Rosemary Blieszner honored with emerita status
September 6, 2023
Rosemary Blieszner, Alumni Distinguished Professor of Human Development and Family Science in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech, has been conferred the title of dean emerita and Alumni Distinguished Professor Emerita of Human Development and Family Science by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.
The emeritus title may be conferred on retired professors, associate professors, and administrative officers who are specially recommended to the board by Virginia Tech President Tim Sands in recognition of exemplary service to the university. Nominated individuals who are approved by the board receive a copy of the resolution and a certificate of appreciation.
A member of the Virginia Tech community since 1981, Blieszner has served the university in several roles, including as associate director of the Center for Gerontology, as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, and as interim dean of the College of Architecture, Arts, and Design. She also made significant contributions in her service as associate dean of the Graduate School and assistant vice provost for enrollment and degree management.
In addition, her numerous contributions as a teacher and scholar were recognized through her appointment as Alumni Distinguished Professor in 2002 and reappointment to the role in 2022.
Blieszner made significant and influential contributions to the field of gerontology through publications and presentations of her theoretical and translational research on friendship, family relationships, and caregiving for people living with mild cognitive impairment and dementia.
In 2014, Blieszner was installed as president of the Gerontological Society of America, the nation’s largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging.
In the classroom, Blieszner taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate-level courses across the human development and family science curriculum. She guided both master’s degree and doctoral students to help them develop successful careers in both academia and human service sectors.
Upon accepting the invitation to serve as interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences in 2017 and being appointed as dean seven months into her tenure, Blieszner provided exceptional leadership for the college; advocated for diverse faculty hiring; reinvigorated undergraduate enrollment efforts; strengthened marketing and communication to enhance the college’s brand and promote accomplishments of faculty, students, and alumni; and promoted excellence in the college’s areas of strength that focus on inclusion, social justice, and the human experience.
She continued to demonstrate a profound commitment to community building, promoting a culture of collaboration, diversity, and respect in her role as interim dean of the College of Architecture, Arts, and Design from 2021-23.
In 2018, Blieszner guided an 18-month exploration of the university’s history as co-chair of the Sesquicentennial Steering Committee, leading the university community to a deeper understanding of its history and the respect owed to all who made it possible for the institution to thrive and grow.
Throughout her career, Blieszner received many professional honors, awards, and recognitions, including Alumni Fellow from Pennsylvania State University, Distinguished Alumna Award for Outstanding Service to a Chosen Field from Mercyhurst University, Petersen Visiting Scholar in Family Gerontology at Oregon State University, and Distinguished Academic Gerontologist from the Southern Gerontological Society. She also was elected as a fellow in five professional associations.
Blieszner received her bachelor’s degree from Mercyhurst University, a master’s degree from The Ohio State University, and a Ph.D. from Penn State University.