Professors Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Rakesh Khurana, and Nitin Nohria wanted to invent a new stage of higher education and they wanted it to be a platform for deploying a leadership force of experienced leaders who could address some of the world's most challenging problems. 

History QuoteIn 2005, Professors Kanter, Khurana and Nohria co-authored a working paper about the idea. This paper describes a new model for universities: a third stage of education (beyond undergraduate and graduate/professional schools) to prepare experienced leaders, in the period of their lives once called “retirement,” for service activities addressing societal problems. This white paper is a proposal for universities to develop what could be the next great innovation in American (and global) higher education, on par with the creation of the modern graduate and professional school in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. It is a vision rooted in the notion that the purpose of the university is to serve society, and societal change demands innovation.

Encouraged by enthusiasm from distinguished colleagues throughout Harvard University, including early board members David Gergen, Charles Ogletree, and Donald Berwick, Kanter, Khurana, and Nohria plunged into preparations for a program for the first-ever set of leaders transitioning from their income-earning years to their next years of service. 

Read the working paper here: 

The 2005 Working Paper: Moving Higher Education to the Next Stage