Associate Dean Nancy Orel retiring

Dr. Nancy Orel, associate dean and professor of the gerontology program, has announced her plans to retire in December. Prior to coming to BGSU, Orel worked in a variety of agencies that provided programs for older adults and for residents in Long-Term Care (LTC) facilities. She also taught part-time at area colleges.

It was because of her positive experiences with teaching and counseling that she decided in 1995 to pursue a doctoral degree in counselor education at the University of Toledo. She accepted a full-time academic position at BGSU in August of 2000.

“Being an alumni of BGSU, it was a dream come true to be offered this tenure-track faculty position at a University that I loved and respected,” Orel said. ”When I started at BGSU, I never imagined that I would eventually achieve full professor status, be asked to step into the associate dean’s role in 2012, and serve as the “Acting Dean” from August 2013 to December 2013.”

When asked to highlight some of her accomplishments at BGSU Orel stated, “I was extremely honored to be one of the 100 researchers across the U.S. who were personally invited to give testimony at the 2010 White House Conference on HIV and Older Adults.” Orel’s reputation as a researcher focusing on the topic of HIV/AIDS began with her first published research article in 1992 that explored volunteers’ motivation in working with people with AIDS. Her research extended to developing evidence-based programs that would address the emerging population of older adults living with HIV/AIDS, a population that was not receiving adequate national attention.

Orel continued to maintain an active research agenda throughout her career, in addition to her work as an administrator at BGSU. She was also able to establish and maintain strong working relationships with a host of community agencies and organizations that provide needed social and health related services/programs to the community, and she has served on numerous community boards. These strong working relationships with community organizations led to a host of collaborative endeavors between community organizations and the College of Health and Human Services, with the most significant being the 15 year Joint-Use-Agreement with the Wood County Committee on Aging and the establishment of the Optimal Aging Institute. These endeavors have provided, and will continue to provide, numerous opportunities for BGSU faculty, staff and students.

In 2013, Orel received an invitation from the American Psychological Association to write a book focusing on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) older adults based on her academic research focusing on the needs and concerns of LGBT elders (with a special emphasis on LGBT grandparents). Her published research articles and national presentations led to collaborative research with other researchers in this area of inquiry. One such collaboration with Dr. Christine Fruhauf resulted in the publication of their 2013 edited book entitled “The Lives of LGBT Older Adults: Understanding Challenges and Resilience.”

“I will miss the wonderful colleagues and students that I have worked with throughout my 16 years at BGSU,” Orel shared. “I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to teach both undergraduate and graduate students and I am grateful for their willingness to embrace me as their professor.”

Orel is looking forward to having more time for writing and consulting with aging service providers. She is also looking forward to pursuing more creative activities, like painting and drawing. Lastly, she will be happy to have more time to spend with her aging parents, who reside in Cleveland.

Orel’s dedication and service to the College of Health and Human Services, and to the university as a whole, is greatly appreciated. We wish you the best, Dr. Orel!