A World Perspective

Posted Sep 16, 2020

From the icy shores of Antarctica to the sandy beaches of the Palau Islands in the Pacific, Betsy Salt’s intrepid travels have taken her to the far reaches of the world and allowed her to enjoy its natural wonders and myriad cultures.

In all, Salt has visited 80 countries during a life-long adventure that began her freshman year in college and continued throughout her long tenure as a cataloger and metadata librarian at Otterbein’s Courtright Memorial Library. She wants to help Otterbein students have the same kind of life-changing experiences that she is firmly convinced come with traveling and studying abroad.

With that in mind, Salt established the Elizabeth A. Salt Travel Endowed Scholarship Fund at Otterbein. Her generosity is providing students who may not be able to afford international travel with the opportunity to benefit from global experiential learning.

Her significant gift supported the University’s $50 million “Where We STAND Matters” campaign and fit nicely with one of its overarching priorities — Building a Model Community.

“Studying abroad was one of the most eye-opening things I did in college,” Salt says, “and I want to give Otterbein students the opportunity to do that, too, even if they lack the financial means.”

Salt fondly recalls the travel seminar she participated in during her first year at Western College, a liberal arts school that’s now part of Miami University in Oxford, OH. The trip took her to Peru, Brazil, Colombia and Chile, exposing her to the people and natural beauty of these diverse South American countries.

“It got me interested in other cultures and travel,” she says. “I’ve had that interest ever since then.”

It was the start of a travel odyssey that has taken her to every continent. It was capped by an amazing trip she took earlier this year when she was part of a group that traveled the world over the course of a month with National Geographic Expeditions.

Among the many stops were Oman in the Middle East; the Himalayan countries of Nepal and Bhutan; Laos in Southeast Asia; the aforementioned Palau Islands; the Maldives Islands in the Indian Ocean; the African countries of Botswana and Rwanda; and, at the end of the trip, Barcelona, Spain.

“It was my dream trip — a trip of a lifetime,” Salt says.

Salt’s many achievements at Otterbein included being a key member of teams that helped the library transition to an automated cataloging system and other technological evolutions, said Lois Szudy, the University’s library director emerita.

“A liberal arts education gives students the broad-based background to pursue whatever career path they choose to follow,” she says. “Otterbein also remains academically challenging for students and has an excellent reputation for integrity and student success.”