Lions? Yes. Tigers? Yes. Bears? You Betcha!


Traveling Owls have their bags packed — ready to take to the skies, oceans and foreign lands

From Sahara desert camel rides, to hiking Lewis and Clark’s historic trail, to cruising the Baltic Sea, thousands of Rice alumni have traversed the globe from top to bottom for more than 40 years.

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When a group of approximately 35 embarked on a one-week trip to the island of Majorca in December 1970, the propellers were put in motion and started what would become a beloved program for alumni of all ages. While Rice’s alumni office oversaw the planning and logistics of that first excursion and those to follow, much of the heavy packing was completely volunteer driven. “The first decade of the Alumni Travel Program was met with mixed success,” recalled Rose Sundin, former associate director of alumni, who oversaw the travel program from 1984 until her retirement in 2012. “Even then, there was at least one trip a year that had 30 or more participants.”

In 1981, as the staff grew, the travel committee was assigned an alumni office liaison to assist with itineraries. A year later, five trips were offered that included an accompanying faculty member, a component of the program that has become very popular. Over the last several years, faculty-led trips have been offered to a variety of diverse locales, including the program’s first trip to Cuba in 2013, Tibet and China, which was hosted by Rice president David Leebron and Y. Ping Sun. Trip participants were exposed not only to these unique cultures, but also specific historical, scientific and musical aspects of each region under the guidance of Rice’s experts.

This story is featured in the winter 2015 issue of Rice Magazine. To read the rest of the story and see other stories, visit:

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