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Goucher Vagabonds

Goucher Vagabonds

The 2013 Goucher Vagabonds team just wrapped up their two-week trek along the east coast between Northern Virginia and Maine. Along the way they met with incoming first-year students at send-off parties, interviewed alumnae/i about life post-Goucher, and made stops at several alumnae/i regional events. Read posts from this year’s journey right here and check out more photos and video on the Vagabonds facebook page at www.facebook.com/gouchervagabonds.

vag·a·bond noun
[vag-uh-bond] a person, usually without a permanent home, who wanders from place to place; nomad. vagabond. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/vagabond.

Gouch·er vag·a·bond noun
A person, always a Goucher student, who wanders from place to place for two weeks each summer to bring the current Goucher experience to members of our school’s off-campus community while collecting stories of the post-grad experience and tales of Goucher’s history.
A Goucher Vagabond is never ‘settled.’ While on the road, he or she is constantly searching, learning, exploring; having an adventure of excitement and inquiry.

Heading Back East: Cleveland, OH and Pittsburgh, PA

The Vagabonds spent their evening in Cleveland eating good food with great company: Goucher alumna Chris King ’57. Chris studied Math while at Goucher, the only one in her major, and talked with the Vagabonds about her appreciation for Goucher’s small class sizes and lively discussion. From Goucher, she continued on to graduate school, studying both Clay and Fiber. She is now the president of her own company, Creative Keys, and is a professional storyteller. The Vagabonds were treated to her version of the “Vanishing Hitchhiker.”

Pittsburgh is the last city Shayna, Saajid, and Aislyn would visit as the Goucher Vagabonds. They met with Margaret (Peggy) Shirra ’88, the last but definitely not least, alumna. Current Goucher student Andrea Stephaich ’11 joined the group as well for a tour around town, where Peggy showed them the Phipps Conservatory, which holds some of Chihuly’s beautiful glasswork. Since Peggy went to Goucher from 1984 – 1988, she witnessed first-hand Goucher’s famous coed transition. She dated the first male to attend the school and still seems to feel the change was a good one and definitely needed for the school’s survival. Later on in the day, the Vagabonds spent some time downtown with Andrea and caught a concert performance by Across the Universe actress Dana Fuchs!

Midwest: Salt Lake City, UT; Denver, CO; and Chicago, IL

While there were no Goucher alumnae/i available in Salt Lake City for the Vagabonds to visit, they spent some time with Aislyn’s mother, Susan Douglas, who gave them a place to stay and breakfast as well. Here the three Goucher students kicked back a bit, watched a movie, and shared some of their stories with Susan.

The Vagabonds arrived in Denver to find a beautiful hotel room awaiting them, courtesy of current Goucher student Evan Marx ’11 and his family. Another surprise hit them that next June morning, literally, as it began to hail. Sharing this at dinner with two other current students Ashley Powell ’11 and Batya Kleen ’11, the Vagabonds discovered Denver’s odd weather is not actually that odd. The five students also enjoyed sharing their summer plans and what they look forward to in their next year at Goucher, whether it be studying abroad in Denmark as Batya plans or gaining theatre experience as Ashley will do. After dinner, Shayna, Saajid and Aislyn ventured over to Boulder, CO to visit recent graduate Annalise Woller ’09, who is a talented dancer and close friend of Shayna’s.

In Chicago the Goucher Vagabonds got a real taste of life after Goucher when alumna Susan Zeigler ’95 invited them into her work and into her morning staff meeting at the Chicago House. Susan showed the Vagabonds their way to the train so they could explore downtown Chicago on their own. For dinner the Vagabonds met two more alumnae, Debra Shore ’74 and Maria Espejo Vassilakis ’96, as well as Susan’s husband Matt and three year old son Joey. The Vagabonds enjoyed hearing about Maria Vassilakis’ work in research as well as Debra Shore’s experience running for and winning the office of Commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District in Chicago.

The Northwest: Portland, OR and Seattle, WA

To get from San Francisco to Portland, the schedule called for a full day drive. Luckily for the
Vagabonds it was through some of the most beautiful terrains in the United States, winding through the Redwoods and skimming along the coast. Shayna, Saajid, and Aislyn definitely enjoyed stretching their legs on that journey!

