University Distinguished Professor Karen Roberto, a pioneering social gerontologist, will deliver the keynote address at the 2018 Virginia Tech National Capital Region Commencement Ceremony at 1 p.m. on May 13.

The ceremony will take place at the Center for the Arts on the George Mason University campus in Fairfax, Virginia. See the commencement website for details on other ceremonies.

Roberto is a University Distinguished Professor in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences; founding director of the Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment; Senior Fellow at the Center for Gerontology at Virginia Tech; and an internationally recognized leader in the field of social gerontology.

With a keen eye for the social context of older people and their families, Roberto relies on natural curiosity and well-focused questions to understand the daily lives of rural older women with chronic health conditions, family relationships and caregiving, and elder abuse.

She is the leader of the preeminent program on family care for persons with mild cognitive impairment. She has been cited in the scientific literature more than 4,200 times. Her team’s research on financial elder abuse supported six proposals for federal legislation and has generated stories in top news publications, including The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, and Dow Jones MarketWatch.

Roberto's creative approach to documenting elder financial abuse resulted in breakthrough findings on a critical national issue that affects hundreds of thousands of victims and costs the nation billions of dollars each year. She has traveled around the world to inform medical and scientific audiences in Taiwan, China, Korea, Hong Kong, Australia, Turkey, Ireland, Costa Rica, and Canada about her discoveries.