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Charles Longino, expert on aging and retirement migration, dies

December 30, 2008

Charles F. Longino Jr., a Wake Forest University professor known worldwide for his expertise on the sociology of aging and retirement migration, died Dec. 25 in Winston-Salem after an illness.

A native of Mississippi, Longino was Washington M. Wingate Professor of Sociology and director of the Reynolda Gerontology Program at Wake Forest.  Longino, 70, was also professor of public health sciences at the Wake Forest School of Medicine.

With funding from the National Institute on Aging, AARP and other sources, Longino conducted several major research projects on migration trends of older Americans and other aging-related issues.  He was the author of numerous books, including “Retirement Migration in America,” and countless academic articles, book chapters and encyclopedia entries.  His expertise attracted invitations to speak across the nation and around the world.

In his writings and speeches, he explored such topics as demographic trends that would shape U.S. policy in the 21st century, the state of health care for elderly people, and popular images of aging.

Longino’s colleagues said what set him apart was his ability to synthesize many disciplines—sociology, political science, economics, demographics—into the study of aging.

“My goal,” he once said, “is to bridge between the sciences, and the social sciences on one side, and the humanities of aging on the other.”

At Wake Forest, he earned the praise of college students who appreciated his dedication to teaching, despite his busy research, writing and speaking schedule.  Longino was service-minded and was a fixture at Wake Forest’s Late-Night Breakfasts, preparing food and serving students during exam week.  Longino founded the Late-Night Breakfasts early in his Wake Forest tenure.  He also developed a reputation for helping new students and their families on move-in day each fall.

Before joining Wake Forest’s faculty in 1991, he had served on faculties at the University of Miami, the University of Kansas, the University of Virginia and the University of North Carolina.  He received his doctorate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, his Master of Arts degree at Colorado University, and his Bachelor of Arts degree at Mississippi College.

During the 1990s, Longino served as associate director of the J. Paul Sticht Center on Aging.  He held numerous leadership positions with organizations and publications dedicated to gerontology and sociology.  He was president of the Gerontological Society of America, the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education, and the Southern Gerontological Society. 

Press Contacts:

Kevin Cox
(336) 758-5237

Cheryl Walker
(336) 758-5237

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