Upcoming Trips

Bearcat Explorers experience destinations near and far! Alumni, parents, and friends are invited to join us on the upcoming trips. At any point, feel free to contact the office at 503-370-6430, or email the trip contacts listed below.

2018 Trips

New York Theater Tour

October 1-7, 2018

nyc broadway

Travel to the Big Apple and join fellow Willamette alumni for an unforgettable experience touring the city's legendary theater scene. Along with a six-night stay at the Kimberly Hotel in midtown Manhattan, travelers will enjoy five exceptional shows (four on Broadway and one Off-Broadway), four intimate post-performance discussions with New York arts professionals and a private tour of the best art galleries in New York's chic Chelsea district. On top of all that, the trip also includes daily gourmet breakfasts, a welcome and farewell dinner and a private coach to take you to and from shows and events. This experience is truly a theater lover's dream!

Update (4/30/18): We've secured tickets to the acclaimed musical, "The Band's Visit"! The New York Times calls it "one of the most ravishing musicals you will ever be seduced by." Warm and intimate, "The Band's Visit" is a romantic love story for adults. Brimming with admirable humor, "this miraculous show....is precise as it is elusive, and all the more poignant for being both," The New York Times added.

This trip will be led by award-winning playwright, screenwriter, film director, actor and founder of Insider Cultural Tours James Ryan. Mr. Ryan is the former chair of the graduate dramatic writing program at the Actors Studio/New School University and he teaches in the graduate dramatic writing program at Rutgers University. He is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, McKnight Foundation, and the Drama League Award.

For additional information, contact Kim Burris in the Alumni Office (503-370-6430 or kburris@willamette.edu).

  • Cost: $4,550 per person double occupancy (airfare not included) Single supplement is $1,133.
  • Deposit: $1,200 (due by June 25, 2018)
  • Final Payment Due: July 25, 2018
  • Tour Host: James Ryan of Insider Cultural Tours

Shakespeare on a Budget

October 19-20, 2018


Join alumni, current students and theater professor Bobby Brewer-Wallin for our annual trip to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, where we'll enjoy a group lunch and two spectacular plays at an unbeatable price. Professor Brewer-Wallin will give a brief presentation that will include a discussion on theme, costume design, scene design and how those elements come together to create magic on the stage.

Like last year, this year's trip will also include an optional Dinner + Play add-on at the Oregon Cabaret Theatre the night before our day out at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Come down to Ashland a night early for a lovely meal and a presentation of "Picasso at the Lapin Agile." See details on this and the two plays at the OSF below:

Picasso at the Lapin Agile – Friday, Oct. 19 at the Oregon Cabaret Theatre
This long running Off-Broadway absurdist comedy from the mind of funnyman Steve Martin places Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso in a Parisian cafe in 1904, just before the renowned scientist transformed physics with his theory of relativity and the celebrated painter set the art world afire with cubism.

In Martin’s first comedy for the stage, the popular actor and screenwriter plays fast and loose with fact, fame and fortune as Picasso and Einstein muse on the century’s achievements and prospects as well as other fanciful topics with infectious dizziness.

Sense and Sensibility – Saturday, Oct. 20 at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival
This lively adaptation of Jane Austen’s sparkling romance is full of comedic surprises and deliciously wicked social commentary, with the daring premise that true love unites both hearts and minds — and that women should be seen, heard and valued. Life takes a sudden turn when Mrs. Dashwood (Kate Mulligan) and her three daughters lose their home, thrown out by their selfish half-brother. With no money to speak of, the marriage prospects for the sisters are bleak. When love — or what looks like it — comes calling for Elinor (Nancy Rodriguez) and Marianne (Emily Ota), they are whirled into a tangle of gossip, scandal and unexpected fortune. This joyous adaptation by Kate Hamill is passionately directed by Hana S. Sharif, wedding their artistic sensibilities with an ardent love of Jane Austen.

Othello – Saturday, Oct. 20 at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival
In Shakespeare’s most intimate tragedy, director Bill Rauch explores racism, religious bias, xenophobia, and the more disturbing aspects of relationships in the context of our society’s ongoing struggle with polarizing differences. Consumed by their bigotry, those who praised the Moorish general Othello’s military successes now reject his marriage to Desdemona. The newlyweds are determined to overcome all obstacles, but Othello’s assignment in an exotic new location draws them into the web of his lieutenant Iago, whose resentment and demons know no bounds.

About the host: Bobby Brewer-Wallin is an associate professor of theatre at Willamette University. Bobby designs costumes for theatre, dance, television and film. In addition to designing costumes for all main stage productions, he teaches courses in costume design and costume history. With a love for Shakespeare, Bobby has designed "Hamlet," "A Midsummer Night’s Dream," "Henry V," "Taming of the Shrew," and "Twelfth Night," just to name a few. Recent productions include "Richard III" and "King Lear" at the Arkansas Shakespeare Festival.


Friday, Oct. 19 – Optional Add-on at the Oregon Cabaret Theatre
6:10 p.m. Seating for dinner
8:00 p.m. Curtain

Saturday, Oct. 20 – Day at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival
11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Hosted lunch & pre-play presentation
1:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.   "Sense and Sensibility"
4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.   Free time and dinner (on your own)
7:15 p.m. - 7:45 p.m.   Pre-play presentation
8:00 p.m. - 11:15 p.m. "Othello"

For additional information, contact Kim Burris in the Alumni Office (503-370-6430 or kburris@willamette.edu).


