2011 East Coast

The 2011 East Coast Vagabonds (the team included Jackie Peiser ’14, Briana Rubright ’14, and Andrew Deal ’13) traveled the I-95 corridor visiting Goucher “hot spots” such as Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston.  In a reprisal of 2010’s successful run, the team attended eight of Goucher’s Send-Off gatherings; events held each summer in a various cities to welcome the college’s incoming students to the Goucher family—and to offer new students, parents, and alumnae/i a chance to get to know each other.


A Farewell East Coast Vagabonds Reflection

As the three of us left our final sendoff in Northern Virginia, we ceremoniously played our theme song of the trip- “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO. We danced, sang, and blasted the music when the infamous line, “Every day I’m shufflin'” was recited in the song. After the song was over, we returned to our usual playlist, reminiscing about how many times we clicked through songs and talked about the experiences we just had with alums, parents, or students. This time, however, we all sat in quiet. For me, at least, I started formulating what I was going to write in our final blog post.

So here it goes…

I decided I am going to talk a little bit about what I learned and what I am taking from this experience. When I presented the idea to Briana about applying for the Goucher Vagabonds, we knew immediately that we should ask Andrew to join us. After sending in our application and discovering that the other teams that applied were much older than us, we felt like our chances were a long shot. But, we reassured ourselves that it was worth it to try, the worst that could happen is that we wouldn’t get the job and we would apply again another year. Well… needless to say, we got the job.

I came into this experience thinking that I would be merely talking to new students and alums. However, I leave this journey with so much more. After every send-off parents and students would come up to us and truly thank us for our presence. Although the events really run themselves, it is nice to know that people appreciated our presentation and answering any questions they had. I also got to learn a lot about this incoming class. They are enthusiastic, smart, diverse, nervous, and excited about coming to Goucher.  It was great for us to talk to these students and reassure them that their first year of college is something to truly look forward to and appreciate. Since the three of us all just finished our first years at Goucher, we felt confident in talking to them and reassuring them that they made the right choice coming to Goucher.

The experiences with the alumnae/i were even greater than I ever imagined. It was amazing listening to them talk about Goucher and reminisce about their experiences and memories of the school that very much shaped their lives. We learned a lot about the school in the early ’60s where there was a curfew and house mothers to the late ’80s when Goucher went co-ed. From “Posture Pictures” to hostility towards men at Goucher, we tried to soak up as much information about the school as possible. The most beneficial thing I took out of the various moments with the alums is seeing how successful and thankful these people are for their Goucher education. It reassures me that Goucher provides an environment that truly prepares students for the real world. I have always known that Goucher is an amazing institution; however, meeting these alums reinforced my confidence in the education I am fortunate to receive.

Thank you all for following us along this journey. I hope you enjoyed reading this blog as much as we have enjoyed writing it.

Peace, Love, and Gophers


And Then There Were None

After two long, tiring weeks, we attended our last first-year sendoff tonight at the home of Shelly and John Bond in Fairfax, VA. Their daughter, Rachel, is a member of the Class of 2012. This send-off was like all of the others except in one aspect; there were more young men in attendance than women, which was a surprise because Goucher is known to have a majority of female students (70%).

The send-off went off without a hitch. We gave our final “shpeel” as East Coast Vagabonds, and went through the now usual routine of a Q&A session with the parents and students. We found that many of the students at tonight’s send-off were interested in what there is to do off campus in the Towson and Baltimore areas, which is a question that we didn’t receive very often throughout our travels. After our part was finished, the students and parents mingled and munched on Goucher colored M&Ms and a beautiful Goucher cake. We handed out Goucher hats to everyone, and also gave them East Coast Vagabonds t-shirts as a way to remember us.

Tomorrow we have one final event at Broadmead, a retirement community that has been nicknamed “Goucher’s second campus” because of the large amount of alums that reside there. We will meet up with the West Coast team and share our amazing trip experience with various Goucher alumna and past president, Dr. Rhoda Dorsey.

It’s been great!


