A $20 million gift to USC will create a research center on healthy aging and longevity as the world’s population ages, the university announced May 8.

The donation by Mei-Lee Ney, president of Richard Ney & Associates Asset Management Inc. of Pasadena, is the largest ever for the 43-year-old USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology.

The gift will create a Ney Center for Healthspan Science that will study the biological, demographic and psychosocial aspects of aging. It will also build on USC’s growing effort to improve health and longevity.

“Mei-Lee Ney’s generosity comes with a keen understanding that a society is measured by how it takes care of its most vulnerable members,” said Michael Quick, USC provost and senior vice president of academic affairs, in a statement.

Across the world, people aged 65 and older are soon expected to outnumber children under five, according to USC.

That may create stress on health care systems and caregivers as age-related diseases increase, while issues such as isolation, care, housing and work need to be addressed.

Ney, a native of Shanghai, China, is a longtime supporter of USC with more than 50 years in the investment industry. The Pasadena resident also helped run the investment advisory firm founded by her business partner and late husband, Richard, since 1973. She also helped produce its popular The Ney Report.

Health business reporter Dana Bartholomew can be reached at dbartholomew@labusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @_DanaBart.