Director’s Message

I’ll never forget the voice on the other end of the phone saying, ‘This is important. What do you need?”

Laura L. Carstensen, Founding Director

That was in 2006 and the voice was that of Richard Rainwater, the legendary Texas investor and Stanford Graduate School of Business alumnus. He had just read a story in Stanford Magazine about what a number of Stanford faculty members and I consider one of the most urgent challenges of our time: adapting our culture to a rapidly aging population. After several conversations, Mr. Rainwater committed $10 million to help us build what is today the Stanford Center on Longevity.

The mission of the Center is to redesign long life. We believe that, to the extent that individuals can remain mentally sharp, physically fit and financially secure, many of the challenges of aging fall away.

We have completed our sixth year as a research Center, and we have created and nurtured a vibrant community of longevity scholars on campus. Many Stanford faculty members have joined the center as affiliates. Their research spans a remarkable gamut, from examining strategies for developing healthy nutritional habits, to researching how virtual reality tools can affect decisions about retirement savings, to pursuing stem cell research offering insights into the healing process. We have funded postdoctoral fellowships, awarded longevity seed grants to faculty researchers, and taught courses on longevity at the graduate and undergraduate levels.

Research is our most potent tool in the quest to help our culture adapt to the phenomenon of more people living longer than ever before. At the Center on Longevity, we are determined to make sure that research findings do not stay locked away in academia but reach the people who can most benefit from them. We work closely with policymakers, business leaders, to bring academic findings to the rest of the world.

We are grateful and appreciative of the support of Stanford University and our donors, collaborators and friends. As you read about the Center’s programs, we hope you agree that the Center is making a real difference.

Laura L. Carstensen, PhD
Director, Stanford Center on Longevity