VERN BENGTSON is a faculty research associate with the School of Social Work's Edward R. Roybal Institute on Aging. Prior to this he held the AARP/University Chair in Gerontology at USC. He is past president of the Gerontological Society of America and a MERIT awardee from the National Institutes of Health.
Bengtson has published 16 books and 260 research papers on gerontology, theories of aging, sociology of aging and family sociology. He has been elected to various offices in the American Sociological Association and the Gerontological Society of America and has twice been granted MERIT awards for research from the National Institute on Aging. Early in his career Bengtson started the Longitudinal Study of Generations, a multi-disciplinary investigation of families, aging and social change, and it has received continuous NIH funding over eight waves of data collection from families the study has followed since 1970. Bengtson’s 17th book, based on these data, is Families and Faith: Generations and the Transmission of Religion, published by Oxford University Press.
For his research and professional contributions Bengtson has received a number of honors and awards, including the Distinguished Scholar Award from the American Sociological Association’s Section on Aging and the Life Course (1995); the Robert W. Kleemeier Award from the Gerontological Society of America (1996); the Ernest W. Burgess Distinguished Career Award from the National Council on Family Relations (1998); and the Reuben Hill Award from the National Council of Family Relations (1980 and 1986). He has been elected fellow of three professional societies in three academic disciplines: the American Psychological Association, the Gerontological Society of America and the National Council of Family Relations.
At USC Bengtson has had research and training grants totaling $24 million, most from the National Institutes of Health. In addition he has received three major awards for teaching from the Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, as well as a national honor, the Distinguished Mentor Award from the Gerontological Society of America. Bengtson had a hand in helping establish USC's Andrus Gerontology Center and Davis School of Gerontology.