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This reflections column is also the concluding article in this special issue on Future Directions. The following reflections indicate my view of the new realities that frame our futures efforts today. One feature of the past half-century working in the adult and continuing education field is that my entry provides me with a sort of hinge of history Many of the pioneers from the previous generation, when the field was still emerging, were still around. The following reminiscences illustrate the very different societal context when the field was invisible compared with the new realities today, when there are frequent references in the mass media to lifelong learning.
Fond memories abound: Listening on the radio to Invitation to Learning with Lyman Bryson, an early professor of adult education when Teachers College, Columbia University had just established the first doctoral program in adult education; receiving the first doctorate in adult education awarded by Syracuse University; working with Malcolm Knowles while he was executive director of AEA and later professor of adult education; chairing the residential adult education section of AEA with members including Myles Horton at Highlander and Tim Pitkin at Goddard; starting the Adult Education Research Conference; serving as visiting staff at the Center for the Study of Liberal Education for Adults; and my career long friendship with Cy Houle.
When I left Nebraska and joined the Teachers College faculty in 1965, the last of the long-time professors of adult education there had just retired, and I handled the …