Study Abroad Through the Years

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Hiram College’s tradition of engaging students with learning on-site in far off places on the globe began in 1937, according to evidence in our college archives.  In that summer, Professor of Latin American History, Harold Eugene Davis, led a group of students and alumni to Peru to explore Inca Indian culture.

 Before their arrival in Lima by ship, the group stopped for a day in Havana, Cuba and two weeks in Panama, “making a tour up into the interior as far as the Pan-American road was passable,” according to a letter home from student, Bob Petley (later published in the student newspaper, The Advance)

Petley provided more detail of an extraordinary travel experience that employed every conceivable form of conveyance.  Two weeks spent in Lima were needed to prepare for the bus trip “over the Andes, at an altitude of 16,000 feet, to the little town of San Ramon, where an army plane waited to take us on to a small river port where a launch could be obtained.  The launch ride lasted four days and we found ourselves in a small jungle camp where we spent one week hunting and fishing.  Another boat down the river was due in a week but we were anxious to get on with our trip so we built a Balsa raft, and with plenty of rice, beans and an Indian guide, we were off once more. . . .  After a thrilling ride of five days, we left our raft to board a river steamer which in six more days brought us to Iquitos.  Saturday we start another trip of fourteen days on a river boat down the Amazon.”  The tour ended with a boat trip to Trinidad followed by another stay in Havana.

Professor Davis, who taught at Hiram College from 1927-1947, was department chair and dean, eventually retired fromteaching at American University in Washington D.C. in 1973, and authored 26 books, including The Americas in History, Latin American Social Thought, Latin American Thought: A Historical Introduction, Latin American Leaders, and Notes for a Dictionary of Ohio Indian Place Names.

The Study Abroad tradition continued in 1938 with English Literature Professor Ralph Hinsdale Goodale’s summer trip to England.

In December of 1940, when Europe was embroiled in conflict, intrepid Professor of Spanish, Lucille Draper (later Gault) (who two years earlier was caught In the midst of the civil war while traveling in Spain, and narrowly escaping from the country aboard a French destroyer to Casa Blanca, Morocco, before heading for home) traveled by station wagon with a group of advanced conversation students to Mexico. The students spoke only Spanish the entire time.  The group spent Christmas in the homes of Mexican host families in Mexico City, saw bull fights, and visited Cuernavaca, Taxco, Morelia, and Acapulco. 

From this point until the end of the century, study abroad at Hiram was called EMS: Extramural Studies Program.  The war years brought a hiatus to the developing study abroad program, but it continued soon after with study trips to a post-war, recovering Europe.

During the spring of 1950, from February 22 to April 17, Dr. Albert Levy of the History and Political Science departments, taught “Introduction to Western Cultures” in England, France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Belgium, and Netherlands. The Hiram trip was the first to be arranged by American Express’ new Educational Travel Division.  The group sailed-trans-Atlantic on the Queen Elizabeth where they held morning and afternoon classes.

In the summer of 1951, Professor Ralph Goodale offered the course “Homeland of British Authors,” traveling aboard the Queen Mary to England and Scotland, with one week spent in Paris.  They read novels and visited sites related to authors, or characters in the writing of, Charles Dickens, William Makepeace Thackeray, Thomas Hardy, Walter Scott, poet Tobias Smollett, Emily Bronte, George Eliot, Horace Walpole, and Eden Phillpotts.

Two groups ventured abroad in 1953.  Professor M. C. Morris sailed to Germany with advanced language students to study history and civilization and attend lectures and reside with German students at the University of Freiburg in Breisgau, located in south-western Germany.  They also visited cultural sites in the Black Forest region and took a three-day excursion to the lake district of Switzerland.   The group reported witnessing, with despair, the barbed-wire-enclosed refugee barracks for successful escapees from Communist held East Germany.

 During the same spring of ‘53, a study group traveled by vehicle to Mexico City led by Professor Edith M. Scottron (later Miller) where they examined Aztec artifacts and paintings by Diego Rivera, and visited state-owned farms and schools in nearby provinces. Three more Hiram College Mexico trips followed by 1957.

 Professor M.C. Morris led a group to Germany for the second time in 1955, this time spending a week in Holland before heading to the University of Freiburg in Breisgau.  After the course was completed, students had opportunities to stay on for several weeks and join a number of volunteer youth-work-camp projects sponsored by various organizations.

 In the summer of 1957, Professor Edith M. Scottron (later Miller) led a two month study tour to Europe, sponsored by the Guild of Student Travel of New York City.

Professor M.C. Morris led his third trip to Germany in 1958, most travelers complaining of rough seas and sea-sickness at the start of the week-long ocean voyage (later complaining that the sea crossing was too brief).  They traveled to Rotterdam and Brussels before settling at the University of Freiburg.

Art Professor Paul Rochford took his first art history class to Europe in the spring of 1960 (many were to follow), spending eight weeks in Italy and France.  During the first two weeks in Italy, the students visited, among other places, Ravenna and Mantua “in case any of our students are homesick for Hiram,” Rochford said.  The last weeks were spent in and around Paris, where Rochford claimed that the Louvre alone could provide six weeks of intensive study—one could “study Egyptian art better in Paris than in Egypt and Greek art better than in Athens.”  Professor Rochford won a Fulbright grant to stay on in Paris to conduct research at the Louvre for an additional eight months after the course ended.

In the summer of 1960, Professor Margaret Jones Williams took students on a Festival and Folklore study tour of Europe, beginning in Glasgow, Scotland.  The group continued to England, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, France, and Belgium, an included visits to the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford-on-Avon, England and the Salzburg, Austria Marionette Theatre. 

Read an article from The Hiram Broadcaster about the trip.

If you have study abroad photos from Hiram trips over the years, please submit them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so we may include them in the gallery.

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