USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology Announces Edward L. Schneider Endowed Chair

The gift honoring the school’s dean emeritus comes from a matching grant challenge issued by the Leonard and Sophie Davis Fund. Reginald Tucker-Seeley is named the inaugural chair holder.

A $1.5 million challenge grant from the Leonard and Sophie Davis Fund has established the Edward L. Schneider Chair in Gerontology at the USC Leonard Davis School to advance the study of health economics and older adults.

Alan Davis, Mary Lou Dauray, Pinchas Cohen, Shari Thorell and Kelvin Davies with Edward Schneider in his new chair. Credit: Steve Cohn

The endowed chair honors Dean Emeritus Edward L. Schneider MD, a professor of gerontology at the USC Leonard Davis School and at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, who is a nationally recognized expert on healthy aging and elder care. Schneider served as dean of the USC Leonard Davis School from 1986 to 2004. He was previously the deputy director of the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health and also played a crucial role in the creation of the Buck Institute on Aging in Marin County.

USC Leonard Davis School Dean Pinchas Cohen hosted a dedication and installation ceremony at the Gilmore Adobe on Monday, September 18 that was attended by Leonard and Sophie Davis Fund President Alan Davis, a USC alum and the son of the school’s namesake; his wife Mary Lou Dauray; and USC Leonard Davis School leaders, faculty, board members, supporters, and friends.

“This generous gift made possible by the Leonard and Sophie Davis Fund enables us to tackle the economic challenges around providing health care to the growing numbers of aging Americans,” said Dean Cohen. “Furthermore, it recognizes the many contributions Dean Emeritus Edward L. Schneider has made to the field of gerontology, to USC, and to improving the lives of so many older adults.

The Leonard and Sophie Davis Fund challenged the USC Leonard Davis School to match their gift to create the Edward L. Schneider Chair in Gerontology, with the goal of enabling the school to recruit a world-renowned scholar in the economics of aging. The Auen Foundation, the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation, several members of the Colyear family, Richard and Adrienne Matros, Keith Renken, Sharon Tedesco, Shari and Robert Thorell, and Ruth Ziegler provided funding to complete the challenge.

“I see my father’s passion for improving the lives of older adults in Ed Schneider and his tireless teaching and service on behalf of aging Americans,” said Alan Davis. “The Leonard and Sophie Davis Fund is pleased to be able to recognize Ed’s many contributions with this new chair in his name.”

“I am honored that the Leonard and Sophie Davis Fund has endowed a chair in my name,” said Schneider. “I am very pleased that Reginald Tucker-Seeley will be installed as the inaugural chair holder. In both his science and service, he is a wonderful exemplar of what it means to be a gerontologist.”

Assistant Professor Reginald Tucker-Seeley recently joined the USC Leonard Davis School faculty from Harvard University and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where he was an assistant professor of social and behavioral sciences. Tucker-Seeley’s research focuses on the social determinants of health and attempts to discern how an individual’s financial circumstances affect their physical and mental health and behaviors across the life course. Tucker-Seeley is spending the 2017-2018 academic year in Washington, DC at the National Academy of Medicine as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellow.

“I am extremely grateful to the Leonard and Sophie Davis Fund and all of the matching gift donors for recognizing the need for research to understand the various pathways through which financial resources can impact health and healthy aging, and to Ed Schneider for his pioneering work in the field of gerontology,” Tucker-Seeley said. “It is an honor to be the inaugural holder of this chair, and I am excited to continue working to advance research in this area at USC.”

As a symbolic gift to honor the dedication and installation of the Edward L. Schneider Chair, Tucker-Seeley and Dauray and Davis were presented with special cherry wood replicas of an iconic Eames-designed chair. Dr. Schneider received a full-sized personalized captain’s rocking chair, inscribed with the words, “you can finally sit down”, along with an invitation to do just that.

The fulfillment of the endowed chair marked the completion of a larger Leonard and Sophie Davis Fund challenge grant, which helped the school realize $10 million in new endowment gifts. The event also recognized the Leonard and Sophie Davis Fund’s support of the renovation of the school’s new student lounge, the creation of the Sophie Davis Art Gallery, and many student and faculty awards.

The Campaign for USC is an unprecedented fundraising effort to advance USC’s academic priorities and expand its positive impact on the community and world. When launched in 2011, the campaign had the largest fundraising goal ever announced in higher education — $6 billion. After exceeding its goal nearly 18 months ahead of schedule, the campaign continues to draw unparalleled support for the university’s mission and has been extended through 2021.