Robert W. Comfort
Hall of Fame Class of 1997
Vivid in Robert W. Comfort's recollection is the first National University Extension Association (NUEA) conference he attended (1969) and the willingness of everyone there to help him acclimate to the field. "Suddenly, I was part of them," he later writes. "The individuals from that NUEA meeting and the myriad who followed make it possible for me to say that I have made a difference in the lives of many adult students. I profited immeasurably from their contributions. They clearly demonstrated from the way they treated me that as professionals in the field we have an obligation to return to our colleagues what was given to us. I truly believe we have such an obligation." Dr. Comfort's modesty prevents him from thinking in terms of his contributions to the field but considers his significant accomplishments as the fulfillment of an obligation. His fulfillment occurred as a member of the National University Continuing Education Association (NUCEA). In 1990, he was elected NUCEA Secretary, and in 1991 he was elected President- elect. His year as association President in 1991-92 culminated more than 20 years of contributions to the profession. He describes it as "the ultimate contribution one can make to NUCEA and the profession." Indeed, just as he has profited from the service of others who preceded him, others have experienced and profited from the tremendous impact of Dr. Comfort's contributions.
He writes in characteristic modesty: "I do not think in terms of my contributions to the field. Continuing education is what I do at the University of Pittsburgh. It is a love of life. The students are the story, not the professionals who help them along the way. I have had the good fortune of working in a unit that provides baccalaureate opportunities to adults who must attend in the evening or on the weekend. Knowing that I have helped some individuals fulfill their dream of a baccalaureate degree and opened new vistas for them is why I am in this profession. It is exhilarating and rewarding. This is what I cherish from our profession. This is my personal legacy."