FSU sociology professor named director of FSU’s Claude Pepper Center

Dawn C. Carr, professor in Florida State University’s Sociology Department and director of FSU's Claude Pepper Center.
Dawn C. Carr, professor in Florida State University’s Sociology Department and director of FSU's Claude Pepper Center.

The Claude Pepper Center at Florida State University has a new director. 

Dawn C. Carr, a professor in Florida State University’s Sociology Department and faculty associate for the Pepper Institute on Aging and Public Policy, will now oversee the center, which has one of FSU’s largest endowments.

The Pepper Center at FSU promotes the late Sen. Claude Pepper’s vision of fostering a community that values its elderly population through research, policy analysis, public information, and educational and advocacy initiatives.

Carr’s research interests include social gerontology, active engagement in later life, volunteerism and productive aging, social policy and aging, gerontology higher education and social theory.

“I am deeply honored to step into the role of director of the Claude Pepper Center and serve as a steward of Claude Pepper’s legacy and commitment to the rights, welfare, and opportunities for older adults,” Carr said. “I will work to leverage interdisciplinary aging research at FSU and work in partnership with policymakers, advocates, and community experts to identify critical issues facing older adults and support research-informed policy solutions.”

Pepper shaped public policy at the state and national levels throughout the 20th Century, establishing a legacy that the center seeks to uphold and expand by focusing on health care, long-term health care, and retirement security for older Americans and citizens of other countries.

“I can think of no one better to lead the Claude Pepper Center at this time in its history than Dr. Dawn Carr,” said Tim Chapin, dean of the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy. “Dr. Carr is an award-winning scholar and teacher, as well as one of the leading gerontologists in the nation with a passion for undertaking applied research and advancing policy initiatives that better the lives of older adults in Florida and around the globe.”

Carr’s research identifies ways to address barriers and increase opportunities for older adults to remain healthy and actively engaged in society. 

“The Board of Directors of the Claude Pepper Foundation, as Florida State’s partner in the Pepper Center, is excited that Dr. Dawn Carr will be the next center director,” said Claude Pepper Foundation President Thomas Spulak. “She will follow in a tradition of outstanding scholars who have held the position and we are confident that Dr. Carr will bring unique insights and energy into the study of America’s older population.”

The center’s outgoing interim director, Stephen R. MacNamara, expressed excitement for Carr’s appointment.

“Dr. Carr’s vision, reputation, and academic credentials will attract instant national attention to the center,” MacNamara said. “Undoubtedly, her ideas, research, and work ethic will help lift the Claude Pepper Center to an even higher level of national recognition.”

Before joining Florida State University in 2016, Carr served as a researcher at the Scripps Gerontology Center, a researcher at the Stanford Center on Longevity and a postdoctoral fellow in the Carolina Program for Health and Aging Research (CPHAR) at the Institute on Aging at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

She received her doctorate in social gerontology from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in 2009.