Famed travel writer Rick Steves coming to Auburn University Oct. 2

AUBURN UNIVERSITY – Rick Steves, a well-known authority on European travel, will offer a free, public lecture at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2, from the auditorium of The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center.

He is expected to discuss “Travel as a Political Act,” the title of one of his latest books in which he reflects on how a life of travel has broadened his own perspectives and how travel can be a significant force for people and understanding in the world.

Steves’ visit is sponsored by the College of Human Sciences and the Office of International Programs, with support from the Auburn University Special Lectures Fund and Auburn Connects! Common Book Program.

Seating will be determined on a first-come, first-served basis. Ballroom B will be used for overflow seating.

Marilyn Bradbard, director of international programs for the College of Human Sciences, said the college was interested in bringing Steves to campus, particularly for its own students, because “he is a credible authority on why study abroad is a necessity and not a luxury for graduates.” The College of Human Sciences has a goal within the next five years to have 50 percent of its students graduate with academic credit for study abroad.

“I’ve become even more convinced through the years that an international experience is absolutely critical for all students,” said June Henton, dean of the College of Human Sciences. “It’s a life changing experience. They come back different people and the great part is that they are more competitive in the workforce. Employers come after these students because they know they are apt to be calculated risk-takers, self-starters and see day-to-day issues in a big picture context.”

Bradbard said the College of Human Sciences subscribes to Steves’ philosophy that traveling is necessary to develop well-educated students who better understand the world.

Steves, who has traveled to Europe every year since 1973, is the best-selling author of more than 50 European travel books. His research and discoveries result in advice to make European travel fun, affordable and culturally enlightening.

His travel skills book, “Europe Through the Back Door,” has been updated every year since it was first published in 1980. For several years, “Rick Steves’ Italy” has been the best-selling international guidebook sold in the United States. His advice also can be found in a weekly column syndicated by the Chicago Tribune and at www.ricksteves.com.

Steves is also known as host of the popular public television series, “Rick Steves’ Europe,” and the weekly public radio program, “Travel with Rick Steves.”

Steves lives and works in his hometown of Edmonds, Wash. The city is also the headquarters of Rick Steves’ Europe Through the Back Door, a travel information business started in 1976. Today, with the help of 80 well-traveled employees, the business also runs a European tour program.

In 2012, the tour program took more than 12,000 Americans on more than 450 bus tours around Europe, covering 30 different itineraries.

(Written by Amy Weaver.)

Contacts: Marilyn Bradbard, College of Human Sciences, (334) 444-3939 (bradbmr@auburn.edu), Mike Clardy, Office of Communications and Marketing, (334) 844-9999 (clardch@auburn.edu)