University of Chicago Women's Board

A full year before President Nixon “opened” China to the United States, members of the still relatively new University of Chicago Women’s Board were planning their own delegation to the nation during the tenure of University of Chicago President Edward H. Levi in 1971.

The voyage abroad was not the first for the burgeoning social action organization, with previous cultural exchange travels to Egypt and the Middle East already under their belt, but this particular trip carried special significance, featuring visits with Chinese scholars, dignitaries, and political leaders. Per University records, the trip was the first group affiliated with any university from the United States to enter China since at least 1949, almost a quarter century prior.

Participants (referred to as “the China Trippers” in several internal documents) included Mr. and Mrs. James Alsdorf; Mr. and Mrs. Philip D. Block, Jr.; Mr. and Mrs. Eugene A. Davidson; Mr. and Mrs. Edison Dick; Mr. Earle Ludgin; Mrs. Frank D. Mayer; Mr. and Mrs. George A. Ranney, then-chair of the UCWB; Mrs. Lyle M. Spencer; and Mrs. J. Harris Ward, founder of the UCWB in 1960.

Let us know about your own favorite memories throughout the UCWB’s 60 years of intellectual engagement, financial investment, and building community!