John K. Friesen contributed vision and leadership wherever he lived and worked. In British Columbia, he was a distinguished record of public service with many organizations and was a major contributor to the Gerontology Research Centre’s information dissemination activities. He provided the lead gift to establish the John K. Friesen Conference Series in Gerontology which provides an important source of professional development to those working with seniors and acts as a catalyst for new research

Dr. Ellen Gee, one of Canada’s most distinguished social demographers, feminists and gerontologists passed away suddenly in November 2002. To commemorate her accomplishments, an endowment fund was established with an initial $5000 contribution from the university to support the Ellen M. Gee Memorial Lecture Series in Gerontology. The lectures are held as close to the anniversary of Ellen’s death as possible.

From 1997-2001 the GRC hosted the Secretariat of the organizing committee for the 2001 World Congress of Gerontology.

In the succeeding four years (2001-2005) the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics' (IAGG) Secretariat was located at the GRC.

The GRC was the headquarters for the BC Network for Aging Research (BCNAR) from 2005 to 2010.

The GRC was home to the Secretariat for the 2010 7th World Conference of the International Society for Gerontechnology (ISG2010). GRC Director, Dr. Andrew Sixsmith served as ISG President (2014 - 2016).

The GRC was host for the 41st Annual Scientific and Educational Meeting of the Canadian Association on Gerontology, held October 18-20, 2012.

From 2010 - 2014 the GRC served as the Secretariat of the International Network for Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA) with the GRC's founding director Dr. Gloria Gutman as President. INPEA objectives are to: 1) increase public awareness of the issue; 2) promote education and training of professionals and paraprofessionals in identification, treatment and prevention; 3) further advocacy on behalf of abused and neglected older persons and; 4) to stimulate research into the causes, consequences, prevalence, treatment and prevention of elder abuse and neglect.