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Honoring the Life of Higher Ed Advocate John F. Ebersole

Last month we mourned the loss of former Excelsior College president John F. Ebersole. A luminary in world of higher education and pre-eminent advocate for the adult learner, John’s contributions to adult education, the education of military servicemembers and veterans, and to competency-based education (CBE) and assessment, will continue to resonate for many years to come.

A host of the Presidents’ Forum, John has been widely recognized by his peers as an expert in the field. As a longtime advocate of online learning and cross-state collaboration in the registering of online higher education partners, John pushed for the successful implementation of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), which helps member states establish common registration standards and procedures across states.

John was a good friend of CAEL. For many years, he generously supported CAEL’s Annual Conference and played a key role in CAEL’s convening on CBE in 2014 and 2015. With his contributions, John has opened doors to non-traditional institutions, helping CAEL reach the very students it has made its mission to serve. 

In Excelsior’s statement on John’s death, it’s noted that John was drawn to the institution to its commitment to the underserved. Thanks to his decades of service of that population, Excelsior and other institutions around the world will reach a greater number of those students with more effective, flexible programming suited to their needs. For that, John will forever remain an inspiring figure for all who champion the value of unencumbered access to education.      

John was a prodigious writer. To read articles John published on Inside Higher Ed, click here. His work also appeared on The Huffington PostThe EvoLLLution and See Thru Ed.

John’s family has suggested donations in his memory be made to the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society, an organization of which he was a Board member.


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