Virginia Tech™home

Rosemary Blieszner

Rosemary Blieszner, Alumni Distinguished Professor of Human Development
Rosemary Blieszner, Alumni Distinguished Professor of Human Development

College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences
230 Grove Lane, Blacksburg, VA 24061
540-231-6817  | rmb@vt.edu

A faculty member in the Department of Human Development and Family Science since 1981, Rosemary Blieszner was named an Alumni Distinguished Professor in 2002. The university’s Board of Visitors reserves this preeminent rank for faculty members whose outstanding record of accomplishment in creative scholarship and exceptional contributions to the instructional program of the university have touched the lives of generations of alumni.  

For more than 30 years, Blieszner helped lead the university’s Center for Gerontology as its associate director. She also served as associate dean of the Virginia Tech Graduate School from 2009 until March 2017, when she assumed the role first as interim dean, then as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, a position she held through July 2019.

Blieszner’s university-level appointments have included assistant vice provost for enrollment and degree management from 2015 to 2017 and director of strategic planning in the Office of the President from 2000 to 2001. She now serves as a co-chair of Virginia Tech’s Sesquicentennial Steering Committee, which leads the planning of the university’s celebration of its 150th anniversary in 2022.

  • Gerontology
  • Relationships and Well-Being
  • Mild Cognitive Impairment
  • Spirituality and Resiliency
  • PhD, The Pennsylvania State University
  • MS, The Ohio State University
  • BA, Mercyhurst College
  • Senior Fellow, Center for Gerontology
  • Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences (2017-2019)
  • Alumni Distinguished Professor
  • Assistant Vice Provost for Enrollment and Degree Management (2015–2017)
  • Associate Dean, Virginia Tech Graduate School (2009–2017)
  • Director of Strategic Planning, Office of the President, Virginia Tech (2001–2002)
  • President-elect, President, and Past President, Gerontological Society of America (2013–2015)
  • 2016 — Charter Fellow, International Association for Relationship Research
  • 2012 — Distinguished Alumna Award for Outstanding Service to a Chosen Field, Mercyhurst University
  • 2006 — Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, Virginia Tech
  • 2000 — Alumni Recognition Award, College of Health and Human Development, Pennsylvania State University

Books

Ramsey, J. L., & Blieszner, R. (2012). Spiritual Resiliency and Aging: Hope, Relationality, and the Creative Self. Amityville, NY: Baywood Publishing Company, Inc.

Ramsey, J. L., & Blieszner, R. (1999). Spiritual Resiliency in Older Women: Models of Strength for Challenges Through the Life Span. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.  

Edited Books

Blieszner, R., & Bedford, V. H. (Eds.). (2012). Handbook of Families and Aging (2nd ed.). Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.

Journal Articles

Roberto, K. A., McCann, B. R., Blieszner, R., & Savla, T. 2019, online). A long and winding road: Dementia caregiving with grit and grace. Innovation in Aging.



Savla, J., Bivens, R., Roberto, K.A., & Blieszner, R. (2019, online). Where you age matters: Individual and county level predictors of formal and informal care in rural Appalachia. Journal of Aging and Health, 31, 837-860. doi.org/10.1177/0898264318761907



Savla, J. T., Wang, Z., Zhu, J., Brossoie, N., Roberto, K. A., & Blieszner, R. (2019, on line). Mastery and longevity in spousal caregivers of persons with dementia. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B: Social Sciences. doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbz028



Blieszner, R., Ogletree, A. M., & Adams, R. G. (2019, on line). Friendship in later life: A research agenda. Innovation in Aging. doi: 10.1093/geroni/igz005

Ogletree, A. M., Brennan-Ing, M., Blieszner, R., Karpiak, S. E., & Sands, L. P. (2018, on line). Health burden, instrumental and emotional support adequacy, and depressive symptoms in older men with HIV. The Gerontologist. doi: 10.1093/geront/gny169



Savla, J., Bivens, L. R., Roberto, K. A., & Blieszner, R. (2018, online). Where you age matters: Individual- and county-level predictors of formal and informal care in rural Appalachia. Journal of Aging and Health. doi: 10.1177/0898264318761907



Weaver, R. H., Roberto, K. A., & Blieszner, R. (2018). Older adults in rural Appalachia: Preference and expectations for future care. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 86, 364-381. doi: 10.1177/0091415017720891



Blieszner, R., & Ogletree, A. M. (2017). We get by with a little help from our friends. Generations, 41(2), 55-62. ISSN: 0738-7806



Potter, E., Roberto, K. A., Brossoie, N., & Blieszner, R. (2017). Decisions, decisions: African American families’ responses to Mild Cognitive Impairment. Research on Aging, 39, 476-500. doi: 10.1177/0164027516655581

Savla, J., Wang, Z., Roberto, K. A., & Blieszner, R. (2016). Deficit awareness in persons with mild cognitive impairment and family care partners. Families, Systems, and Health. doi: 10.1037/fsh0000230

Potter, E., Roberto, K. A., Brossoie, N., & Blieszner, R. (2016). “Decisions, decisions: African American families’ responses to Mild Cognitive Impairment.” Research on Aging. doi: 10.1177/0164027516655581

Komelski, M., Blieszner, R., & Miyazaki, Y. (2016). “Curriculum, practice, and diet predict health status among experienced Taiji and Qigong practitioners.” The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

Roberto, K. A., & Blieszner, R. (2015). “Diverse family structures and the care of older persons.” Canadian Journal on Aging, 34(3), 305–320. doi:10.1017/S0714980815000288

Blieszner, R. (2014). “The worth of friendship: Can friends keep us happy and healthy?” Generations 38(1), 24–30.

  • “Families in Rural Appalachia Caring for Older Relatives with Dementia.” Co-investigator with Joyti S. Savla & Karen A. Roberto. Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Research Award Fund, $45,000 (2016–2017).
  • “Support for Editorial Office Operations, Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences.” Contract with Gerontological Society of America, $224,348 (2008–2012).
  • “Caring for a Spouse with Mild Cognitive Impairment: Daily Challenges, Marital Relations, and Physiological Indicators of Health.” Co-investigator with Dr. Karen A. Roberto (PI) and Dr. Jyoti Savla (Co-investigator). Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Research Award Fund, Virginia Center on Aging, $40,000, (2008–09). 
  • “Understanding Mild Cognitive Impairment: Family Dynamics and Diversity.” Co-investigator with Dr. Karen A. Roberto, PI. Alzheimer’s Association, # IIRG-07-59078, $240,000 (2007–10).