Bass | University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Tom Hickey | University of Michigan
E. Percil Stanford | San Diego State University
Harvey L. Sterns | The University of Akron
David A. Peterson | University of Southern California
Joseph Britton | The Pennsylvania State University
Harold Johnson | University of Michigan
Midwest Council for Social Research in Aging
Wayne Vasey | University of South Florida
Dorothy Coons | University of Michigan
George Maddox | Duke University
Walter Beattie | Syracuse University
Mildred Seltzer | Miami University
Hiram Friedsam | University of North Texas
James Birren | University of Southern California
Robert Havighurst | University of Chicago
Clark Tibbitts | Administration on Aging

Wilma Donahue | University of Michigan

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