I wish to thank the Association of Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology of Ontario, and particularly the organizers of this conference, for giving me the honour of delivering the Sisco Address. It is always a privilege to speak to members of the college community, and, owing to the great respect and admiration that I had for Mr. Sisco, it is a special privilege to be giving the
address which bears his name.
The invitation did not carry with it a request that I speak on a particular theme or topic. This freedom can be both an opportunity and a problem. It is an opportunity to have a captive audience, for a while, at least - depending upon how easy it is to get to the exit doors - to hear me hold forth on something that I think is important. On the other hand, the whole domain of community
colleges, past, present, and future, is a daunting universe from which to craft remarks for a late afternoon on a winter's day.
In what I hope will turn out to have been a sensible, if no doubt ambitious, choice, I decided to try to focus my remarks on one of those big themes that has long been of interest to me, that of the identity, or essence, of the Ontario colleges; and whether, and if so, how, it may have changed over time. I believe that these questions are of speculative, philosophical interest to people who
care about the colleges, and that is sufficient justification for us to consider them in a forum like this. However, these questions also have important practical consequences. In dialogue about proposals for change in the colleges, what has often been deemed a vital questi