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William Pearson Tolley Medal

marlene blumin and don mcpherson
Past Tolley Medal recipients Marlene Blumin (2018) and Don McPherson ’87 (2021)

The William Pearson Tolley Medal for Adult Education and Lifelong Learning recognized outstanding contributions in lifelong and continuing education. For four decades, William Pearson Tolley was one of the nation’s pre-eminent leaders in higher education. By the time he retired in 1969 after serving as Syracuse University’s chancellor for 27 years, he had reconfigured the Syracuse campus, tripled enrollment and made what was then called adult education his career legacy. In establishing this honor in his name in 1966, the Board of Trustees paid tribute to a man whose own interest was expressed in consistent, personal support of Syracuse’s program and of adult education activities worldwide. Today, Tolley Medal recipients are selected by the School of Education and recognized each year at the Syracuse University One University Awards Ceremony.

Past Tolley Medal Recipients

  • Don McPherson ’87, sexual assault prevention advocate, author, and national speaker (2021)
  • Donald P. Ely, professor emeritus of instructional technologies, Syracuse University (2019)
  • Marlene Blumin, professor emerita of reading and language arts, Syracuse University (2018)
  • Ruth Colvin ’59 H’73, literacy pioneer (2016)
  • Naomi Warren, Holocaust survivor and educator (2013)
  • Deborah Appleman, Carleton College (2012)
  • Ethel Blatt, Syracuse University (2011)
  • Tom Skrtic, University of Kansas (2009)
  • Morris Keeton, Institute for Research and Assessment in Higher Education at the University of Maryland University College (2004)
  • Kay J. Kohl, University Continuing Education Association (2003)
  • Milton Reid Stern, University of California, Berkeley (1994)
  • Alexander Nathaniel Charters, professor emeritus of adult education, Syracuse University (1986)
  • Paul Henry Bertelsen, UNESCO (1983)
  • Thurman James White,  University of Oklahoma (1979)
  • Lalage Brown, Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria (1975)
  • James Robbins Kidd, The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (1973)
  • Kenneth G. Bartlett, professor emeritus and first dean of University College, Syracuse University (1971)
  • Sidney G. Raybould, University of Leeds, England (1970)
  • Mohan S. Mehta, Indian Adult Education Association (1969)
  • Cyril O. Houle of the University of Chicago (1966)