For more than six decades, Dr. Yvonne K. Rappaport has been a trailblazer, especially for the continuing education of women. Throughout her career and even in her personal life, she has played a vital role in empowering adult and continuing education leadership in local, regional, national, and international arenas and inspiring and mentoring many professionals. As director of the Northern Virginia Center at the University of Virginia, she spearheaded and led the UVA Continuing Education for Women program and also influenced her peers with contributions to the National Association of Women Deans, Administrators, and Counselors. Among the more than 50 programs she developed for universities, businesses, and government agencies was the first university program in Virginia designed for women entering or returning to education or careers. She also has served as chair of the Commission of Status of Women for the Adult Education Association (AEA) and on continuing education for women committees in both the Association for Continuing Higher Education and the National University Continuing Education Association.
In the early 1970s, Rappaport was appointed by the Virginia General Assembly to the Legislative Advisory Committee on Continuing Education. This committee, impressed with her research skills, selected her to design and conduct a statewide survey. The report she prepared and delivered to the assembly resulted in statewide legislation supporting continuing higher education.
A partial list of her many honors and awards include the Career Development Award from the American Society for Training and Development, the Eminent Career Award from Phi Delta Kappa, and the Leadership Award from AEA. In addition, she has served as U.S. delegate to UNESCO World Assemblies in Paris (1983) and as an NGO observer team member in Hamburg, Germany (1997). She has been a guest lecturer for more than 30 government agencies and many private businesses and industries.
Rappaport has been very active in civic affairs and has demonstrated an indefatigable commitment to the League of Women Voters, at national and state levels, increasing the visibility of adult and continuing education especially via the mass media. She also developed civic education workshops and public programs and was scriptwriter and broadcast presenter of NPR radio scripts on the electoral process.
In years when many women often had to choose between career and family, Rappaport did both and made many significant contributions. While a full time working professional, simultaneously raising a family, she served on the board of directors of Home and School Institute, Inc., Washington, D.C., for 10 years. In her extra-parental roles—PTA president, Boy Scout den mother, and Girl Scout leader—she was able to infuse adult learning principles into program development and organizational matters. For her church, she served as congregation president; director of plays, programs, and education workshops; chair of the social action committee; and other activities including the role of elder, which she continues to this day.
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