The Gerontology Undergraduate Program at UMass Boston came about because of a grant from the Administration on Aging in 1979 to develop and expand services to the elderly citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Subsequently, the Frank J. Manning Certificate in Gerontology named after the late great labor leader and elder advocate "Frank J. Manning" (see video) was started in 1984. This laid the groundwork for the bachelor’s degree program in gerontology, soon followed by the Certificate in Gerontological Social Policy.
The Certificate in Gerontological Social Policy builds on the knowledge and skills gained through completion of the Frank J. Manning Certificate in Gerontology by providing more advanced, in depth, and comprehensive information on policy, legislation, social issues and advocacy related to the older population. The Certificate in Gerontological Social Policy is part of the Gerontology program of the College of Public and Community Service at UMass Boston. All 12 credits from this certificate are directly transferable to the bachelor’s degree in gerontology.
All three gerontology programs are designed to provide students with an understanding of the aging network and aging process through direct service, research, field placements, public policy and legislative advocacy for the elderly. From the outset, the Gerontology Undergraduate program has sought to involve older people themselves in the study of aging, and to provide both older and younger people with the skills and resources needed to plan for an aging society. The program is designed for individuals currently working in or new to the field of gerontology. The program has brought together a diverse student body of different ages, backgrounds, levels of education and experience with the common bond of desiring to learn about the aging process and work to benefit the aging network of programs and services.
The Manning Certificate in Gerontology was awarded the Program of Merit designation from the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education in 2009.
The Gerontology Program at UMass Boston recently celebrated its 30th anniversary at the Vibrant Living Celebration held at UMass Boston.