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Winding Down… Sort of…

I’m writing this blog from the Goucher House across the street from campus, and I still can’t believe we’re back. We still have one send-off and one alumnae/i gathering left, but we are on the final leg of the journey that seemingly started yesterday.

Despite nearly being done, today was one of our busiest days yet. We woke up this morning in Valley Forge at Linda Himmelberger’s ’74 home, and went with her to breakfast (not at Dunkin’ Donuts). After we said our goodbyes to Linda and thanked her for being a wonderful host, we headed to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania to meet and interview one of Linda’s former classmates, Suzanne Shepherd ’74. Suzanne gave us a tour of the Emergency Department of the hospital. She also graciously sat down with us while we grilled her about her time at Goucher and her life post-Goucher. Suzanne eventually needed to get back to work, and we had another event on our schedule. We walked a few blocks to the White Dog Cafe, where we met with four Goucher alums, one from almost every decade since the 1960’s. This allowed for interesting conversations in which we all compared our varied experiences at Goucher. We discussed posture pictures, auctions to raise money for GIG, Goucherdales, date parlors, and other various things that no longer exist at the school. It would take a thousand more blogs to explain each of these items, so I’ll give you a piece of advice: the next time you encounter a Goucher alum from the 1960’s or before, ask them about posture pictures. Those are most interesting (and shocking) stories I have heard on this trip, and my story telling abilities would not do them justice.

We had similar conversations at our final event of the night. Once we left Philadelphia, we headed to Delaware to Sandy Ranck King’s ’79 home so that we could meet with even more alums. Sandy’s grandmother was an alum of Goucher also, having graduated in 1910. Sandy found her grandmother’s diploma and brought it out for all of us to marvel at. The conversations at this event were similar to those at lunch, and everyone shared stories of their favorite, and least favorite, memories from their time at Goucher. As always, it’s great to hear how Goucher has changed, and it’s always nice to share with them our experiences at Goucher. It’s truly incredible to discover the ways in which Goucher has stayed the same over time.

After our “debriefing” on campus tomorrow, we’ll unpack the Goucher van, which is currently littered with cardboard boxes of Goucher hats, empty coffee cups, and random papers and prepare for our final days as East Coast Vagabonds.

With love,


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Philly State of Mind

East Coast Vagabonds with SaraKay Sherman Smullens '62 and Stan Smullens

Today we attended our 7th send-off of the trip. At this point, we have the events on routine: welcome guests, invite everyone to eat the food the host provides, gather everyone together and introduce ourselves and explain what the Goucher Vagabonds are. Then we ask the students to go around and introduce themselves. However, this afternoon, the Philadelphia send-off went in a bit of a different direction. Before opening up the floor for questions, SaraKay Sherman Smullens ’62, the host of the event, asked the parents to go around and introduce themselves and talk about why they liked Goucher. This created a whole new perspective on the send-off and was a great addition to the program. The parents were able to connect with each other and meet others who were going through the same hopes and fears about sending their student to College.

The afternoon as a whole was great. SaraKay welcomed us with open arms. Her sincere and personable attitude was contagious and her love for Goucher was inspiring. All I wanted to do was sit down with her and listen to her talk about her life and her experience at Goucher; however, when the guests arrived, she went strait into host-mode. SaraKay jumped from room to room talking to students and parents about how amazing Goucher is and how excited she was to have them in her home. After the guests left, we had the chance to sit down with her and her husband and talk about her time at Goucher. She told us about her involvement in integrating Towson and her participation with Students for Democracy. She also discussed her decision to transfer into Goucher after spending a year at Skidmore College. Everything SaraKay said reflected her love for Goucher and her appreciation of the education she received from the college.

Shortly after the send-off we joined Linda Himmelberger ’74 for dinner. We then toured the historic Valley Forge National Park. We also stopped for local ice cream before wrapping up the night back at Linda’s home where we were staying.

Go Gophers!


East Coast Vagabonds with Linda Himmelberger '74 at Valley Forge National Park

What day is it again?

