Howard McClusky made extraordinary contributions to the heritage of continuing education. He was a University of Michigan faculty member for 60 years and taught his last class only weeks before his death in 1982. His work encompassed 40 years of contributions to adult education. He helped form and was the first president of the Adult Education Association (1951-52), a forerunner of the American Association of Adult and Continuing Education. He helped establish the Commission of Professors of Adult Education and served as mentor for many who went on to serve as college professors, administrators, and other leadership roles. He served as a chief consultant to the W.K. Kellogg and C.S. Mott Foundations' efforts in the community council, community school, and citizen's council movements.
Dr. McClusky began with the University of Michigan in 1924 as an instructor in educational psychology helping train teachers of young children. Over the years his focus shifted to older adults, and in 1948 he established and chaired the Graduate Program in Adult Community Education. He was a primary developer of theory of adult learning, lifelong learning, and adult psychology and older adult psychology. He was a pioneer in the field of education gerontology and wrote Education on Aging, the scholarly papers for the first White House Conference on Aging (1971).
During his career he received the Delbert-Clark National Award in Adult Education in 1956; the Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award, University of Michigan in 1958; Michigan Legislature Concurrent Resolution of Tribute in 1969; Adult Education Association Pioneer Award in 1975; and the University of Michigan Board of Regents Citation in 1975.
Upon his retirement in 1969 he served the University of Michigan's Gerontology Center in various capacities, while continuing to teach for both the Center and the School of Education. During the last 20 years of his life, McClusky focused his research on the gerontology aspects of learning and on the later stages of the life cycle. The McClusky Symposium, which continues McClusky's research exploration, is held annually at the National Adult Education Conference.
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