A doctoral scholarship fund created in 2021 by the Gerontology Institute and Department of Gerontology at UMass Boston is growing quickly, surpassing its original goal and opening the possibility of offering awards to two doctoral students.

The scholarship honors Frank Caro, the former Gerontology Institute director, chair of the Department of Gerontology, researcher, journal editor, and mentor who was deeply committed to social justice. Caro passed away in October 2020 at the age of 84. The Frank Caro Scholarship for Social Justice in Aging will support doctoral students who are dedicated to prioritizing under-represented communities in their research and/or service through a culturally informed approach. The award includes full tuition coverage, year-round research stipends, and professional development funding.

At a May 9 meeting of the scholarship committee, UMass Boston Chancellor Marcelo Suárez-Orozco noted the critical, timely importance of studying population aging. UMass Boston’s gerontology program is well suited to address the challenges and opportunities that aging presents, Suárez-Orozco noted, given its deep roots in the field and the university’s unwavering commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“Last year was very successful in fundraising for the scholarship,” says Jeffrey Burr, professor of gerontology and a member of the scholarship committee. “We had hoped to raise $250,000 for a single scholarship. We surpassed that initial goal, raising nearly $400,000 in pledges and donations. If we can raise another $100,000, we could offer two recurring scholarships with the funds in-hand.”

Ryan McDonald, associate vice chancellor for principal and leadership gifts, told the committee the State of Massachusetts will match 50 cents to the dollar for pledges of between $50,000 and $500,000 made to University of Massachusetts schools. The gifts may be one-time gifts or could be spread over multiple years. The matching program runs through June 30, 2022, while funds last.

“Gifts of any size will go a long way to supporting this worthy cause,” says Burr. “Please join us in this important endeavor and make a concrete difference.”

Donate to the Frank Caro Scholarship for Social Justice in Aging

To recruit doctoral candidates for the award, Caro Scholarship committee members are networking extensively among academic and professional colleagues across the U.S., along with organizations and private funders.

Read more about the creation of the Caro Scholarship

To learn more about the Frank Caro Scholarship for Social Justice in Aging, write to UMass Boston Gerontology Doctoral Program Director Kathrin Boerner, kathrin.boerner@umb.edu, or Gerontology Professor Jeffrey Burr, jeffrey.burr@umb.edu.