A $1.5 million challenge grant from the Leonard and Sophie Davis Fund has established the Edward L. Schneider Chair in Gerontology at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology to advance the study of health economics and older adults.
The endowed chair honors Dean Emeritus Schneider, a professor of gerontology at the USC Leonard Davis School and the Keck School of Medicine of USC. The inaugural chair holder is Reginald Tucker-Seeley, an assistant professor who recently joined the USC Leonard Davis School from Harvard University and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where he was an assistant professor of social and behavioral sciences.
Schneider is a nationally recognized expert on healthy aging and elder care who served as dean of the USC Leonard Davis School from 1986 to 2004. He was previously the deputy director of the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health and also played a key role in the creation of the Buck Institute on Aging in Marin County.
USC Leonard Davis School Dean Pinchas Cohen hosted a dedication and installation ceremony attended on Sept. 18 by Leonard and Sophie Davis Fund President Alan Davis, a USC alumnus and the son of the school’s namesake; his wife, Mary Lou Dauray; and USC Leonard Davis School leaders, faculty, board members, supporters and friends.
“This generous gift made possible by the Leonard and Sophie Davis Fund enables us to tackle the economic challenges around providing health care to the growing numbers of aging Americans,” Cohen said. It also recognizes the contributions Schneider has made to the field of gerontology, USC and to improving the lives of older adults, he added.
Science and service
The Leonard and Sophie Davis Fund challenged the USC Leonard Davis School to match its gift, with the goal of enabling the school to recruit a world-renowned scholar in the economics of aging. The Auen Foundation, the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation, several members of the Colyear family, Richard and Adrienne Matros, Keith Renken, Sharon Tedesco, Shari and Robert Thorell, and Ruth Ziegler provided funding to complete the challenge.
“I see my father’s passion for improving the lives of older adults in Ed Schneider and his tireless teaching and service on behalf of aging Americans,” Alan Davis said. “The Leonard and Sophie Davis Fund is pleased to be able to recognize Ed’s many contributions with this new chair in his name.”
Schneider said: “I am honored that the Leonard and Sophie Davis Fund has endowed a chair in my name. I am very pleased that Reginald Tucker-Seeley will be installed as the inaugural chair holder. In both his science and service, he is a wonderful exemplar of what it means to be a gerontologist.”
A need for research
Tucker-Seeley’s research focuses on the social determinants of health and attempts to discern how a person’s financial circumstances affect his or her physical and mental health and behaviors across the life course. Tucker-Seeley is spending the 2017-2018 academic year in Washington, D.C. at the National Academy of Medicine as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellow.
“I am extremely grateful to the Leonard and Sophie Davis Fund and all of the matching gift donors for recognizing the need for research to understand the various pathways through which financial resources can impact health and healthy aging, and to Ed Schneider for his pioneering work in the field of gerontology,” Tucker-Seeley said. “It is an honor to be the inaugural holder of this chair, and I am excited to continue working to advance research in this area at USC.”
As a symbolic gift to honor the dedication and installation of the Edward L. Schneider Chair, Tucker-Seeley and Mary Lou Dauray and Alan Davis were presented with special cherry wood replicas of an iconic Eames-designed chair. Schneider received a full-sized personalized captain’s rocking chair inscribed with the words “you can finally sit down.”
The fulfillment of the endowed chair marked the completion of a larger Leonard and Sophie Davis Fund challenge grant, which helped the school realize $10 million in new endowment gifts. The event also recognized the Leonard and Sophie Davis Fund’s support of the renovation of the school’s new student lounge, the creation of the Sophie Davis Art Gallery, and many student and faculty awards.