Press Releases

Group from Alfred University takes two-week educational tour of London

Alfred University | 6/04/19

A group from Alfred University, which included students and faculty, just completed a two-week stay in London, England, as part of a study abroad course that allowed participants to experience one of the most culturally inspiring cities in the world.


A group from Alfred University, which included students and faculty, just completed a two-week stay in London, England, as part of a study abroad course that allowed participants to experience one of the most culturally inspiring cities in the world.

Ten students – in majors ranging from English to art to business – took part in “Literary London: From Page to Stage,” the study abroad course being taught by Stephen Crosby, retired professor of theater, and Susan Mayberry, professor of English.

The group arrived in London May 21 and stayed through Tuesday, June 4. The itinerary included attendance at four plays, followed by study and discussion of each performance. The first, on May 23, was All My Sons at the National Theatre, which featured noted actor and Alfred University trustee Bill Pullman as part of the cast. Pullman met with the group afterward, took them on stage and introduced them to members of the cast, and joined them for a question-and-answer session the next morning.

The group toured the Royal Opera House on May 28 before viewing a production of Dead Dog In A Suitcase at the Lyric Hammersmith; visited the Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre May 31 and took in a production of As You Like It; and enjoyed a Monday (June 3) performance of King Headley II at Theatre Royal Stratford East.

In addition to exploring the legendary sights of William Shakespeare’s homeland – such as Stratford-upon-Avon (Shakespeare’s birthplace) Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Trafalgar Square, Southbank, Bloomsbury, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, and the Tower of London – the group also took excursions to Bath and Oxford, with visits to Warwick Castle and the Jane Austen Centre. 

Other highlights of the trip included literary walking tours and workshops with theater professionals; a visit to a “poetry café”; a cruise down the River Thames; a day trip to Hampton Court; and a traditional afternoon tea.

“Having led or participated in numerous study abroad experiences such as this, and seeing the impact they have on students, I am made keenly aware and constantly reminded of their immeasurable educational value,” Crosby commented. “The on-site component of this study abroad course is creating memories which will last a lifetime. This kind of intense and insightful learning experience cannot be taught in a classroom.”

“The opportunity to experience Bloomsbury, Bath, and Stratford’s Bard has challenged me as much toward the end of my career as it did toward the beginning,” Mayberry added. “I am delighted to help enable the start of that journey for my students.”

Alfred University students participating in the study abroad course to London were: Abigail Congdon, senior English major; Marshae Fenton, senior business major; Zanaya Grandberry, senior English major; Abigail Smith, senior art major (English minor); Natalie Waddell, first-year education major; Hannah Watt, junior English major; Emma Karch, senior business major; Julia Lauer, sophomore art major (English minor); Haley Ruffner, senior English major; and Alison Shulman, senior art major.

Congdon, Fenton, Grandberry, Smith and Ruffner all received bachelor’s degrees at the May 18 commencement. The trip was met with rave reviews by participants, with Ruffner commenting, “Exploring London on foot, in the tube, and on horseback in Hyde Park gave me the chance to feel like I was a part of then it, weaving its history into my own.”

“If you’re looking for a challenge and an opportunity to step out of your comfort zone, a Study Abroad experience such as ours is an excellent option,” added Congdon. “Experiencing a new culture is an unforgettable way to return as a new and improved version of yourself.”

“My favorite part of the trip was Mary Arden’s farm, where I enjoyed the animals and discovered my love for archery,” said Shulman. “I appreciated the diversity of planned activities, the ample free time to explore London on our own, and, of course, feeding the pigeons.”

Also attending the trip, as class auditors, were Luanne Crosby, professor of theater; Thomas McDowell, emeritus professor of computer science; and Anne-Marie Karch.

Pictured in photo above, outside Warwick Castle, are, from left: Julia Lauer, Emma Karch, Susan Mayberry, Tom McDowell, Marshae Fenton, Luanne Crosby, Abigail Smith, Allison Shulman, Natalie Waddell, Abby Congdon, Haley Ruffner, Zanaya Grandberry, Hannah Watt, Stephen Crosby.