  • Cost: $100 for main Oregon Shakespeare Festival package (Lunch + Two Plays at OSF); $70 for optional add-on at the Oregon Cabaret Theatre (Dinner + Play).
  • Space: 34 tickets available for OSF package; 30 tickets available for add-on
  • Faculty Host: Professor Bobby Brewer-Wallin

Register here!

national parks

2019 Trips

America's Majestic National Parks

June 15-29, 2019

This trip is a combination of the Canyonlands of the Southwest and the Wild West Adventure trips. See info on those individual trips below.

In response to numerous requests, we are finally offering alumni and friends the opportunity to enjoy one or both eight-day trips which will cover the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, Bryce and Zion Parks in the Southwest, followed by another eight-day excursion through the national parks from Jackson Hole, Wyoming to Rapid City, South Dakota, including Yellowstone and Mount Rushmore.

Vantage Deluxe Travel will be our tour operator for these trips. Their trips are known for excellent itineraries and great value. If you have traveled with Vantage during the previous two years (Croatia in 2017 and Canadian Rockies in 2018), you will be entitled to discounts (3% of Croatia trip cost; 5% of Canadian Rockies trip cost). Additionally, Vantage offers a 10% discount if you pre-pay for the trip a year in advance, with lesser discounts thereafter.

See the details for each individual tour below.


Canyonlands of the Southwest

June 15-22, 2019

This trip is the first leg of America's Majestic National Parks trip. See below for pricing for this trip alone and when combined with the Wild West Adventure.

The first Saturday-to-Saturday leg of this tandem tour of great national parks of North America follows the classic route from Scottsdale, Arizona to Las Vegas, Nevada with highlights including a visit to Sedona, a train ride on the Grand Canyon Railway, a cruise on picturesque Lake Powell, a float trip on the scenic Colorado River and a visit to the spectacularly beautiful Zion Canyon. Along the way, we will experience seven sightseeing excursions and five cultural discoveries, while staying at deluxe hotels and lodges.

Wild West Adventure: Yellowstone, Grand Teton and U.S. Monuments


June 22-29, 2019

This trip is the second leg of America's Majestic National Parks trip. See below for pricing for this trip alone and when combined with Canyonlands of the Southwest.

The second Saturday-to-Saturday leg can also be done individually or in tandem with the Canyonlands tour, beginning in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and ending in Rapid City, South Dakota. Highlights will include a float trip on the Snake River, extensive viewing of the world’s first national park, Yellowstone, the Buffalo Bill Center in Cody, Wyoming, the Devils Tower (first U. S. national monument named by Franklin Roosevelt) and the amazing Mount Rushmore lighting at night.  This tour includes 10 sightseeing excursions and four cultural discoveries, as well as the aforementioned deluxe hotels and lodges.

Please contact Kim Burris in the Alumni Office (kburris@willamette.edu or 503-370-6430), Jim Booth (jbooth@willamette.edu or 503-910-3192) or Cheryl Sheehan at Vantage (csheehan@vantagetravel.com or 866-786-2006, ext. 7147) for more information or to deposit.


  1. America's Majestic National Parks (both Canyonlands of the Southwest and the Wild West Adventure combined) - $7,198 (with free airfare!).
  2. Canyonlands of the Southwest - $3,499 (+airfare--$499 from Portland). Post-trip option: Two nights in Las Vegas for additional $499.
  3. Wild West Adventure - $3,699 (+airfare--$749 from Portland). Pre-trip option: Two nights in Jackson Hole for additional $799.


  • Deposit: $500 per person
  • Final Payment Due: March 15, 2019
  • Activity Level: Moderate
  • Group Size: 20
  • Tour Host: Jim Booth '64

Mediterranean Pathways

August 22 - September 2, 2019

greek gems

There are few places on the planet more interesting and beautiful than Italy and the Eastern Mediterranean. This trip will feature a luxury cruise at an exceptional price. Go Next will be our tour operator on the Oceania Five-Star cruise ship Sirena. Join Jim Booth ’64 and his wife Sandy on what may be their final trip for alumni and friends of Willamette.

The cruise begins in Rome (although some may wish to start a week earlier from Monte Carlo) and just gets better as we enjoy the beauty and history of Sorrento & Capri, Sicily (Taormina), Corfu, Gythion, Mykonos, and the biblical bucket list site of Ephesus and Dubrovnik before finishing with two nights in the unique and historic city of Venice. To add to the value, Oceania is offering free air, unlimited Internet and a choice between a $600 shipboard credit, six free shore excursions or a free beverage package (per stateroom). In addition, you will enjoy the camaraderie of the group at two cocktail parties along the way!

We expect space to go fast (already half of the trip has been sold as of 4/10/18), so contact Kim Burris in the Alumni Office (503-370-6430 or kburris@willamette.edu), Jim Booth ’64 (503-910-3192 or jbooth@willamette.edu) or Barb at Go Next (bduoos@gonext.com or 952-918-8949) with questions and/or deposit.

  • Cost: From $4,099 per person (includes free air)
  • Deposit: $950 per person
  • Final Payment Due: May 22, 2019
  • Activity Level: Light
  • Group Size: 40
  • Tour Host: Jim '64 and Sandy Booth

Additional trips are currently being planned! Stay Tuned!