Time has gone by so quickly that we hardly remember what day it is anymore. Between waking up early in the morning and driving to our next destination, we lose track of dates, only remembering which # day of the trip it is. But today, we had a chance to slow down a bit and look forward to the days ahead.

We woke up this morning at Hugh Geller’s ’14 house and headed out to Maine to get breakfast at a Cajun place Andrew insisted on having us attend early in the morning. After eating breakfast, we went over to a fellow Goucher student’s house who lives near Portland. We then went to Andrew’s home in Cornish. Andrew’s house is surrounded by woods and nature; we feel like we are in secluded cottage. Honestly, it is the best place to unwind after a long week.

But before we could totally relax, we headed back to Portland to attend our 6th send-off at a great restaurant called Flatbreads. Students began shuffling in with their parents and various family members. Without any prompting on our part, the students began to gravitate together while the parents separated themselves and sat at the table nearby. Like every other send-off the students were enthusiastic and excited about Goucher; however, this time, a lot of the students started asking each other questions and prompting topics of conversations as well. Briana, the brave soul that she is, sat down with parents at another table and answer their questions.

The most interesting part of our night was when a Goucher alumna, Diane Schimmer DeVito approached us saying she graduated Goucher in ’78. We got a chance to take a picture with her and talk quickly about how crazy a coincidence it was for us to run into her! Diane, who currently lives in New York, happened to be visiting a fellow Goucher graduate outside of Portland for the week. She said she had lost touch with the school but was glad to learn what type of things we were doing as Goucher Vagabonds. This just shows that a Goucher alumnae/i are everywhere.

Tomorrow we will return with updates on our adventures during our day off and some interesting facts about our driving playlists and routines.




The Adventures Continue…

We had a long night last night at Fenway and we needed to rest, so our day began around 12 pm. We had made lunch plans with Adam Badik ’99, so we checked out of our hotel, plugged his address into our GPS, and drove into Boston. Even with the GPS we got a little lost, but we eventually made it to Adam’s house in Somerville. He took us to a Thai restuarant and we grilled him for tips on life after Goucher. Since Andrew and I are political science majors, it’s likely that we will be attending law school some time after we graduate. Adam, despite the fact that he majored in computer science, attended law school at Boston University. He explained to us the ways in which computer science and law are related. He also gave us tips on which classes to take before we graduate so that we can be prepared for law school. As Jackie mentioned in her last blog, Adam knows a little bit about everything, and he continued to share his knowledge about the surrounding areas as we walked back to our Goucher van. After he told us interesting facts about the neighborhoods that surround Boston, we bid adieu to Adam and began our journey to the next send off.

After a short drive, we arrived at the home of Isabel Geller ’82 where tonight’s send-off was held. Isabel is a third generation Goucher graduate, and her son, Hugh ’14, will continue that tradition. We arrived two hours early to the Gellar home, so we took advantage of that rare time to relax.  Our downtime didn’t last long however, and first-years and their families quickly began arriving. While we were waiting for everyone to arrive we mingled with the attendees. We eventually moved the crowd to the Gellar’s backyard and officially introduced ourselves to everyone. Like the other send-offs, everyone had questions about our trip and what to expect when they arrive at Goucher. We answered the questions and offered advice and then we continue to mingle with the students and parents. The parents we talked to tonight, like most parents, asked questions that will help them make the process of leaving their student at school slightly easier. After about two hours of talking with students and parents, the crowd started to dwindle and we soon realized that only one first year remained. Since she was a childhood friend of Hugh’s, she stayed and talked with the four of us (Jackie, Andrew, Hugh, and myself) as we reminisced about various events that took place during our first year at Goucher.

Tomorrow we head to the northern-most send off in Portland, ME. Since Andrew is from the area, he’ll be showing us some of his favorite spots.

Until next time,


"Play Ball!!"

East Coast Vagabonds with Vaughn Frisby ’08, Julia Pollack ’07, Danielle Cohen ’06, and Seth Michaelson ’04.

