Parent Page: About IACE Hall of Fame id: 31399 Active Page: History of the Hall of Fameid:31405



The freedom to learn lies at the heart of all great civilizations. It is aprerequisite to our other freedoms of speech, assembly and worship. Indeed, education is the shield that arms individuals against political tyranny and economic impoverishment. While learning is an instinct, it is one that must be nourished and cultivated, and it is in this garden of the mind that the inductees of the IACEHOF have labored.

This Hall of Fame has been created not only to honor leaders in the fields of continuing education and adult learning but to serve as a record and inspiration for the next generation of continuing education leaders. Election to the Hall of Fame acknowledges that these men and women have made distinguished contributions to the field of adult and continuing education. Each has provided a crucial nexus between resources and learners. These innovative leaders have believed passionately in the evolutionary power of education. All are themselves exemplary lifelong learners and have left lasting impressions on the students, institutions, and organizations they have served.


Discussions leading to the founding of the IACEHOF can be traced to the mid-1980s. Dr. Thurman J. White is universally acclaimed as the founding father of the Hall. It was throughWhite’s vision and recognition of the need to provide a mechanism to recognize and honor, in perpetuity, living and deceased adult andcontinuing educators who had distinguished themselves as scholars and practitioners that the concept of the Hall began to take on form andmeaning. 

The IACEHOF was formally established in 1993 with White as the chair of its board. A significant moment in the unfolding of the Hall’s development was realized in March 1996 when Dr. James Pappas, in a letter to Dr. John B. Holden (then IACEHOF Board Chair), invited the Board of Directors to consider the University of Oklahoma College of Continuing Education as the permanent site for its official headquarters.

The years 1994, 1995, and 1996 were signature years for the Hall in that its organizational functions, culture, and mode of operations would be defined. The IACEHOF would be incorporated as a nonprofit corporation, become located at the University of Oklahoma, develop bylaws to govern its operations, formulate guidelines and criteria for the selection of persons to be inducted for membership in the Hall, and induct the Hall’s first class in Charlotte,North Carolina.

Beginning with its inaugural induction in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1996, 22 classes have been inducted into the IACEHOF. Its membership includes more than 300 members. A first was achieved by the Hall in 2006 when a special induction ceremony of the 2006 European Class was held at the University of Bamberg in Bamberg, Germany.

According to the corporate bylaws of the Hall of Fame, the Board of Directors will establish qualifications for induction. Three categories are currently specified:

  • Regular members
  • Honorary members
  • Posthumous honors

Anyone may nominate a candidate for induction. Following review of the nominee by a screening committee, members are elected by the Board of Directors.

Hall of Fame Founder

Thurman White, inducted in the first Class of 1996, is a pioneering contributor to the theoretical base of adult education. He conceived and played an active role in the design and development of the Oklahoma Center for Continuing Education (OU Outreach) on the University of Oklahoma’s Norman campus, one of ten W.K. Kellogg Foundation-funded university-based residential conference centers in the world.


The expenses related to the establishment of the Hall of Fame and the inductions have been met by cash and in-kind contributions. It is hoped that the ongoing, modest expenses of the Hall of Fame will be met by similar gifts in the future. Contributions are tax deductible.


The official home for the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame is the University of Oklahoma’s University Outreach, Thurman J. White Forum Building, Norman, Oklahoma. 

First opened in 1962, the Oklahoma Center for Continuing Education is recognized as one of the nation’s leading university-based residential conference centers. As part of University Outreach, CCE annually serves more than 35,000 individuals who attend conferences, workshops, meetings, and other activities at the center, one of 11 W.K. Kellogg Foundation-funded continuing education centers in the world.