Penn State Outreach honors pioneers in distance education

September 18, 2009

University Park, Pa. -- Penn State Outreach honored two educational leaders who are both pioneers in online education and supporters of Outreach.

Frank Mayadas, a program director at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and Dr. Gary Miller, the first executive director of Penn State World Campus, were honored at a ceremony during the Penn State Outreach Appreciation Dinner on Sept. 17.

Mayadas, who was awarded the 2009 Outreach Fischer Award of Distinction, started the Sloan online learning program and established the Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C), an institutional and professional leadership organization dedicated to integrating online education into the mainstream of higher education. Mayadas, often referred to as "the father of online learning," was an early champion of the World Campus. He also has testified before Congress on Web-based learning.

Miller, winner of the Outreach Pioneer Award, served as associate vice president for Outreach and executive director of continuing and distance education. He was the founding executive director of Penn State World Campus and is now executive director emeritus. His initiatives as executive director of World Campus helped enrollments climbed from 41 students to more than 10,000. Miller has earned numerous awards for distance educators, including the most outstanding achievement in online learning by an individual award from the Sloan Consortium and the prize for lifetime contributions to the field by the International Council for Open and Distance Education. In March 2004 he was inducted into the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame in March 2004.

Craig Weidemann, vice president of Penn State Outreach, said that Miller and Mayadas deserve this recognition.

“To say that online education and the World Campus would not be what it is today without the contributions of these men is not an overstatement,” said Weidemann. “Gary and Frank have not just been instrumental in creating the World Campus, but they have helped pave the way for online education to students all around the world.”

The Appreciation Dinner is held to honor the volunteers and financial supporters of Outreach. The Outreach Fischer Award of Distinction was named in honor of Rich Fischer.


(Media Contacts)

Last Updated September 18, 2009