Santa Barbara, CA – The University of California Education Abroad Program
(UCEAP) celebrated five decades of study abroad with a gala Alumni & Friends Reunion on Saturday, April 28, 2012, on the UC Santa Barbara campus. First launched from UCSB in 1962, the systemwide program is this year marking its 50th anniversary
with a series of events in California and around the world.
The April 28 reunion highlighted UCEAP as a cross-generational community. Attendees included 15 of the program’s original 1962 participants together with scores of alumni from subsequent decades right up to the present day. While the gathering spanned many generations of UCEAP participants, all were unanimous and enthusiastic in describing the positive impact study abroad has had on individual lives, careers, and on UC.
“We explain the benefits of study abroad to today’s students, but seeing our alumni from years past and the successes of their lives is testimony no amount of explanation can duplicate,” said Jean-Xavier Guinard, Associate Vice Provost and Executive Director of UCEAP, one of the event’s keynote speakers. “It’s absolutely thrilling,” he continued, “to have so many generations together in one room to share their stories and experiences.”
In his remarks, Guinard acknowledged the many individuals present who have contributed to UCEAP’s past and present success including Dr. William Allaway, the program’s founder and director for its first 28 years, who received an emotional standing ovation from the crowd. UC Santa Barbara Chancellor Henry T. Yang, also a keynote speaker, likewise praised Allaway’s exemplary leadership and his lifelong efforts to internationalize the University of California. Other guests joining the alumni to celebrate UCEAP’s accomplishments included UCSB Executive Vice Chancellor Gene Lucas, UCSB EAP Director Juan Campo, and a host of other present and former UCEAP Study Center Directors, faculty, and staff members from across the UC system.
Some of the most powerful testimony in support of UCEAP came from Linda Duttenhaver, a UCEAP alumna and now the donor who sponsorsUCEAP’s Duttenhaver and Dan Wise Memorial scholarship programs
. Duttenhaver described how UCEAP had changed her life and remarked that providing young students with similar opportunities gives her “more joy than anything money can buy.” The scholarships she supports have sent nearly 400 UCEAP students on study abroad programs with average awards of $5,000 each. At the reunion, Ms. Duttenhaver met with a number of recent UCEAP returnees and new outbound students whose study abroad experiences were made possible by Duttenhaver scholarships.
Throughout its 50 year history, UCEAP has been remarkable for the organic way in which enthusiasm for the program has spread and grown. Many of UCEAP’s leaders and administrators were themselves UCEAP students as undergraduates. For some alumni, participation in UCEAP has become a family tradition, as was the case with Ildiko Gerbatsch, who studied abroad on UCEAP in Germany in 1980–81 and whose daughter Isabelle went on the same UCEAP program 30 years later. Mother and daughter attended the reunion together.
Though the evening was full of reminiscences of past experiences on study abroad, equal emphasis was placed on the future of UCEAP and on meeting new challenges that lie ahead. Director Guinard outlined a well-received strategic plan. “For the future,” he said, “our primary objective at UCEAP will be to make study abroad available and affordable to larger numbers of students each year. UCEAP and its alumni have proven the benefits of study abroad for 50 years. We must now find creative and innovative ways to ensure that those same benefits are enjoyed by the generations of UC students to come.”