Austria & Spain programs: 50th Anniversary reunion | St. Lawrence University Patti McGill Peterson Center for International and Intercultural Studies

Austria & Spain programs: 50th Anniversary reunion

St. Lawrence University recently marked the 50th anniversary of the founding of our Austria and Spain off-campus study programs over Reunion weekend 2017, June 2 - 4.

Alumni of both programs returned to campus to celebrate the anniversaries and their participation in the programs. Several events were held over the weekend to mark this milestone and you can see pictures of the fun here!

Below is the toast given by our esteemed colleague, Dr. Rita Goldberg, professor emerita, who established the Spain program 50 years ago. ¡Salud!

"Thank you for coming to campus for this reunion. Here’s a toast to you and your courage, to your willingness to meet an almost but not quite overwhelming challenge by leaving the St. Lawrence cocoon and entering a new world. Here’s to you for becoming who you are.

Do you remember back when you were 19 or 20 and about to spend a semester or a year away, especially those of you in the pre-internet, pre-smart phone years when calling home was an invite and you had to go to a special Telefónica site to make an international call?

Spending all that time away from in another culture, in another language, with another family, made you confront yourself, deal with your identity and perhaps even modify some of your ideas and behaviors. What a challenge!

Whether or not you have kept in touch with Spanish and Spain, you are a different person for your experience there. You are more open, more welcoming of others, more empathetic, more tolerant. You know more. You understand the need for a broad education, for awareness of others, for the United States to have a positive role in the global community.

As they say in Spanish, No pasáis el tiempo mirándoos el ombligo—you don’t spend your time contemplating your own belly button.

Here’s also to the faculty who led and are still leading St. Lawrence groups in Spain. To their commitment, to their vision, to their patience. To Judy without whom we probably wouldn’t even have a program. To our first campus coordinator, the unflappable and droll Marga Edwards who taught German, and to our intrepid secretary back then Joyce Lawrence.

Here’s to the staff in the Center for International and Intercultural Studies for their skill in solving problems and helping things happen. Here’s to Marina, for leading that effort and for all that she’s done and has yet to do.

Here’s to St. Lawrence for supporting study abroad and for embracing the transformation it has brought.

So here’s a toast to all of us for daring to do it, for becoming who we are.  Brindemos, pues, por nosotros. ¡Salud!"