Dr. Glenn McGee

“Old is a Four Letter Word: How Americans Learned to Love Botox and Hate Our Elderly"
Wednesday, February 17, 2016 at 2:00 p.m.Marvin K. Peterson Library, Upper Level


Why do so many Americans hate getting old and avoid elderly people? In many parts of the world aging has long been represented in art, religion and everyday life as a beautiful and happy part of a full life. Wrinkles, gray hair, and even the slow loss of memory and strength are still a part of corporate culture and the young long to be taught and mentored by the “older and wiser.” But in the past 50 years, the United States has led a revolution in the scientific, medical, business and social pursuit of "staying young forever.”

Dr. Glenn McGee thinks that the 21st century pursuit of endless youth is an accidental byproduct of the classically American obsession with the future. For young Americans, the effects of aging on parents and ourselves seem to sneak up, and remedies like Viagra, Botox, hair dye and countless vitamins and supplements allow anyone with money to age slowly or not at all.

But beneath skin-deep beauty, he says, are some frightening reasons we hate to grow old. In this discussion, Dr. McGee will discuss some of the interesting and frightening ways that our culture marginalizes the elderly and suggest some new and even practical ways to aim for a life well-lived rather than accepting youth as a life sentence without parole.

Biographical Information

Glenn McGee is a Professor of Management in the University of New Haven’s College of Business. Before coming to the University of New Haven, Glenn spent ten years as Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, held the John A. Balint Endowed Chair at Albany Medical College and was the John B. Francis Endowed Chair at the Center for Practical Bioethics KCUMB.

He has authored three books on ethical issues in genomics, personalized medicine and bioethics and more than 100 articles in peer-reviewed journals including Science, Nature Medicine, and JAMA. He has been a columnist for The Scientist, Hearst Newspapers and CNN, and regularly in national discussions on the ethics of aging. All of Dr. McGee's research and writing is conducted with his students.

In the M.S. in Healthcare Administration, students all write - and submit to legislators - proposals for innovative new state or federal law on aging, end-of-life care and public health. Glenn received his B.A. at Baylor, his Ph.D. at Vanderbilt and was a post-doc in the U.S. Human Genome Project. Dr. McGee insists that he himself isn’t growing old, but his family and his gray hair say otherwise.


Dr. Glenn McGee's web page

Watch The Presentation