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The Adventure Begins

Looking back, from the Mount archives

Sisters Alice Marie Cheap, left, and Eloise Therese Mescall, CSJs, both professors at MSMU, prepare to board a Scandinavian Airlines jet for Vienna, Austria, on December 14, 1960. Their visit to the University of Vienna established a foreign study program for Mount students.

Sisters Alice Marie Cheap, left, and Eloise Therese Mescall, CSJs, both professors at MSMU, prepare to board a Scandinavian Airlines jet for Vienna, Austria, on December 14, 1960. Their visit to the University of Vienna established a foreign study program for Mount students.


Students traveling abroad this summer joined a more than 60-year tradition at the Mount, a trail blazed by CSJ faculty back in the 1950s.

In June 1955, three sisters boarded a steamship in New York City for the long, often stormy trip across the North Atlantic. They were headed to Paris for a summer of study: Sisters Eloise Therese Mescall in French, Mary Timothy Spellacy in music, and Alice Marie Cheap in chemistry. Afterwards, they toured the continent. The letters from Les Voyageurs, as they called themselves, were printed in the campus journal Inter-Nos and are preserved in the University Archives.

These faculty members must have known that such a transformative adventure ought to be shared with their students, because just a few months later, the Mount’s first study abroad program was launched with La Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City. It was followed the next year by Laval University in Quebec and the University of Vienna in 1960.

The Mount also introduced a 2½-month “grand tour” of Europe for students in 1959 for the bargain price of $1,625 (about $13,500 in today’s dollars, still a pretty good deal). The European tour continued in various forms into the 2000s.  

The tradition of faculty and students writing letters from abroad continues today in the Study Away newsletter, also available in the archives. Browse travel letters from the 1950s here.

— Victoria McCargar, University archivist

Sister Eloise Therese Mescall with a group of her Study Abroad students in an undated photo from the early 1980s.

Sister Eloise Therese Mescall with a group of her Study Abroad students in an undated photo from the early 1980s.

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