Whether international or domestic, off-campus study programs are an attractive option for Ripon College students, providing opportunities that are bound to change their view of the world.
In the summer of 1963, that opportunity came through the Midwest Conference for Frank “Frenchie” Lockwood ’65, now of Sylva, N.C., and Karen Glatfelter Fegley ’64, now of Vero Beach, Fla. They joined 12 other students for a summer abroad study program across Europe, visiting historic sites and brushing elbows with an amazing cast of characters.
“We spent the first month or so at Lincoln College, Oxford, right around the corner from the Bodleian Library,” Lockwood says. “They have one of the original King James Bibles there. That was pretty cool. We each had a project to do. My project was a paper on the evolution of the house in England. I had a professor from Cambridge who drove us all over England looking at different houses. He was the personification of Mr. Chips. I stayed in touch with him until he died 20 years ago.”
At their college, they were served the same menu as when the college first opened in the 1600s. The students took turns carving the meat at long tables that seated about 40. “The first piece of meat I got to cut up was a cow’s tongue,” Lockwood says. “I’d never seen a cow’s tongue on a platter before.”
During the second half of the summer, they toured the continent of Europe. “We had with us an architect, artist and sculptor,” he says. “We visited as many of the fine museums as we could, and we had to write papers each time we went some place new.”
He went through several countries, including Italy and France, watched ballet in London and outdoor opera in Rome. Seeing artwork like Michelangelo’s “David” and “The Pieta” was “just astounding,” Lockwood says.
When the group flew to Athens, Greece, there weren’t enough seats for all of the passengers in the plane. Lockwood and a woman who had graduated from Exeter sat in the back on a big pile of mail bags.
On their first night in Greece, they registered in a hotel at the foot of the Acropolis. About 1 a.m., he and Fegley went for a beer at one of the tavernas dotting the hillside leading up to the Acropolis.
“When we came out, there was a really strong smell of jasmine,” he says. “We walked around and there was this jasmine tree, and underneath it a gentleman in a turban and two women wearing saris. The gentleman was the finance minister from Tanganyika. His wife and her sister were professors at the University of Delhi in India. They were headed for a Roman theater on the side of the Acropolis for a dress rehearsal by ballet dancers Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev.”
About 4:15 a.m., Lockwood and Fegley walked into the theater. Nobody was there. Suddenly, the floodlights came on, there were military police guards all around, and a big, black car pulled up. Out came the king and queen of Greece who were there to meet with Lockwood’s new acquaintances from India.
“Isn’t that a great way to start a trip into a country?” Lockwood says.
Also in Greece, they went to a seaport to have dinner with a couple of Ripon alumni who had come from Greece. It turned out they were the sons of wealthy shipping magnates. “That’s where I had my first octopus,” Lockwood says.
In Perugia, Italy, he and Fegley started talking with a man at an outdoor bar. “He was a Russian newspaper reporter who worked for the TASS news agency and had just interviewed Fidel Castro in Cuba.
“Where do you get experiences like that?” Lockwood asked.
Lockwood now is an associate professor of entrepreneurship at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C. He also is a director at Cullowhee Mountain Arts, an organization that provides experiences in all the fine arts such as visual arts, dance, drama, movie-making and creative writing.
“All that arts stuff I saw on that summer trip has come back around,” he said. “That class had a big impact on my world view. Coming from Barrington, Ill., I hadn’t seen anything like this, ever.”
“Just this year, I happened to tune in to the Christmas Mass on television and saw the beautiful Botticelli altar. I had seen that altar in person! These are lifelong memories I got when I was a Ripon College student. It emphasizes for me the importance of having a liberal arts education.”