It is safe to say that tonight has been the highlight of our trip so far. As Briana mentioned in our last blog update, we attended a Red Sox game with five Goucher alums, Vaughn Frisby ’08, Julia Pollack ’07, Adam Badik ’99, Danielle Cohen ’06, and Seth Michaelson ’04.

If any of you out there were watching the game on TV, you would have known that the game was delayed about an hour and a half due to rain. As we all hovered together under the bleachers of Fenway Park, we managed to speak over the crowds of people ordering their Fairway Franks and talk about Goucher. It was truly a blessing in disguise; if it weren’t for the delay, we wouldn’t have been able to really get to know the Alums as well as we did. It was an interesting experience talking with young Goucher grads.  Vaughn, who kindly organized this gathering, reminisced with Danielle, Julia, and Seth about their overlapping years at Goucher. We learned  a lot– instead of Programming Board and CA’s, they combined the two with something called “House Boards;” these student-elected positions were in charge of planning certain events on campus such as a Halloween dance and GIG. They also told us about this one time when their friends decided to drive through the residential quad, causing Public Safety to have a panic (they warned us to never do this).  Although they were interested in getting to know more about us and our experiences thus far at Goucher, we were more entertained by hearing how Goucher was just a few years before we arrived. It felt more tangible to have these young alums talk about a campus and school that is so similar to how we know it.

Although most of our guests had to head out in the second and fourth innings, we were still able to talk more with Adam Badik. Adam joked about his times “studying” in Julia Rogers Library, and talked about his life post-Goucher. However, the most interesting thing about Adam is that he knows something about everything.  He kept giving us background on Fenway Park and the Boston area. Adam was also kind enough to invite us to lunch tomorrow before we head out to our next send-off.

So, the night ended well… The Red Sox broke the 2-2 tie with the Cleveland Indians in the bottom of the ninth. The crowd went crazy and we went along with them (even though Briana is a Philly’s fan and I’m a Ranger’s fan). Andrew and Adam led the way back to our hotel as Briana and I talked about how much we love Boston.


Good Night Mighty Gophers,


Send Off Number 4, New Haven, CT

As we begin to head north into New England, we’re meeting more and more enthusiastic first-years who are anxious to begin their Goucher experiences. Today we traveled to New Haven, Connecticut, the home of Yale University, for our largest send-off yet. At final count, we had 16 students plus their family members. Amongst the attendees was also Goucher alumna, Glennis Orlof ’85, who, of course, shared with us stories of Goucher’s past and present. Glenn shared her love for the Collegetown Shuttle. She told us of a summer spent at Goucher riding Baltimore’s public transportation through not-so-safe neighborhoods. When her daughter began her college search, Goucher was one of her top choices, and the shuttle was a selling point. Glenn was relieved that she would not have to fear for her daughter’s safety since the Collegetown shuttle doesn’t travel past the Inner Harbor area.

As always, however, the main focus of the night’s event was the students. The unique set-up of the send-off allowed for each of us to take a seat at a table with a group of first-years and their parents and chat while eating delicious Indian appetizers. The students discussed where they were living on campus; many will be living in Stimson, of course. They also told us of their plans for their majors/minors and asked for time management tips. We spent over two hours talking to the students, their parents, and siblings, getting to know each one and giving them advice. A few of the first-years were actually old friends having attended preschool, elementary school, and high school together. As the three of us got up from the tables to pack up our boxes of Vagabonds t shirts and hats, an incredible thing happened with the students. They left their parents and congregated around one table. They had decided, on their own, that they wanted to know the people that they would be encountering on campus. The parents, and the Vagabonds, were thrilled that the students had seemingly already started their transition into their first year of college.

Tomorrow we head to Boston, Massachusetts for our first all alumae/i gathering. We will be meeting five or six young alumnae/i at a Boston Red Sox game. The three of us have never been to a Red Sox game before, and I have never been to Boston, so we are really looking forward to spending time in the city.



