Celebrating Al Guskin – January 21, 2015

Alan Guskin, President Emeritus of Antioch University,
To Speak at January Public Event

He Inspired the Peace Corps and Helped Found AmeriCorps VISTA

Seattle, WA – Alan E. Guskin, president and chancellor emeritus of Antioch University, will be guest speaker at a free public reception and talk on January 21, 2015 at Antioch University Seattle.

In 1960, he helped inspire John F. Kennedy to launch the Peace Corps, and was part of the inaugural cohort of volunteers to Thailand. Three years later, he returned home to become founding administrator of AmeriCorps VISTA, the national service program designed to fight poverty.

Since then, he’s enjoyed a longtime, distinguished career in academia, as a university faculty member and administrator. He was a driving force in the creation of Antioch University, and served at various times as the University’s president and chancellor.

“Al had a major impact in creating both the Peace Corps and Antioch University,” said Ingrid Ingerson, director of institutional advancement at Antioch University Seattle.

“For more than 50 years, he’s been a tireless advocate for social justice, and has encouraged others to follow suit, both at home and internationally. He paved the way for so many Peace Corps, VISTA and Antioch alumni.”

Guskin is a nationally renowned consultant on organizational change and restructuring, particularly in higher education, and has written extensively on the roles that leadership, change, power and conflict play in the process. He is a frequent speaker, and in 1986, on the 25th anniversary of the Peace Corps, was chosen, along with former wife Judy Guskin, Sargent Shriver and director Loret Ruppe, to place a wreath on the grave of John F Kennedy on behalf of all Peace Corps volunteers.

In 2000 to 2004, he led a think tank of 14 top thinkers and practitioners in higher education to develop ideas for student learning in the context of limited financial resources. He currently is distinguished professor in Antioch University’s innovative PhD program in Leadership and Change.

Now 74, and a longtime Edmonds, WA resident, he graduated from Brooklyn College in 1958, and immediately enrolled in graduate school at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. There he led the student group that persuaded John F. Kennedy to establish the Peace Corps. He left school to be one of the first volunteers, subsequently helped found VISTA, and later directed the Florida Migrant Farm Worker Program, funded by the War on Poverty.

In 1968, Guskin received his PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Michigan, and pursued his academic career. He held faculty positions there, and at several other universities before transitioning to administration. He served as president and chancellor of various schools, before simultaneously being named president of Antioch University and Antioch College in the mid-1980’s. After a university reorganization, he held the position of chancellor of Antioch University until 1997.

In 2010, he received the Distinguished Alumni Service Award from the University of Michigan. He also was recipient of the Morris T. Keeton Adult and Experiential Education Award, Council on Adult and Experiential Learning. Additionally, he holds honorary doctorate degrees from Saybrook Institute and Antioch University.

Guskin is a trustee at Dominican University of California, and has served in that capacity at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania and Westminster College in Utah. He also is a member of many national advisory boards and committees.

“We are thrilled to hold this special, intimate event,” said Ingerson. “Everyone is invited to hear Al share his reflections, and his thoughts about Antioch University as we move into the future.”

The event is hosted by the PhD program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University Seattle.

About Antioch University Seattle

Antioch University Seattle is a fully accredited, not for profit institution that is a bold and enduring source of innovation in higher education. Antioch University provides real world knowledge, skills, and experience to adult students online and from its five campuses in four states, in addition to its University-wide international and doctoral programs. The University lives by its mission every day helping students realize their potential and succeed in their educational goals through an innovative learning environment that is rigorous and responsive to their needs. Antioch University has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools since 1927.

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