case western reserve university



May 23, 2012

ODA Names Terry Hokenstad to Senior Citizens Hall of Fame


The Ohio Department of Aging has inducted MSASS Professor Merl "Terry" Hokenstad into the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame.

A Distinguished University Professor at Case Western Reserve University, Hokenstad, 75, has been a proponent of the aging population for more than 40 years. He is one of 12 Ohioans that is being recognized by ODA for his contributions.

The Ohio Department of Aging celebrates outstanding older Ohioans for the roles they play in their communities, state and nation, and for what they do to promote productive and enjoyable lives. For this award, Hokenstad joins an elite class. Since 1977, more than 350 individuals have been selected, including Bob Hope, Paul Newman, Senator John Glenn, Woody Hayes, and Erma Bombeck.

During the induction ceremony last week, Hokenstad said, "As a social work educator with a focus on the field of gerontology, I have emphasized active aging in my teaching and writing, as well as my volunteer work nationally and at the United Nations. This ceremony gives recognition to the contributions that older people make to their families, communities and the larger society."

Dedicated to Service

In addition to his commitment to social work education, Hokenstad has been instrumental in spearheading numerous community projects. His work has been detailed in a biography that appears on the Ohio Department of Aging website, which is reprinted below:

For more than four decades, M. C. "Terry" Hokenstad, Jr., Ph.D., has studied global aging. His research projects have led him to give lectures and workshops at 47 universities in 23 countries. He is recognized as a worldwide leader in social work education and research, and is the Ralph S. and Dorothy P. Schmitt Professor at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, as well as a Distinguished University Professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Terry was inspired to pursue a life of community service by his father, as well as by his faith. He cites the Gospel of Luke 12:35-48: "To those whom much is given, much is required." Terry studied for the ministry, and then became a social worker serving the vulnerable elderly and poor. He continues to live life by three other commitments: learning all that he can; applying what he has learned in teaching others to serve; and conducting cross-national research to recommend improvements in policies and programs for older people.


Terry has authored eight books and numerous articles, chapters, and monographs in the fields of comparative social welfare, care of older people, and social work practice and education. He has been editor-in-chief or served on the editorial board of several scholarly journals.

Terry's cross-national research projects have examined innovations in elder care and pension policies in countries throughout the world. He has served on the United Nations Technical Committee responsible for drafting the International Plan of Action on Aging. In 2002, he was named to the U.S. delegation to the U.N. World Assembly on Aging.

Terry's research finds that the U.S. has developed a good system of elder care with many excellent services, but that the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, and some Western European countries have a more comprehensive system of care assessment and caregiver support. Thus, fewer older people in need go without appropriate services, and seniors are able to remain in their own homes longer.

"Countries around the globe are facing a growing older population and thus the need to redefine retirement," Terry has written. "The U.S. is ahead in the enactment of policy prohibiting mandatory retirement, but the American culture still does not fully support the continuation of older people in the workplace. Thus, age discrimination remains a major issue."

Terry describes himself as an active ager, which means continuing to teach and write, engaging in civic affairs and community service roles, and being a lifelong learner. He attempts to practice what he preaches, "Older people can and should actively contribute to the community and the society."

Respected by Students

Earlier this week, Hokenstad also received the Full Time Teaching Faculty Award, which he received during MSASS diploma ceremonies at The Temple-Tifereth Israel in Cleveland. One student wrote:

"Dr. Hokenstad never ceases to impress students with his ability to exceed the high standards of excellence he has set for himself and others ... He integrates the most current resources and knowledge into his class materials, readings and assignments, making students feel a part of critical conversations in the field ... He is a most appreciated role model and mentor."