Beverly Benner Cassara
Hall of Fame Class of 2003
Beverly Benner Cassara is one of the great visionaries of continuing education. It was the desire to help women develop a vision for their lives and the lives of their children that prompted her to earn her doctorate at Boston University in 1970. That same year, she became a professor of adult education at the University of the District of Columbia, Washington, D.C. (formerly Federal City College) and went on to serve as the Dean of Graduate Studies from 1973 to 1990.
Dr. Cassara began advocating for underprivileged and marginalized women when she founded a program to educate low-income African-American women from a housing project in Washington, D.C. With student volunteers from her graduate courses in adult education, Cassara helped 14 women earn their general educational development diplomas. All of them later attended Federal City College. Cassara edited Adult Education in a Multicultural Society in 1994, the first book to look at pluralism and linguistic diversity in terms of their impact on adult literacy programs at various levels. In 1995 she edited Adult Education through World Collaboration.
Cassara represents North America as an executive committee member of the International Council for Adult Education. She currently serves as an adjunct professor of adult education at the University of Southern Maine and is one of the founders and Chairs of the Cambridge Senior Volunteer Clearinghouse in Cambridge Massachusetts. This organization trains managers for 90 governmental and non-profit agencies as personnel directors for those working with senior citizens. Her latest adult education project has been to organize Eldercorps, a senior citizens' advocacy group in Cambridge seeking to enhance the roles and status of older citizens.
Dr. Cassara has impacted the field of adult education in various international settings. She was a Visiting Scholar at Cambridge University in the 1960s and a Visiting Research Professor at the University of Siegen, West Germany. She completed a Fulbright-Hays Senior Research Fellowship in Germany where she researched career pathways of professional women in higher education. She was a Visiting Scholar at the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning and served as an executive committee member of the International Council for Adult Education for four years. Among her publications are three books, American Women: The Changing Image, Adult Education in a Multicultural Society and Adult Education through World Collaboration.
Dr. Cassara was named as Woman of Achievement by WETA, Washington, D.C. in 1978 and awarded the Outstanding Service to Adult Education Award by the District of Columbia Public Schools in 1976. She also received the Adult Education Association's President's Merit Award in 1978.
Dr. Beverly Benner Cassara's dedication and vision for higher education and life long learning has expanded the possibilities and created new horizons for individuals worldwide.