The genus for a Nova Scotia Centre on Aging (NSCA) originated in the mid to late 80s by Dr. Fred MacKinnon, then head of the Nova Scotia Seniors’ Secretariat. The Centre was to be a place in which university resources and expertise, without becoming totally academically oriented, would be best used to develop sound social policies to address the aging population. This implied a program in which research and the day to day needs of the aging community would be balanced.

The NSCA found its home at Mount Saint Vincent University because of the University’s commitment to education and research on issues in aging through its Department of Gerontology, Faculty of Professional Studies. On April 14, 1992 the NSCA officially opened at Mount Saint Vincent University with a three-part mandate of research, education, and community consultation. Dr. Mary O’Brien, Associate Professor, Department of Gerontology, was appointed as the Centre’s first Director and the first Advisory Board of professionals, business people, and retired persons was established.


Significant Dates/Milestones


Extensive community consultation undertaken throughout province helped to implement NSCA mandate.
1992 Caregiver Resource Library established with support from Merck Frosst. Resources accessible throughout province!
1995 “From Policy to People” project launched with funding from Max Bell Foundation.
1996 Dr. F.R. MacKinnon Endowment Fund was established to support the mission of the NSCA. Dr. MacKinnon passed away in 2006, but his endowment supports activities of the Centre.
1996 “Preparing for Change” project launched. NSCA goes national!
1999 “Technology and Older Adults” project initiated.
2004 NSCA Advisory Board organized a Tribute Dinner for Dr. MacKinnon raising more than $8000 for Endowment Fund.
2006-07 “China-Canada Collaboration” project underway with delegates from China at MSVU for working meeting. NSCA goes international!
2006 Dr. Janice Keefe appointed as first Lena Isabel Jodrey Chair in Gerontology and Director of Nova Scotia Centre on Aging.
2006 MSVU hosted community reception to celebrate renewal of NSCA.
2007 “Dialogue Amoung Partners” workshop held in recognition of 15 years of NSCA making research accessible to community. Celebrates 15 years!
2012 Our Future is Aging Conference, Dinner and Student Essay Contest held in recognition of 20th Anniversary Celebrations. Celebrates 20 years!
2012 Released commemorative report highlighting the Centre’s accomplishments
20th Anniversary Brochure
2012 Started a Facebook Page and joined Social Media
2012 Held the first Café Scientifiqué
2015 Moved to the new Margaret Norrie McCain Building on Campus. A new home!
2016 Dr. Janice Keefe reappointed as Lena Isabel Jodrey Chair in Gerontology and Director of Nova Scotia Centre on Aging
2016 The second Our Future is Aging Conference held
2016 NSCA and Department of Family Studies and Gerontology welcome Dr. Zachary Zimmer as MSVU Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in in Global Aging and Community
2017 Dinner, Student essay, community presentations, social media campaign and Art Exhibit held in recognition of 25th Anniversary celebrations.
2017 Recipient of the Global Ageing Network for Excellence in Applied Research Award
2017 Our Future is Aging Conference in recognition of the NSCA’s 25th Anniversary
Celebrates 25 Years!
2018 NSCA hosts TEDxMSVU Aging Well event

The accomplishments of the Nova Scotia Centre on Aging have not happened by chance, but rather through strong leadership provided by:

Name Position Title(s) Term
Dr. Mary O’Brien Director 1992-1994
Marlene MacLellan Coordinator, Associate Director 1994-2002
Cathy Crouse Acting Associate Director, Executive Director 2002-2005
Dr. Janice Keefe Director 2006-present

These individuals have been strongly supported by Dr. Rosemarie Sampson, Dean of Professional Studies during the 90s, Dr. Mary Lyon, Dean of Professional Studies (2001-2009) and Dr. Kim Kienapple, Dean of Professional Studies (2009-present). The NSCA has also benefited from the advice and input from an Advisory Board comprised of members from the community. The Centre’s management team combined with talent and knowledgeable project staff over the years has helped the Centre develop a sound reputation for producing high quality, relevant materials which link research to practice and policy.