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Semester at Sea Celebrates 50 years of Shipboard Education

The embarkation of the Fall 2013 Semester at Sea voyage marks the beginning of a yearlong celebration of the program’s 50th anniversary. In 1963, the maiden voyage of Semester at Sea, then known as the University of the Seven Seas, set sail around the world. Over the past fifty years, Semester at Sea has changed the face of global education and touched the lives of more than 60,000 alumni worldwide.

Semester at Sea has evolved over the past 50 years, but the value and lasting impact of its floating “living/learning” community remain. The Semester at Sea legacy grows stronger each year thanks to the program’s extraordinary program leaders; ambitious students with a thirst for knowledge; renowned faculty; expert staff; dedicated crew; generous donors; engaged and invested alumni; and the fascinating, ever-changing, and welcoming world around us.

In its first 50 years, Semester at Sea sailed on five primary floating campuses, visiting over 60 countries. Four academic sponsors, including current sponsor University of Virginia, have accredited courses taken by 60,000 students drawn from 1,700 colleges and universities worldwide. The unique nature of a floating university has impacted participants through classroom and field experiences that transform curious students into engaged, global citizens.

The Institute for Shipboard Education celebrates “50 Years of Impact” with its historic Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 voyages and a variety of exciting initiatives. New exhibits History Lane and Then and Now were recently installed on the MV Explorer and feature historical Semester at Sea photos and artifacts. A new, online 50th Anniversary Timeline provides the opportunity for SAS alumni to contribute personal stories and experiences and a 50th anniversary online store will open soon!

Additional plans for the yearlong celebration include a Semester at Sea-sponsored TEDx event on board the MV Explorer in San Diego on January 9, 2014, as well as alumni events in Hamburg, New York and Los Angeles.

August 24, 2013 officially marked the beginning of the 50th anniversary of Semester at Sea as students embarked for the Fall 2013 voyage. The voyage will visit ports in Europe, Africa, and South America, including Cuba. The Cuba visit is a major milestone for the program as the U.S. Treasury department approved a Semester at Sea application for travel to Cuba for the next two years. Kathryn Thornton, former NASA astronaut and professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of Virginia serves as academic dean along with Nicholas Iammarino, professor and director of health sciences and kinesiology chair at Rice University, who serves as executive dean.

The Spring 2014 voyage will embark from San Diego, CA on January 10, 2014 and travel throughout Asia, the South Pacific, and Africa, ending in Southampton.

The Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 voyages will also feature elite organizations and entrepreneurs, many of which were inspired by their own Semester at Sea experience. Guests will serve as both shipboard speakers and in-port program leaders to inspire the next generation of change agents.

The Institute for Shipboard Education invites you to celebrate its historic milestone by participating in one or all of the many Semester at Sea activities in 2013 and 2014!

Learn more about the 50th anniversary here:

  • Culture
  • History
  • Life at Sea

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