Patricia Guild O'Rourke

This past fall my Peace Corps group from Senegal had its 50th reunion.  Most people had not been in touch in many years.  We talked about what Peace Corps had meant to each of us, and our life path in the 50 years since. 


For me it led to CIE and a commitment to experiential and cultural education.  I finished my degree when I was a local public school principal in the Amherst area, then moved to Seattle and spent about 20 years as university faculty member and an education consultant, nationally and internationally.  My doctoral work was the basis for a book on learning styles - Marching to Different Drummers - and for my consulting with educators and business managers. 


In the mid 90’s my husband, Steve Guild (CIE, 1973) and I moved with two young teens to Nairobi, Kenya and taught at USIU there.  When we returned to the states, we divorced.  My son and I began organizing safari trips to Kenya and Tanzania, so I was able to return every few years, and able to introduce many people to the wonders and power of Africa.


In 2002, I entered the field of environmental education as a neophyte, becoming the Director of Education at IslandWood, an innovative outdoor learning center on Bainbridge Island a ferry ride from Seattle.  With a very talented staff, and energetic and creative graduate students, I finished my formal career with a sense of gratitude for the power of nature for kids – and we adults. 


Recently I’ve done some consulting work at Microsoft, taught in China, had some board roles, (one to help fund education for Kenyan girls and woman -- Maasai Women’s Education and Empowerment Program) -- and many hours of joy as a grandma!  Life has been, and is, good.  I am grateful for the collegial model we had at CIE, and the commitment to the values of inclusion, service, compassion, and life-long-learning exhibited among all our peers and faculty. [6-17]


A 2024 update from Pat:


I have just returned from Kenya and Tanzania after leading my seventh safari with 24 people including two cousins and two high school friends. My daughter was also with me so that was a huge help.  It was a very special trip with a great half-day seminar at the University of Nairobi and a full day at a Maasai village, where I have been supporting girls’ education. I feel so fortunate to be able to do these trips, but it will probably be the last one – it is getting harder to travel as one gets older.


I am still in regular touch with Lillian Baer who lives only a few miles away here in Seattle.  I saw Susan Carpenter recently and am in regular contact with Gordon Schimmel. I also get annual holiday messages from Marolyn & John Hatch as well as Ginger and Bill Smith.


I now live in a senior independent community close to my daughter and her family. I love the balance of private and social activities, and lots of stimulation as well as not having to take care of household things. I am really trying to encourage people to do it earlier rather than later. [2-24]





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