ABSTRACT. On July 23, 1969, the Chancellor Lord Geoffrey Crowther gave the inaugural speech of the UK Open University, renowned for the words starting its four paragraphs: “we are open as to people, as to places, as to methods, as to ideas”, stating a concept of openness which characterized the mission of the Open University and still does so. The concept of this institution has been set since 1963 with another name, “university of the air”, aiming to take advantage of the new technologies in order to allow higher education to reach a wider public, namely adult students. In this paper we focus on the switch that took place from 1963 to 1969 to the new concept, “openness”, that linked the two traditional aspects, “people” and “places”, with the methodological issue, coming in the same years from the curriculum theories. We then discuss how the concept of openness evolved thereafter, with the introduction, in the last 15 years, of the Open Educational Resources and the Massive Open Online Courses.We then report an extract of the transcript of Lord Crowther’s speech, after highlighting its importance in the history of Distance Education.