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Give Credit to the Experiment in International Living

October 04, 2012

I graduated from Lewis & Clark in 1967. Like many others, my life changed when I participated in the Overseas Study Program —to Peru in 1965–66.

The Chronicle magazine and its predecessors have written many column inches about Lewis & Clark’s overseas study programs over the years. The most recent is “Around the World in 50 Years” [spring 2012]. I was sure that here, at last, credit would be given to the Experiment in International Living, but no.

I don’t understand why you can’t acknowledge the debt you owe to this program, under which the students in 1962, through my class and beyond, benefited. At some point, you decided that you should use the EIL model to create your own program. You had the wisdom to see the value of this experience for your students and you have expanded and improved upon it. Well, good for you.

But what is wrong with giving credit where due? As Ruth Bader Ginsberg acknowledged shortly after she was installed as a Supreme Court justice, she was standing on the shoulders of many women before her. The overseas study program at Lewis & Clark College is standing on the shoulders of the Experiment in International Living, and there is no reason to hide the fact.

Carmel Bentley B.A. ’67 Portland 

Editor’s Note: It was certainly not our intention to deliberately slight the Experiment in International Living. From the beginning, we knew it would be impossible to compress 50 years of programmatic history into a relatively short magazine article. Instead, we decided to focus on outcomes of the experience through alumni profiles. Thank you for the reminder about the importance of the EIL. 

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