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Koenig to give keynote address at the 8th Annual Gerontology Celebration


BLACKSBURG, Va., April 20, 2004 – Harold G. Koenig, M.D., M.H.Sc., will be the keynote speaker at Virginia Tech's Center for Gerontology's Graduate Certificate and Awards Celebration on May 6.

The ceremony honors students with a Graduate Certificate in Gerontology and recognizes student and faculty award winners. University and community members are invited to attend the celebration held from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, May 6, in the Fralin Biotechnology Center Auditorium on Virginia Tech's campus.

Dr. Koenig is an advocate of increasing the presence of religion and spirituality in the daily practice of medicine and has testified before the U.S. Senate about the benefits of spirituality on health. The title of his presentation is Religion, Spirituality and Health: History, Research, and Application.

Koenig is founder and director of the Center for the Study of Religion/Spirituality and Health at Duke University. Board-certified in general and geriatric psychiatry, and geriatric medicine, Koenig is professor of psychiatry and medicine at Duke University. He has published extensively (nearly 250 scientific peer-reviewed articles and 26 books in print or in preparation) in the fields of mental health, geriatrics, and religion; has presented his research at numerous professional venues (including the United Nations); has been featured on national and international news (all major U.S. networks) and radio programs (including multiple NPR, BBC, and CBC interviews), and written for more than 250 magazines and newspapers (including cover stories for Newsweek, Reader's Digest and Parade). He is editor of the International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine, and founder and editor-in-chief of Science and Theology News. Twice nominated for the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, Dr. Koenig's latest books include The Healing Power of Faith, The Handbook of Religion and Health, and Spirituality in Patient Care.

Established in 1977-78, the Center for Gerontology serves as the organizational unit and focal point for aging-related activities at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. The Center's primary mission is to foster and facilitate multidisciplinary research that enhances the quality of life of older adults. In support of this mission, the Center focuses primarily on three streams of coordinated research: Family Gerontology, Health and Aging, and Elder Rights.

The Center is the administrative unit for the Graduate Certificate in Gerontology, a university-approved program of graduate study and one of the first programs awarded the Program of Merit distinction by the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education. This meritorious designation verifies that this program is consistent with national practice and guidelines established by AGHE, assures the public of the quality of the program and its graduates, and clarifies for employers the knowledge and skills imparted to students who graduate with a Gerontology Graduate Certificate from Virginia Tech.

In support of the University's outreach mission, the Center serves as a research-based educational resource for academic departments across the university and for community agencies and organizations that concern themselves with research or services to the older population. The Center's faculty members frequently provide technical assistance, written materials, and educational programs to agencies, organizations, and individuals in the Commonwealth.

In 2003 the Center celebrated its 25th anniversary, making it one of the oldest university research centers at Virginia Tech. It is located in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

The College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences embraces the arts, humanities, social and human sciences, and education. The College nurtures intellect and spirit, enlightens decision-making, inspires positive change, and improves the quality of life for people of all ages. It is home to the departments of Apparel, Housing & Resource Management; Communication; Educational Leadership & Policy Studies; English; Foreign Languages & Literatures; History; Human Development; Interdisciplinary Studies; Music; Philosophy; Political Science; ROTC; Science and Technology in Society; Sociology; Teaching & Learning; and Theatre Arts.