Clark Tibbitts (1903-1985) was a gerontologist who helped bring attention to the topic of aging and establish programs for aging populations in the United States. He held a variety of positions within gerontology and was an contributing author of many articles that examined aging. He has been described as "an architect of the field of gerontological education-an academic who spent most of his career in the federal government as an advocate for the development of aging education, training, and research programs in institutions of higher education."
Tibbitts was born in 1903 and died at the age of 82 in October 1985. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from the Lewis Institute in 1924 and did graduate work at University of Chicago. He retired at age 83, after 35 years of government service. He worked as deputy director of the Office of Aging 1960-66, director of training for the Administration of Aging 1966-74, director of the National Clearinghouse on Aging 1974-76, special assistant to the Commissioner on Aging 1976-1982, both that have roots from Tibbitts’ original committee on aging.
Tibbitts was director of the institute for Human Adjustment at the University of Michigan for 12 years before moving to Washington D.C in 1949. He then served as specialist for aging, before any agencies were dedicated to the aging population. He was the author of many articles and texts on gerontology and aging. He was an advocate for government resources for the aging population, at a time when the average life expectancy in the United States was growing rapidly with assistance from advances in medicine and technology. He examined the social and psychological aspects of aging that had not been previously studied or explored because of the low life expectancy up until the mid twentieth century.
He played a major role in planning, organizing, and convening many international conferences on aging from the 1950s through the 1980s. He authored more than 100 publications; the most notable, undoubtedly, was the Handbook of Social Gerontology: Societal Aspects of Aging, which for a decade was the principal textbook on aging.
- 1957 - Honorary Sc. D. degree (a doctorate of science higher than a PhD), from the Institute of Divi Thomae in Cincinnati, Ohio.
- 1981- AGHE award for his outstanding contribution to the study of gerontology.
- 1986- The Clark Tibbitts Award was established in 1986 for his contributions in the development of The Association for Gerontology in Higher Education, replacing the award he won in 1981.
- Tibbitts, Clark (1950, October). The conference on aging.
- Tibbitts, Clark (1963). "Social gerontology: origin, scope and trends" (PDF). International social science journal. XV (3): 339–354. Retrieved 2014-05-07.
- Tibbitts, C. (1967, March 11). History in the making
- Tibbitts, Clark (1974). Handbook of social gerontology : societal aspects of aging (7th impr. ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Retrieved 2014-05-07.
- "Clark Tibbitts, 1903-1985". Association for Gerontology in Higher Education. Retrieved 2014-05-07.
- "Clark Tibbits". Association of gerontology in higher education. 2011. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
- Sagraves, Barbara (1988). "Clark Tibbitts Papers". Bentley historical library, University of Michigan.
- Maddox, G (1988). "The future of gerontology in higher education: continuing to open the American mind about aging". The Gerontologist. 28 (6): 748–752. doi:10.1093/geront/28.6.748.