“Adult education is now one of the primary functions of a modern university and no longer a peripheral activity. It is an indispensable service of the greatest significance.”
~ Chancellor William Tolley, April 1958
Sixty years ago, Chancellor Tolley was championing adult and continuing education. He made it part of Syracuse University’s ethos—a spirit within our institutional culture which Chancellor Syverud has today challenged us to reimagine for a modern university of the 21st century. This year University College celebrates its 100 year anniversary. When I look at how University College has evolved over that time, I see Syracuse University’s strategic response to the societal, cultural, economic, and global exigencies of each era. The first Syracuse University Evening Session was held on October 18, 1918, making SU one of the first universities in the country accessible to part-time adult students—just as the world was anticipating the end of the Great War. During the 1930s, amid a global economic depression, Evening Sessions grew into the School of Extension Teaching and Adult Education. In 1946, the school was re-chartered as University College to serve thousands of returning World War II veterans, preparing them for entry into Syracuse University and beyond.
Today, University College is the agile and innovative academic unit through which Syracuse University is responding to disruptive shifts in higher education, the rapidly evolving educational and skills demands of a global and transient workforce, and the notable progression away from aging modes of place-based full-time education. We are advancing quickly with innovative programming, accessible academic pathways, and world-class online education—while expanding our student-centric departments—from student support services through curriculum development and academic programming. While University College has evolved over the past 100 years, our core mission has remained the same— providing educational opportunities for non-traditional students whose only access to a Syracuse University education is through part-time study. This October, I hope to see all of you at our Centennial Gala, celebrating the thousands of part-time students who have transformed their lives with a Syracuse University education—and the thousands more we seek to serve.
In your service,
Michael J. Frasciello, Dean