Monday, December 14, 2015  
Commencement caps off 2015 | Research shows plight of gray divorced women


Howard Aldrich
Emanuele Conti
The University will hold its 284th commencement ceremonies in the Stroh Center this weekend. The graduating class includes 52 international students from 13 countries.

Commencement for the Graduate College and the colleges of Business Administration; Health and Human Services; Musical Arts; Technology, Architecture and Applied Engineering, and BGSU Firelands will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18.

The Honors College and the colleges of Arts and Sciences and Education and Human Development will hold commencement at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 19.

Addressing the Friday graduates will be BGSU alumnus Emanuele Conti, who received a bachelor's degree in finance in 1989 and is now an operating partner for Providence, a premiere global asset management firm with over $40 billion in assets under management across complimentary private equity and credit businesses. Conti has more than 20 years of executive leadership experience at companies across a diverse range of industries around the world.

During the Saturday service, the University will present an honorary Doctor of Social Sciences degree to commencement speaker Dr. Howard Aldrich. The 1965 alumnus is the Kenan Professor of Sociology and an adjunct professor of business at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Aldrich, who received a bachelor's degree in sociology from BGSU, is also a faculty research associate at the Department of Strategy and Entrepreneurship in the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, and a fellow of Sidney Sussex College of Cambridge University. He is a Faculty Fellow of the Center for Study of Economy and Society at Cornell University. He is also a prolific author and award-winning teacher.

The December graduating class includes 947 candidates. Among the undergraduates, 70 will be presented associate degrees and 723 bachelor's degrees. Of those, 156 have received honors for their high grade point averages.

The 137 graduate students include 116 candidates for master's degrees and 21 for doctoral degrees.

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More and more adults are entering their golden years alone, either through gray divorce, or by choosing to stay unmarried, and for older women, Social Security benefits often aren't enough to stave off poverty.

BGSU sociologists Drs. I–Fen Lin and Susan Brown, along with Ph.D. student Anna Hammersmith, used data from the 2010 Health and Retirement Study (HRS) to look at a diverse range of marital biographies and examine three indicators of economic well–being: Social Security receipt, Social Security benefit levels, and poverty status. "Marital Biography, Social Security Receipt, and Poverty" is in press at the journal Research on Aging.

The researchers restricted the sample to HRS respondents and their spouses/partners who were age 63 and older in 2010 due to Social Security eligibility rules. In total, the analysis consisted of 9,649 individuals.

Lin and Brown found gray divorced women suffered the most economically, with a whopping 27 percent of them classified as poor. Just 11 percent of gray divorced men are in poverty. Never–married women also suffer economically in their later years, with 25 percent living in poverty.