Cynthia Stuen (PhD’87) Receives Columbia’s Alumni Medal

May 26, 2021 @ 2:35 pm
By Communications Office

Dr. Cynthia Stuen, an alum of CSSW who has devoted her career to improving the lives of older persons, was one of ten recipients of the prestigious Alumni Medal at Columbia University’s April 30 Commencement ceremony.

This rare honor is bestowed by the Columbia Alumni Association to individuals who have made an exemplary commitment to building the University’s community, whether regionally, online, in specific Schools, or in cross-campus initiatives.

“Our alums are an incredibly accomplished and effective force for social justice, as demonstrated by the remarkable work of Dr. Cynthia Stuen. I am humbled and absolutely delighted by the University’s recognition of her contributions to Columbia and to our School,” said Dean Melissa Begg. “I send her my heartfelt congratulations and sincere thanks for all she has done and continues to do for CSSW.”

Since 2012, Stuen has been a member of the Columbia University Alumni Trustee Nominating Committee. She has served on the School of Social Work’s Alumni Doctoral Committee since 1987. She was an adjunct faculty member at the School and a practicum instructor for many years.

Both on and off campus, Stuen has focused her career on the pursuit of better lives for older adults. While still a doctoral student, she launched a Retired Faculty Program through the Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging, linking retired faculty to impoverished communities where they might contribute.

She subsequently chaired the board of directors of the American Society on Aging and the National Association of Social Workers’ Aging Specialty Practice Section, where she developed practice guidelines for caregivers of older adults. During a 24-year tenure at Lighthouse Guild International, she championed numerous efforts to preserve sight, reduce vision impairment, and advocate for vision rehabilitation.

Stuen is currently affiliated with the United Nations as the representative of the International Federation on Ageing as well as chair of the NGO Committee on Ageing. She also serves in a leadership role on the board of VISIONS Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired. She is a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America and the New York Academy of Medicine.

In addition to being recognized at Commencement, medal recipients are honored at an Alumni Medalists Gala during Columbia Alumni Leaders Weekend. For more information about this award, visit the Columbia Alumni Association. See this page for the full list of awardees.