Thurman White's legacy spans several areas. As a contributor to the theoretical base of adult education, he conceptualized the development and design of the Oklahoma Center for Continuing Education. The Center's design turned theory (that architectural design can significantly influence communication and learning) into practice. As a contributor to the advancement of the field of adult education as a profession, he served as President of both the Adult Education Association of the USA and the National University Extension Association. He also edited Adult Education, a professional journal, for ten years. He was also responsible for conceptualizing the development of several nontraditional degree and non-degree programs, including the establishment of the Southwest Center for Human Relations.
He promulgated the acceptance of lifelong learning as a part of the higher education enterprise by participating in numerous activities of the American Council on Education (ACE). He served as Chairman of the ACE Commission on Educational Credit, the ACE Commission on Academic Affairs, and the ACE Committee for Financing of Education for Adult Students. In addition, he served on the President's National Advisory Council on Extension and Continuing Education and the Department of Defense Advisory Committee on Education in the Armed Forces.
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