Everyone travels with a passport but the bold adventurer can be identified by her distinctive blue Barnard luggage tag. The tags are given to women who journey with fellow alumnae, family, or friends, to destinations such as the Italian Lake District, the French Alps, and ancient sites of the Middle East. These voyagers are part of the College’s thriving travel program, which in 2011 marks its 30th anniversary of sending groups across the globe to learn, connect, and bond. “We see the program as another opportunity for Barnard to be part of alumnae lives,” says Erin Fredrick ’01, director of alumnae affairs. “It’s a nice way to continue your education with the College.”
Upcoming tours include a June trip to the Dalmatian coast and an adventure in South Africa in March timed to coincide with the College’s third annual global symposium to be led by President Debora Spar during spring break. In addition to touring South Africa, travelers will participate in the symposium, which addresses women’s issues and leadership roles on an international level. If the combined tour and symposium attendance is successful, such a trip could become an annual event, according to Fredrick.
Mari Okie ’69 and her husband, Tony Fouracre, joined Barnard in 2008 to explore Tuscan village life on an adventure that included learning to make pasta under the tutelage of an Italian chef. The Wilton, Conn., couple enjoyed the trip so much that they signed up for another Barnard tour this fall. They were anticipating sailing the Mediterranean on a 57-cabin ship with stops in Greece, Italy, and Turkey. “I chose it because it’s going to all sorts of wonderful, mysterious, and exotic places I’ve always wanted to see,” says Okie, who majored in anthropology. She and her husband also take pleasure in classical music, and the trip features concerts and performances. “It just sounded like an unbeatable combination.”
Joan Anderson ’53 traveled with alumnae last spring to the pyramids, the Sinai Peninsula, Petra, Luxor, and other sites in Egypt and Jordan. Her companion was her teenage niece, Emily Gordanier. “I so enjoyed seeing everything through her eyes,” says Anderson, a retired high school math teacher in Westfield, N.J. “She’d never even been out of the country.”
The travel program began in 1981 with a weeklong trip to Paris that featured lectures by Professor of French Renée Geen. The College has in recent years been offering two or three trips a year. Travel Study Services, a Greenwich, Conn., travel management company, handles the arrangements for Barnard as well as several other schools. While not all trips are led by faculty, those that are give participants an opportunity to learn firsthand about research or ongoing study, strengthening their connection with Barnard, says Stefanie Landsman, manager of alumnae affairs. “It’s an opportunity to hear more about what’s going on with the College,” she adds.
A Barnard staffer will accompany trips that attract at least 10 alumnae. Alden Prouty, director of leadership giving, escorted the group that visited the Italian Lake District in early October. That trip was especially popular with alumnae from the ’40s and ’50s, who also enjoyed the opportunities to reminisce and bond. “When you travel with your alma mater, you’re getting great company,” Fredrick says, “and you know you’re going to learn something.”
Find out about upcoming trips at alum.barnard.edu/magazine
-by June Bell, illustration by Alex Eben