A busy day was scheduled for the Vagabonds, but that didn’t stop them from enjoying their time in Oregon. When they arrived, Alumna Maura Cooney ’99 gave them a place to stay and cookies for the road. For breakfast the Vagabonds met Margaret Poehler ’96, Jennifer Connolly ’96, her husband William (Bill) Connolly ’91, and their three energetic and creative children. They all met at Goucher and had interesting stories to tell; Bill’s class was the first to adopt male students, (so he had a particularly interesting perspective). For lunch the Vagabonds met with Jane Taft ’60 and Barbara Wagner ’68 where they exchanged perspectives concerning Goucher’s co-ed transition. The Vagabonds were happy to have these discussions because it allowed them to share their thoughts on why a co-ed Goucher works for them so well.

Fighting the traffic, the Vagabonds eventually made it to dinner in Seattle with a great group of Goucher alumnae/i and friends for Thai food. Recent graduates Samuel Adatto ’09 and Janelle Peters ’09 shared current Goucher stories with Christina Krashan ’69 and Jonathan Lasser ’98. Jonathan’s wife, Kathleen, and Goucher parent Kenneth Husted, father of Auni Husted ’10, also attended the dinner. This group discussed Goucher’s new study abroad requirement, which everyone seemed to approve of wholeheartedly. For a night’s rest, Christina Krashan and her husband Matt kindly welcomed the Vagabonds into their home.

San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, CA

The Vagabonds made it to the West Coast with their arrival to San Diego and celebrated with a nice dinner put together by alumna Kara Bundy ’02. Her husband, Will, their daughter Eleanor, and Goucher alumna Abbe Wolfsheimer Stutz ’59 accompanied the Vagabonds to dinner, which Aislyn’s own family later joined. Kara and Will shared their Naval Academy and Goucher romance, and other enjoyable and sweet stories. Kara also spoke about her senior thesis play for her interdisciplinary major, which combined Spanish, Psychology, Sociology, and Women’s Studies. After dinner the Vagabonds spent the night at Abbe and her husband David’s home, where the three students heard all about the couple’s numerous adventures across the globe.

The Goucher Vagabonds explored quite a bit of LA, starting with Universal Studios, where they visited two Goucher alumnae, Hollace Davids ‘69 and Bette Einbinder ’78, who actually work on the same hall. Following the Vagabonds’ tour around the backstage studios, the three students ate dinner with another two alumnae/i, both with unique perspectives: one is one of the first male graduates of Goucher and the other is the third generation of a four generation Goucher legacy! That evening, the third generation Jane Jordan ’74 welcomed the Vagabonds into her home and shared a few of her many Goucher stories.

Even with the LA traffic, the Vagabonds arrived in San Francisco early and surprised one of Saajid’s cousins with a visit before dinnertime. Afterwards, Goucher alumna Alicia Sullivan ’77 and her family hosted a delicious meal for the Vagabonds and alumna Amy Becker-Recktenwald ’09, during which they shared delightful stories about professors each of them knew and life in the real world after Goucher. For the night, Board of Trustees member Laura-Jean Anderson and her daughter, current Goucher student Catherine Pooley ’10, offered the Vagabonds a place to rest in their beautiful home as well as tasty snacks for the rest of their trip.

The Southwest: Albuquerque and Navajo Nation Indian Reservation, NM; and Phoenix, AZ

Albuquerque, New Mexico took all of the Vagabonds by surprise, especially Shayna, who fell in love with “The Land of Enchantment.” There, Goucher Alum Lynne Marcus ’66 took the Vagabonds on a tour through Albuquerque’s old town after treating them to a tasty lunch. That evening, the Vagabonds met Tiffany Blackbull ’93 and Sarah Azizi ’98 for a tea party at Lynne’s. Tiffany graduated from Goucher with a degree in Education and now teaches at the Navajo elementary school, and Sarah, who double-majored in Theatre and English, is now an editor.

The next morning the Vagabonds spent much of the day near Tiffany’s abode in the Navajo Nation Indian Reservation. She fell in love with a wonderful Navajo man, married him, and now has two children! The three Goucher students followed Tiffany around the tour of her school, which is in need of many supplies, but she does a stupendous job nonetheless. Many sections of the Indian Reservation are in dire need of renovations—some houses do not have running water or electricity— but the people are not yet allowed to make them. The Vagabonds ended their New Mexico exploration meandering through a Navajo Flea Market, where they got to try “Kneel Down Bread.”

