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Arthur L. “Butch” Wilson
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5/16/2018 at 5:15:37 PM GMT
Posts: 8
Arthur L. “Butch” Wilson

Dear colleagues,


It is with a very heavy heart that I share the sad news of Arthur L. “Butch” Wilson’s passing. Butch unexpectedly crossed over last week due to recent health complications. He was surrounded by his family and close friends. Butch and his wife, Barbara, were enjoying retirement in Lexington, Virgnia, for the last few years. He was exceptionally proud of his daughter, Kaitlin Botts, Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Kaitlin and her husband, Chris, have a young daughter, Mia. Being a grandparent was one of Butch’s dearest joys.


Butch’s scholarly contributions to the theory and practice of adult education has been deeply influential. Before retirement, Butch was chair and professor of adult education in the Department of Education at Cornell University. With standards held high, he was dedicated to his students and to the historical and philosophical foundations of adult education. Butch’s research on adult learning and program planning notably centered on the role of power and ethics in adult education. He and Ron Cervero produced a number of works on adult education program planning and the politics of adult education, including: Planning Responsibly for Adult Education: A Guide to Negotiating Power and Interests (1994), What Really Matters in Adult Education Program PlanningLessons in Negotiating Power and Interests (1996), Power and PracticeThe Struggle for Knowledge and Power in Society (2001), and Working the Planning Table: Negotiating Democratically for Adult, Continuing, and Workplace Education (2006). Throughout his career, Butch also took on several editorial roles. He was honored to serve as coeditor of the Adult Education Quarterly and coeditor of the Handbook of Adult and Continuing Education (2000), both with Elisabeth Hayes. These are just a few reminders of the impact Butch has had on the field. 


Most importantly, Butch was our colleague, teacher, and friend. I will be forever grateful for his mentorship and enduring friendship. If you knew Butch well, you would know that he would prefer these words be sincere yet brief.  To that end, I will raise a glass and play a song in his honor. I welcome you to do the same. 


For anyone who would like to offer condolences, you are encouraged to do so by contacting Barbara Bryant 


In solidarity,

Kim Niewolny



Kim L. Niewolny, Ph.D.

Associate Professor | Community Education and Development

Department of Agricultural, Leadership, & Community Education (0343)

Virginia Tech | 282 Litton-Reaves Hall

175 West Campus Drive | Blacksburg, VA 24061

tel: 540.231.5784 |email:

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