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CASSARA, Beverly Benner Of Cambridge, MA died at 94 on September 20, 20126. She will be missed by family, friends, colleagues, and students, all of whom have been empowered by her work. Dr. Cassara's dedication and vision for higher education and life-long learning has expanded possibilities and created new horizons for individuals world-wide. In her induction into the International Adult Continuing Education Hall of Fame in 2003, she was heralded as one of the great visionaries of continuing education. It was the desire to help women develop a vision for their lives and the lives of their children that prompted her to earn her doctorate at Boston University in 1970, but not until after her first book, American Women: The Changing Image, published in 1967, helped to initiate the Women's Movement and, in fact is still used in Women's Studies courses. On completion of her doctorate she moved from being Director of Continuing Education at Goddard College to a professorship in adult education at the University of the District of Columbia and went on to serve as Dean of Graduate Studies from 1973 until her retirement in 1990. During her tenure, Dr. Cassara began advocating for underprivileged and marginalized women by founding a program to educate low-income African American women from a housing project in Washington D.C. which utilized graduate student volunteers. The success of that program, which continues to this day, inspired her to expand their work abroad, ultimately founding a faculty and graduate student exchange with the University of Nairobi in Kenya, which evolved into an integration of graduate studies with Peace Corps service. In 1975 she received a Fulbright-Hays Senior Research Fellowship to study in Berlin. The insights gained from this project informed her book in 1994: Adult Education in a Multicultural Society. She returned to Germany in 1982 as a member of the Research Institute of University of Siegen, researching career pathways of women in higher education. Her subsequent book, Adult Education through World Collaboration was published in 1995. She was honored to be appointed as the North America representative on the executive committee of the International Council for Adult Education and did consulting and lecturing in more than twenty countries. Her passion for enabling people to better their lives did not end with retirement. Upon learning that there were sparse volunteer opportunities for accomplished seniors in her adopted city of Cambridge, Massachusetts, she inspired and cofounded the Cambridge Senior Volunteer Clearinghouse which continues to enrich the Cambridge community and each year presents the volunteer of the year with the Beverly Benner Cassara Award. Her beloved husband, Ernest Cassara, ever her champion and partner, died in 2015. She is survived by her three children: Shirley Cassara and her husband, Marc Winder of Melrose, MA, Catherine Cassara, of Bowling Green, Ohio, and Nicholas Cassara and his wife, Robyn of Palmer, Alaska; her two grandchildren, Travis Winder and his wife, Emily of Charlestown, MA, and Susannah Winder of Melrose, MA; her sister Barbara Gove of Haverhill, MA and her sister-in-law, Helen Benner of Kennebunkport, ME, plus many beloved nieces and nephews. Family and friends are welcome to join in celebrating her life on October 29, 2016, at 2:00 p.m. at Cadbury Commons, 66 Sherman Street, Cambridge, MA 02140. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations be made to: VNA Hospice Care, 100 TradeCenter, G-500, Woburn, M

View the online memorial for Beverly Benner CASSARA
Published in The Boston Globe on Sept. 28, 2016
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