Alumni explore the globe with Traveling WildcatsK-State
|Traveling Wildcats strike the
K-S-U pose during an expedition to Antarctica in January. (Photo: Noel
Through their travels, Kansas
State University alumna Sherry Lynch Conrad '87 and her husband, Dale, have
learned about agricultural operations all over the world — from a sheep farm in
New Zealand, to a feedlot in Brazil, to a hydroponic farm in Sweden where plants
were grown without soil. They experienced these trips through the K-State Alumni
Association’s Traveling Wildcats program, which offers organized tours across
the globe for alumni and friends.
The Conrads have been to Alaska,
Australia, the Mediterranean and beyond and said the Traveling Wildcats program
is their preferred way to travel.
“There are a number of reasons we enjoy
traveling with the K-State Alumni Association, including getting to know other
K-State alumni during the trip, catching up with them each day, seeing familiar
faces around the ship, and participating in the special K-State events that are
planned during our trip,” Sherry Conrad said. “We also really enjoy seeing our
new K-State friends at dinner each evening. Seeing some of the same K-Staters on
different trips and renewing our friendship from the previous trip has also been
wonderful.” About the
The Traveling Wildcats program started in 1969 with the
goal of providing Wildcat fans a stress-free travel experience and an
opportunity to have fun, learn about different cultures and network with other
K-Staters. The program continues to grow and saw its highest number of travelers
— more than 500 — in 2014, said Terin Walters, director of development programs
and travel for the Alumni Association.
Italy, the Mediterranean and
Alaska have proven to be popular destinations throughout the years. About 25 to
30 trips are planned each year to U.S. and international destinations, and many
travelers become repeat customers.
“The Kansas State Alumni
Association offers only the best travel experiences,” said Pam Widener '71, who
lists some of her favorite Traveling Wildcats memories as going on safaris in
South Africa and watching dancers tango in a small street in Buenos Aires. “The
trip packages offered are well planned down to the tiniest detail, which helps
to take the hassle out of traveling. I like the feeling of comfort and safety
knowing that everything is well planned.”
|Eleven K-Staters visit the
Inca ruins during a past Traveling Wildcats trip to Cuenca, Ecuador.
Lynn '67, '69, and Donna Willard '67 said their
favorite Traveling Wildcats experience was a safari trip, and they would
recommend the program to others.
“The camaraderie of K-State alumni,
sharing our youthful memories of Kansas State University and being with persons
of similar values and traditions makes the travel more rewarding than a normal
excursion,” Lynn Willard said. “It is a positive experience and we have yet to
meet a traveling Wildcat that we didn't like. Having someone from the alumni
office accompany us helps build our relationship even more to the
That sense of camaraderie translates to fun memories, such
as Dale and Sherry Conrad eagerly listening for basketball scores during a trip
to Melbourne, Australia.
Although the travelers had to board the bus to
return to port before the game was over, the guide made sure someone from his
office found out the final score, which turned out to be a victory over the
University of Kansas.
Alumni Association member Barry
Flinchbaugh — who went on an agriculture-focused Mississippi riverboat
cruise in May — said Traveling Wildcats trips are a "family
experience" and a good opportunity for learning.
"This is unique. You're
out there on that river and you learn quickly the importance of that river,"
Flinchbaugh said. "You get to see some of the towns along the way."
Herb and Mary Sue Whitney, both class of 1963, said, "The best part
is sharing travel experiences with old and new K-State friends. Our wave of
purple attire is noticed wherever in the world we are. Without reservation we
are quick to recommend the Traveling Wildcats trips to our K-State friends,
because each of our numerous experiences has met and in most cases
exceeded our expectations."
Walters added, “People make friends.
K-Staters are all over the nation. People from all over the place choose to
travel. We’re doing these trips to facilitate connections between
Planned 2016 destinations include Central America, Ecuador, the
Mediterranean, the Scottish Highlands and more. Visit the Traveling Wildcats page for more