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Goddard Posthumously Honoring Local Woman

Goddard Posthumously Honoring Local Woman
September 26, 2012

by The Times Argus

PLAINFIELD — A woman credited with creating modern adult education will receive a posthumous degree from Goddard College on Sunday.

The award ceremony to honor Evalyn Bates will take place as part of an undergraduate commencement ceremony at the school in Plainfield, with a reception at 3 p.m. and ceremony at 4 p.m.

Bates, who was born in Williamstown in 1916, was one of the first four-year graduates of Goddard College, earning her bachelor’s degree in 1943. Until 1938, Goddard had been a two-year school.

Bates received her master’s degree from the University of Chicago, where her graduating thesis was entitled, “Development of the Goddard College Adult Education Program.”

She returned to Goddard in 1957 and worked at the college through the 1960s as an assistant to the school’s founding president, Tim Pitkin.

In August 1963, Bates and Goddard College introduced the first “low residency” program of its kind in the nation, specifically designed for working adults. The program introduced the academic model that endures at Goddard today and which has been replicated at colleges and universities around the world.

“Evalyn Bates changed the paradigm of American higher education,” said Goddard President Barbara Vacarr in a news release. “Particularly now, as higher education is in critical need of reinvention to make it relevant, accessible and affordable, we recognize the innovative leaders who have had a lasting impact. This recognition of Evalyn Bates is long overdue, and with this award we celebrate her legacy.”

Bates lived in Vermont until 1970 and again beginning in 1978. She left about 2000 to stay with her niece in Arizona and died in 2010.