Mary L. Walshok

Dr. Mary L. Walshok

Hall of Fame Class of 2006

Dr. Mary L. Walshok has implemented a new model of lifelong learning in the United States by integrating the fields of education, civic and cultural enrichment, and economic development. As Dean of University Extension and Associate Vice Chancellor of Public Programs at UC San Diego, Walshok has extended the riches of the university into the community through a wide array of innovative programs, including UCSD-TV, an Emmy-award winning television station. As testament to her thirty-year leadership, Walshok has developed programs such as CONNECT and San Diego Dialogue to help the region understand the trends that are changing the world, assisted start-up enterprises, and enhanced skill development in critical professions. 

More than 40,000 learners per year benefit from education in disciplines such as clinical trials, biotechnology, and systems engineering. Thought leaders such as Norman Pearlstine, Gro Harlem Brundtland, and Richard Florida have come to San Diego by invitation of Extension. With no state support, Extension attracts more than $35 million in funding annually. Learners hail from across the United States and around the globe.

Under Walshok’s guidance, world recognized programs such as Global CONNECT, and the San Diego Dialogue have helped the region deepen social and economic relations with Asia, Canada, Latin America, and Europe. The result has been crossborder research, education, and partnerships conducive to new business opportunities in emerging technology corridors. Extension programs such as the Osher Lifelong Leaning Institute, a program for retirees; Academic Connections, a university program for high school students; and UCSD Athena, a networking organization for women entrepreneurs, also enrich the San Diego region while serving individual needs.

Walshok is the recipient of many awards and honors, among them a Kellogg Foundation national fellowship. Walshok has been a member of numerous community boards and professional associations including the San Diego Community Foundation of which she was board chair, the Girard Foundation, The California Council for the Humanities, and the Francis W. Parker School Board of Trustees, of which she was president. 

Walshok has been associated with UCSD since 1972, and has remained active as an industrial sociologist, authoring numerous book chapters and articles on education and the world of work, as well as, Blue Collar Women, and Knowledge Without Boundaries: What America's Research Universities Can Do for the Economy, the Workplace, and the Community. She received her B.A. from Pomona College and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from Indiana University.

Through her tireless research, program development and global outreach, Walshok has shown that lifelong learning goes beyond the enrichment of the individual to the vitality of organizations and lifelong sustainability of the region.