Arizona is a beautiful and varied state with cool green mountains and hot desert valleys. Here the Vagabonds met some great people, like Jeremy Kraut-Ordover ‘01, a History major and Political Science minor, who accompanied the Vagabonds out to dinner, as well as former Goucher President Judy Mohraz, whom we met the next morning. While Jeremy attended Goucher, she was still the president, and when she moved on, Jeremy was on the committee that chose her replacement, current president Sandy Ungar! The next morning at Judy and her husband, Bijon’s, home, Dale Howell ’00, Patricia Dalton ’58, and current student Hilary Hoffman ’10, along with her parents, joined us for breakfast and discussions on Goucher’s present state.

Heading South: Atlanta, GA; Birmingham, AL; and Dallas, TX

For the Vagabonds’ Memorial Day lunch, alumna Gloria Kantor ’04 welcomed them to the grand city of Atlanta, GA. This delightful young woman graduated with a degree in Management with a minor in Communications, all while dedicating herself to Goucher’s SGA. While very happy with her Goucher education, she wishes she could have fit in some time abroad on top of everything else; she seems pretty pleased with Goucher’s new study abroad requirement. Since graduation, she has interned/worked with a radio station in Atlanta and is now preparing for her graduate studies. Later that evening, Gloria accompanied the Vagabonds to a delicious barbeque hosted by the lovely Goucher parents Celie and Mike Rutkowski. Current student Nadia Hassan ’10 and her mother joined as well. They shared stories and celebrated Saajid’s birthday (he turned 21!). All in all, a great Memorial Day celebrating memories of Goucher!

Who better to introduce Goucher’s Vagabonds to the Deep South than true Steel Magnolias: the Goucher Graduates of Birmingham, Alabama? Alice Williams of 1961 held a wine and cheese party where the charming women Susan Haskell ’66, Mary Lou Johnston ’55, and Katie Dudley ’01 attended and welcomed the Vagabonds. They discussed the different qualities of Goucher dorms; the strict 6:00 dinner schedules, made particularly frustrating if one had class until 5:30 pm; and the Goucher pride everyone felt as one of its students or alumnae/i. After the delightful gathering, Susan Haskell, who hosted the Vagabonds that evening, guided them to trails where they could admire Alabama’s breathtaking southern beauty.

From Birmingham to Dallas, the Vagabonds had a long drive but still made it on time for appetizers and dinner with the Goucher Grads of Dallas. These women all seemed to enjoy their time at Goucher, whether they studied History like Geraldine Cristol ’57, Music and Psychology like Phyllis Mills ’62, Sociology like Ann Milnor ’55, Biology like Stella Robertson ’71, or Elementary Education like Julie Katz ’04. The Vagabonds got to hear about the different paths each of these intelligent and lively women pursued following their education at Goucher, somehow leading them all to Dallas. After chatting all about Goucher with these strong women, the Goucher Vagabonds met with J.L., sister of Margaret-Anne Radford, the Assistant Vice-President of Development and Alumnae/i Affairs at Goucher. J.L. and her family opened up their home to the Vagabonds for a much needed night of rest.

Chapel Hill and Charlotte, NC

Chapel Hill was the first city that the Vagabonds visited. Here, they met Lynne Gerber, a ‘71 Goucher alumna. Upon first meeting the Vagabonds, she shared stories of Goucher’s past, mentioning the “little interest” she’s had in the school since graduating, aside from this vagabond project, because she was once a vagabond herself. This was not quite what the three new Vagabonds expected to hear at their first visit, but after they told her about present-day Goucher, Lynne warmed up to how it’s changed and may even make it up to the 125th anniversary or to the Vagabonds’ graduation! While she may not have appreciated the Goucher of ’68-’71, she persevered and graduated with a degree in Biology and Math, continuing on in international business, traveling and teaching. She has two children and lives with her husband Roger, whom she met at Goucher.

In Charlotte, NC, alumna Jody Pinion ’77 and her husband George invited the Goucher Vagabonds to their beautiful home for brunch. Over the delicious food, these two shared Goucher stories, including their very own “classic Goucher-Hopkins romance,” in which they fell in “love at first hear.” Jody’s experience at Goucher must have been quite positive, because she and George still take the time to come up and visit from time to time. She earned a degree in Psychology and Child Development and continued on to become a nurse. She now works from home as a medical adviser for hospital patients.

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