On December 3, more than 220 alumni gathered virtually to celebrate six decades of the University of Redlands’ signature study away program, offered at its international campus in Salzburg, Austria.
The evening’s master of ceremonies was Bill Lowman ’70, who served as the inaugural Mozley Endowed Salzburg Director from 2012 to 2014. Alice Mozley ’70, who studied in Salzburg as a U of R undergraduate in spring 1969 and chaired the $3 million Salzburg Campaign, was recognized for her generous endowment of the program’s directorship in perpetuity.
Mozley Endowed Salzburg Director and College of Arts and Sciences Associate Dean Katie Baber shared some insights into the program’s current state, including challenges resulting from COVID-19 travel restrictions. Baber also shared a video created by the spring 2020 class, whose experience was cut short earlier this year due to the pandemic.
“It was inspiring to see so many alumni come together to share their experiences over the past 60 years of the Salzburg program,” said Baber. “For the current faculty and staff, it was heartwarming to know that, even in these times, we are all connected by our memories and our love for Salzburg.”
In addition to Lowman and Baber, other past directors of the program in attendance at the event were Professor Fred Rabinowitz, Interim College of Arts and Sciences Dean Steve Wuhs and Professor Kim Coles, and Professor Sara Falkenstien, who also had been Mozley Endowed Salzburg Director. (Former Directors Jim Fougerousse and Eva Hametner were unable to attend synchronously, but sent video messages.)
Susan Whitlo Clasen ’63 and Eldon Wegner ’63, who were among the Salzburg program’s first cohorts in fall 1960, reflected on their memories and the life-changing nature of the experience. “The whole experience was a fairy tale to me,” said Wegner, who has now traveled to every continent except Antarctica. He noted his most vivid memories of the semester were of the 24 hours of Christmas, starting with a Christmas Eve walk to the Nonnberg Abbey, which was beautifully decorated with trees and crèches. After attending Mozart’s midnight Mass in the Salzburg Cathedral, Wegner and his roommate caught the train to Oberndorf, Germany, the village where the beloved carol “Silent Night” was written. They attended a service in a memorial chapel that featured the singing of “Stille Nacht.”
After a rousing trivia game to test participants’ Salzburg knowledge, attendees gathered in 15 breakout groups to enjoy more intimate conversations with Salzburg alumni from their respective eras. The evening concluded with toasts from Professor Art Svenson, Falkenstien, and Lowman. Svenson toasted Peter Madler, who directed the program for 30 years:
“Thank you, Peter, for teaching us how to wander the streets of Salzburg:
Look up in awe, Peter said, at the centuries-old dates stamped on a building’s eve.
Look down in horror, Peter said, at sidewalk markers testifying to Jews evicted then murdered.
Close your eyes, open your ears, Peter said, then listen to the sound of music.”
Bill Kennedy ’70 was among the alumni who attended the virtual event to connect with other Bulldogs with this shared Redlands experience. “I don’t think that I was able to see the Salzburg experience until I left it,” said Kennedy. “Now I can see that Salzburg became for me a crucible where values, ideals, and direction were forged in the midst of a world filled with general confusion and turmoil. It became, to me, a signpost that I would return to in my mind, again and again, when confusion reigned. It was that one brief shining moment when values were clear and manifested in a powerful romantic spirit.”
Learn more about the U of R Salzburg program or how to make a gift in support of this signature study away program.