Public Purpose Magazine, Fall 2011
2011 Fall PP cover


Education for AllPublic institutions are leaders in the democratization of higher educationby Stephen G. Pelletier
Take yourself back to the first day of the fall semester. Picture a typical State U. student—we’ll call her Ruby Harris. A single mother and an Army veteran who served a tour of duty in Iraq, Ruby is applying her benefits from the new GI Bill to pursue a nursing degree. The second generation in her family to go to college, Ruby is following both her mother and her aunt into the field of nursing. As she registers for classes, visits the bookstore and negotiates the hallways of unfamiliar buildings, Ruby is certainly not thinking about the history of public higher education. Yet, her story is the story of the democratization of higher learning over the last 60 years.

AASCU's First 50 yearsby Alan Dessoff
When AASCU was established on February 23, 1961, it had been a month since John F. Kennedy’s
inauguration as the 35th president of the United States. Although there was no relationship between the two events, both represented starts in new directions. As Kennedy began by encouraging Americans to do what they could for their country, AASCU began with a mission to enhance the expanding and changing landscape of the nation’s public higher education.

Past and PrologueAASCU’s presidents, past and present, share perspectives on public higher educationby Stephen G. Pelletier
The occasion of AASCU’s 50th birthday creates good reason to both reflect on the association’s accomplishments during its first five decades and think about work yet to come. To that end, we asked
AASCU’s three past leaders—Allan W. Ostar, president from 1965 to 1991; James B. Appleberry, who
served 1991-1999; and Constantine W. (Deno) Curris, who was president from 1999 to 2009—to
reflect on what the landscape of public higher education looked like when they were leading the organization. What pressing issues did they face? What do they count as their most notable victories?
Their answers encapsulate some of the noteworthy markers in AASCU’s history.
Here’s what we learned.

EndSightsRoots and Wings: Celebrating Your Institution’s Heritageby Robert K. Glenn
When one is given the privilege and honor to serve an academic community as its leader, clearly that is a great day for both the new president and the institution. The thing about beginnings is they give us all a chance to see the future with fresh eyes. The inauguration of a president is the ceremony where the new leader has an
opportunity to engage the academic and greater community to look anew at the institution and to see the future with new promise. But, I would assert it is very important that the focus be on the institution, not solely on the president.