SIT Celebrates 50 Years

Save the date! SIT 50th reunion — August 8, 9, and 10
More information coming soon.

This post first appeared on the World Learning NOW blog.

John Wallace and Gordon Boyce led the way to SIT’s founding in 1964.

John Wallace and Gordon Boyce led the way to SIT’s founding in 1964.

2014 marks the 50th anniversary of SIT, founded as the School for International Training in 1964 by The Experiment in International Living’s first president, Gordon Boyce, and executive vice president, John Wallace.

A celebration for alumni, students, staff, and faculty will take place in August 2014 at SIT’s Brattleboro, Vermont, campus, with smaller events planned in other areas throughout the year, said Bea Fantini, chair of the SIT 50th anniversary celebration committee and  director of SIT’s Language and Culture Department.

“It is very exciting for SIT to reach this milestone anniversary which reflects half a century of achievement by so many to build this strong, vibrant, and vital educational center,” said John Lucas, executive vice president of academic affairs and SIT provost. “SIT remains firmly committed to experiential education and rooted in the values of social justice, diversity, and inclusion.”

“As we go forth with continued energy and purpose, we will retain the best of our past traditions and values even as we leverage new technologies, resources, and relationships to set our course for the future.”

Sargent Shriver leads a group of Experimenters to Germany.

Sargent Shriver leads a group of Experimenters to Germany.

In the early 1960s, Sargent Shriver, the first director of the Peace Corps and an Experiment alumnus, called on The Experiment to conduct orientation and training for the earliest Peace Corps Volunteers. The Experiment soon outgrew their Putney, Vermont, campus, and in 1962 purchased the current location, known as the Sandanona estate, in Brattleboro to use as a training and orientation facility.

These orientation and training activities gradually led to the establishment of an academic institution. In 1964, John Wallace secured clearance from Vermont state education officials to change the center’s name from Sandanona to the School for International Training to better reflect activities in Brattleboro and at off-campus study abroad programs, which began in 1957.

The International Career Training (ICT) program was SIT’s first academic program, and in 1971 it awarded the first master’s degree as  the Program in Intercultural Management (PIM), which still comprises a large part of SIT Graduate Institute today. Meanwhile, other language training programs for students from Africa and Latin America led to the founding of a Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) program. The campus also hosted the World Issues Program (WIP), a two-year undergraduate program, from 1972 to 1999.

ICC_flags_Artisan-ImagesToday John Wallace’s vision lives on at SIT Graduate Institute in Brattleboro and Washington, DC, and in more than 30 countries worldwide with SIT Study Abroad. SIT Graduate Institute continues to offer programs in TESOL, as well as sustainable development, international education, and peacebuilding and conflict transformation, while SIT Study Abroad offers undergraduates field-based, experiential education programs that focus on critical global issues.

Alumni are encouraged to stay tuned to the World Learning website for details about the August 2014 celebration.

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