The PLATO Society was established in 1980 as part of UCLA’s continuing learning program. Elizabeth Cless, a leader in the field of adult education at the University of Minnesota and at the Claremont Colleges worked with UCLA Extension’s Dean Leonard Freedman and others from the UCLA community to establish PLATO as a self-governing, self-directing, and self-sustaining organization.
Throughout the next 33 years, PLATO grew and expanded at UCLA. In 2013, the PLATO Society became independent and continues as a non-profit educational organization. Its goal remains as it was originally set forth: “To further the intellectual pursuits of our members.”
PLATO has evolved over time to meet the changing attitudes towards work and a balanced life. As larger segments of the population have moved toward flexible work experiences, scheduling work around personal activities, PLATO has changed too. Whereas in the beginning most of our members were retired, today we have a large number of members who are still active in the work-world. Consequently, our length of courses has become more flexible and we continue to make changes to ensure that adults interested in peer learning are able to make The PLATO Society of Los Angeles an integral component of their lives.