The University of San Francisco Gains Official Designation as an Age-Friendly University
SAN FRANCISCO (September 7, 2021) – The University of San Francisco (USF) has officially been designated as an Age-Friendly University (AFU) by the Age-Friendly University Global Network, becoming the first Jesuit university in the world to be part of this movement. Led by USF’s Age-Friendly University Committee and the Interdisciplinary Committee on Aging, USF is committed to the Age-Friendly University principles as they align with the university’s Jesuit mission.
“I am delighted to welcome the University of San Francisco to the family of Age-Friendly Universities around the world,” said Professor Anne Sinnott, the deputy president of the Dublin City University. “It is highly significant that USF, the first Jesuit university in the world to join this important global movement, shares similar values of service and solidarity which resonate with the Ten Principles of an AFU. I look forward to engaging with USF moving forward.”
Most college campuses are age-isolated with primarily younger adults as students. USF is unusual with over 1,000 older adult students each semester attending the Fromm Institute for Lifelong Learning at USF.
“USF’s Interdisciplinary Committee on Aging has been an important part of the university community since 2003,” stated Professors Lisa Wagner and Allison Thorson, current and past-directors of the Interdisciplinary Committee on Aging. “Throughout this time, we have worked to increase awareness of aging issues and to connect and promote research and community efforts to better support older adults. These efforts include working to understand the many facets and misconceptions of the aging process through intergenerational courses with the Fromm Institute for Lifetime Learning, and the establishment of an undergraduate Gerontology Minor. We, along with our more than 30 undergraduate Gerontology minors, are thrilled to be part of USF’s formal commitment to aging, and honored to be one of only 83 universities designated as age-friendly.”
Being an Age-Friendly University will increase the opportunities USF has for intergenerational learning, which is known to have enormous benefits for students of all ages. USF’s former Interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Tyrone H. Cannon, has been a supporter of this initiative, stating that, “Becoming an Age-Friendly University formalizes our social justice commitment to students of all ages by addressing the distribution of opportunities and privileges within society to better meet the needs of older adults.”
This designation will now serve as a guide for future strategic planning activities, both at the University level and among specific units on campus.
“Being designated as an Age-Friendly University recognizes USF’s deep commitment to age inclusivity, but also helps us continue down this path toward age friendliness with the support of an entire network of similarly minded universities,” said Associate Professor Erin Grinshteyn, AFU Subcommittee Chair and Interdisciplinary Committee on Aging member.
As an Age-Friendly University, USF will improve its connections across disciplines and foster connections in the community. Membership will provide USF access to the Age-Friendly University network of global partners, as well as emerging age-friendly efforts, and it will formalize the university’s commitment to social justice among students of all ages. Facilitating efforts to connect student age diversity to broader campus efforts on increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion will be a primary focus.
“The University of San Francisco has included the life-long learners of the Fromm Institute as members of the university community for more than 45 years,” shared Derek S. Leighnor, executive director of the Fromm Institute for Lifelong Learning at USF. “This new designation is a recognition and validation of the good work the university undertook so many years ago. All of us at the Fromm Institute appreciate USF’s leadership and look forward to the many opportunities this designation brings.”
An assessment project to define USF’s strengths and challenges related to each of the ten age-friendly university principles was implemented by USF alumna Cameron Grant BSN ‘16, MPH ‘20 and was supervised by Associate Professor Grinshteyn. This assessment of these age-friendly principles now serve as the baseline for USF’s strategic planning framework and activities.
About the University of San Francisco
The University of San Francisco is a private, Jesuit Catholic university that reflects the diversity, optimism, and opportunities of the city that surrounds it. USF offers more than 230 undergraduate, graduate, professional, and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, law, education, and nursing and health professions. At USF, each course is an intimate learning community in which top professors encourage students to turn learning into positive action, so the students graduate equipped to do well in the world — and inspired to change it for the better. For more information, visit usfca.edu.
About the Age-Friendly University (AFU) Global Network
The Age-Friendly University network consists of institutions of higher education around the globe who have endorsed the 10 AFU principles and committed themselves to becoming more age-friendly in their programs and policies. The Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE) endorses the AFU principles and invites its members and affiliates to call upon their institutions to become part of this pioneering initiative.