Name: Hiram J. Friedsam (1920-2007)
Dr. Hiram J. Friedsam was born March 14, 1920 in Brooklyn, New York. His family moved to Texas and he grew up in Waco, Texas. He received a Bachelor’s degree from Baylor University and his Master’s degree from the University of Texas prior to World War II.
During the war he served in the United States Marine Corps in the Pacific, participating in the Battle of Solomon Islands and at Guadalcanal Island from 1942-1943. He remained in the Marine Corps Reserves after the war, retiring from the Reserves as a Major in 1961.
He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas. He joined North Texas State Teachers College (now the University of North Texas) in 1948 as an assistant professor of economics. He would later served as the chair of the Sociology Department. Dr. Friedsam was instrumental in establishing the Center for Studies in Aging, the first gerontology program in Texas. He served as the director of the Center until 1973, when he was appointed the first Dean of the newly established School of Community Services (now the College of Public Affairs and Community Service). He held that position until his retirement in 1983. He was named a Professor Emeritus. Dr. Friedsam maintained an office in the department of Applied Gerontology (formerly the Center for Studies in Aging).
Dr. Friedsam was a member of numerous professional organizations: he was a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, the Association for Gerontological Society of America, the Association of Gerontology in Higher Education; he served as President of the Southwestern Sociological Society, the Southwestern Social Science Association, the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education, and the Texas Society on Aging. He was a delegate to the 1961, 1971, and 1981 White House Conferences on Aging. President Lyndon Johnson appointed Dr. Friedsam to the Presidential Task Force on Older Americans. He was the author or co-author of more than fifty publications. He also served as a term editor-in-chief of The Gerontologist. He received the President’s Award and Distinguished Teacher Award from the University of North Texas. He was also named an Honorary Alumnus by the Alumni Association. He was also honored by the President’s Citation form the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, the Trailblazer award from the Texas Joint Conference on Aging, and Distinguished service Award from the southwestern Social Science Association, from the Association of Gerontology in Higher Education, and the Clark Tibbitts Award for contributions to gerontology education for that organization.
Dr. Friedsam died, at the age of 87, March 24, 2007.