College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities

Clemson, Phi Beta Kappa host lecture on the links between education, policy and health


The Clemson University chapter of Phi Beta Kappa is hosting a public talk by health demographer and population health scientist Mark D. Hayward on “Improving our Nation’s Health.”

Hayward is a professor of sociology and the Centennial Commission Professor in the Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at Austin. He is also Phi Beta Kappa’s 2022-2023 Carol F. Cranor Visiting Scholar. His research focuses on “upstream institutional levers” of adult mortality trends in the U.S. and on the relationship between early life development and cognitive aging.

His talk at Clemson will focus on what research has revealed about the ties between education and longevity as well as how state and federal policy impacts educational inequality.

“Numerous studies have documented that well-educated people live longer than less educated people,” he said. “Yet, the benefits of education in terms of additional years of life haven’t always been as great as they are now. The gap has been widening for decades.”

Hayward’s lecture will describe historic and current factors that underlie the association between education and health.

“I will also explore whether the longer lives of well-educated persons are accompanied by better — or worse — health,” he said. He will also examine whether the health benefits of education hold true across different racial and ethnic groups and provide a forecast of trends related to Americans’ health.

Hayward has served on numerous scientific advisory boards at the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, major foundations (Robert Wood Johnson and Pew), and major federal agencies (e.g., the National Institutes of Health and the National Center for Health Statistics). Professor Hayward also is the current editor of his field’s major journal, “Demography.” He received his B.A. at Washington State University and his Ph.D. from Indiana University.

Founded in 1776, Phi Beta Kappa is the oldest and most prestigious academic honors society in the U.S. Since its inception, Phi Beta Kappa has championed education in the arts and sciences, fostered freedom of thought, and recognized academic excellence. The Clemson University chapter was established in 2007 and is currently led by Associate Professor Katherine Weisensee, chair of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice.

The lecture will be held on October 26 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. in the Watt Center Auditorium with a reception to follow in the atrium.

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