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"Busy day" is an understatement…

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We began our day at 8:30 am. I slowly rolled out of bed, jumped into the shower, and met Briana and Andrew downstairs of the Goucher House to begin packing the van. It was my turn to drive, so Briana took over the role as DJ for the quick one-hour ride to Cooksville, MD for our second send-off. As Andrew dozed off in the back seat, I marveled at the beautiful scenery– there is not nearly as much green in Dallas as there is in Maryland.

We arrived at the home of Robert Bull ’93 a little early so we decided to find a Dunkin’ Donuts to quickly grab some coffee and breakfast. We then returned to his beautiful house right in time for the students to arrive. We mingled with parents and first-years and talked about Goucher life and fall orientation. After a light lunch, the group gathered together for a quick introduction. We then opened the floor for questions; however, we had to duck out early for our next send-off in New York.

Now, the drive didn’t go as smoothly as we had hoped. We left Robert Bull’s house at 12:15 so we could arrive in New York in ample time to get to the send-off at 5pm. With Rachel Williams ’12, aka SGA President, tagging along with us, we felt confident that we would make it in time because we had a genuine New Yorker driving with us. Although she knew the best way to get into the city, the traffic got the best of us and it took us a total of 6 hours to get to Lynn Toby Fisher’s ’71 house.

As Andrew valiantly faced the traffic, Rachel, Briana, and I sorted through music playlists, took naps, and talked about everything from Goucher to our home towns. Probably the best part about our drive was when we were driving down 95 and the person in the car next to us opened the window and started waving at us and pointing to our van shouting, “I went there!!!” It was such a random yet glorious moment to have a Goucher grad recognize our van and wave with excitement.

The New York send-off went really well. Although we were an hour late, the students were enthusiastic and eager to ask us questions and extend their appreciation for our attendance. Lynn and her husband were very warm and welcoming and kindly opened their home to the new students and their parents. After two and a half hours of getting to know the students of the New York area, we left Lynn’s home and went straight to the hotel.

We once again want to extend our thanks to Robert Bull and Lynn Toby Fisher for hosting two successful send-offs.

Tomorrow we plan on exploring the city in the morning and then head out to New Haven, CT for send-off number 4.

Good night, y’all!

Gopher love


First Stop… Annapolis

The day we’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived; we had our first first-year send-off today in Annapolis, Maryland. This afternoon, after a quick but delicious lunch at Towson Hot Bagels, we packed the van and began our journey to the home of Greg and Kim Shaffir ’83. As an added bonus, Greg and Kim’s daughter, Kira, is a member of the Class of 2014 and lived on Wagner 1 with Jackie and me. We arrived ahead of schedule; after setting up, we mingled with Kim who gave us a glimpse of how life is post-Goucher. While we talked, the Shaffir’s cat, Mowgli, entertained us by posing for pictures and chasing flies.

It didn’t take long for our guests to arrive. Assistant Director of Annual Giving for the Goucher Society, Meg Mackin, was the first to come to the send-off. Shortly after Meg’s arrival, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Becki Kurdle ’61 payed a visit. We munched on blue and yellow colored M&M’s as we listened to stories of Goucher’s past told by Becki and Kim. Becki shared with us her experience at Goucher during the 60’s. Back then, instead of Community Assistants, the all-female student body was looked after by house-mothers, and it was common for students to remain in one dorm for the entirety of their time at Goucher.

The main focus of the send-off, however, was the lone first-year student who attended the event. The student and her mother were eager to ask questions about our first year experiences. We gave them tips for dorm living and getting involved at Goucher. We talked to the student, her mother, Meg, Kim, Kira, and Becki for over two hours as we snacked on delicious homemade guacamole and hot wings.

After saying our good-byes, we decided to drive down to the water front and find a nice place to relax and take pictures. We found a cute park in between beautiful homes. What we failed to realize was that the small beach was private and security politely asked us to vacate the premises. Oh well, we still got some good pictures out of it.

We learned a lot from our first send-off. We were glad that it was a small gathering; it was a great way to ease into the process. Tomorrow will be much more hectic day as we head to both Colombia, Maryland and New York City.

Gopher it,


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