[Excerpt] The progress and development of the ILR School during the past 50 years, though sometimes uneven in both pace and direction, has largely met the promise and expectations embodied in the founding legislation. The fulfillment of the legislative purpose testifies to the contributions of those many individuals and institutions with whom we have interacted over this period of astonishing growth in size, complexity of structure and programs, and recognized stature at home and abroad in both the academic and practitioner worlds. Because the largest part of my professional life h a s been spent as a member of the ILR community—as undergraduate student in the school's early years, as faculty member, and now, until my pending retirement in that role, as dean, in this last chapter I want to offer some observations on the school's future that have been informed by this experience. Although these are personal views, I am confident that they are not unique but are shared widely among the school's constituencies of faculty, students, alumni, and the external publics we have served over the years.
Although one hopes that the future of an institution such as the ILR School can be what we want it to be, it is important to recognize and acknowledge the limits of control. That is a lesson we have learned from coping with and adapting to a constantly changing environment in our 50-year history. I will not burden you with the details of that experience, but it is useful to contrast briefly the economic, social, and political environment of the school as a nascent institution in the late 1940s and 1950s and the comparable dimensions of its more recent past.