Stanford-sponsored trips to Paris: More evidence it was better back then

Golden age of student travel...

April 2, 2014 • Vintage • Views: 1009

I give you this fantastic photo dug up from the Stanford archives. When I saw it, I had to find out more. I mean how great does this trip look? Saddle shoes, a guitar, fit and flare dresses…all clustered around an Air France flight, with not a whiff of security (or yoga pants) in sight.

So what’s the deal here. Well, I looked it up and came across this info in an obituary of Robert Walker, professor of political science and founder of the program. The blurb from his obit:

Aided by the strength of the American dollar, Walker leased whole airplanes to take Stanford undergraduates to overseas campuses that he and Professor Friedrich Strothmann started in 1958, first in Germany, and then in France, Italy, Austria, Great Britain and Spain. At a time when other universities were sending a few exceptional students to study in foreign universities, Walker wanted to expose as many as possible to other cultures, believing that an international perspective was an essential part of a liberal education. Three of every five Stanford undergraduates, 8,000 in all, went abroad for two quarters during his tenure as director of overseas campus programs, which ended in 1973. With so many students away, the university also was able to increase its total enrollment.

At the GSB, we have as one of our requirements, global experience travel while here. ┬áProbably for the same reason Walker had in mind – if you see more of the world, experience more cultures, economies and political structures, you’ll be better prepared, more aware and generally smarter.

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