For more than 40 years Leon Y. McGaughey has been a distinguished leader in the development and implementation of Army adult and continuing education programs and services. Through his lifelong commitment to the principles of adult and continuing education, he led the Army to provide relevant educational opportunities to its soldiers. Dr. McGaughey played a key, long-term role in Army planning, development, budgeting, and operations of education programs and services.
Dr. McGaughey earned his bachelor's and his master's degrees from Purdue University and his doctorate from NOVA University. While residing in Indiana, before and after active duty service in the Army, he taught school in Flora, Indiana, a small rural community near Indianapolis.
Between 1971 and 1980, he was the Department of the Army's principal action officer for higher civilian education. In that capacity, he was dedicated to bringing about positive coordination of higher education programs among the military services, the Federal Interagency Coordination Committee, and higher education associations. In 1980, he became the Director of Education for the U.S. Army Forces Command, a position he held for more than 17 years.
As a result of his efforts, the Army has been able to rely on civilian colleges and universities to provide associate and bachelor degree programs for soldiers, thereby negating a need for the armed forces to create a community college system of its own. This single contribution has kept the Army's voluntary post-secondary education efforts a vital, fully connected part of adult and continuing education in the United States.
In recognition of his outstanding service, the American Association of Adult and Continuing Education (AAACE) established in 1997 the Leon Y. McGaughey Military Student of the Year Award. This award is conferred annually on an exceptional military student in adult and continuing education. Additionally, Dr. McGaughey received the Department of the Army's Meritorious Civilian Service Award and the James F. Nickerson Medal of Merit. He was named the 1992 AAACE Military Educator of the Year.
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