Toni Calasanti receives Alumni Award for Excellence in International Research
Sponsored by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, the Alumni Award for Excellence in International Research is presented annually to a faculty or staff member who has had a significant impact on international research at Virginia Tech. Selection is based on contributions to the internationalization of Virginia Tech, global impact, significance of the project, and sustainability of the project. Recipients are awarded $2,000.
Calasanti serves on the International Board of the International Institute on Ageing, United Nations – Malta, for which she serves as a consultant about issues of gender and aging for training programs in low- and middle-income countries.
In 1993, Calasanti introduced the first collection on feminism and old age in her coauthored essay in the Journal of Aging Studies. The essay positioned her as a founding scholar in what is now known as feminist gerontology. This resulted in her invitation to the Republic of South Korea, where she delivered talks at the Asia and Oceania regional meetings of the International Congress of Gerontology, attended by scholars around the world.
Her work has both provided a framework for understanding the experiences of men and women in old age and shown how these experiences are shaped further by social inequalities, such as race, class, and global position. As a leading expert in the sociology of aging and one of the first feminist scholars to introduce the gender lens to social gerontology, she is well known to European gerontologists.
“Toni’s work has always been an inspiration for me as well as my colleagues all around Europe,” wrote Sandra Torres, a professor of sociology at Uppsala University in Sweden, in a letter of nomination. “The fact that she has collaborated with so many Europeans on publications is a testament to the fact that she has very close links to scholars in this continent.”
In 2017, Calasanti was a guest professor at the School of Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Tampere in Finland. Her many honors include the Excellence in Outreach and International Activities Award from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences in 2016.
— Written by Lindsey Grooms, Class of 2019