The Donna Swaim International Award for Religious Studies


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In her 50 years as an educator at the University of Arizona, Donna Swaim touched thousands of students’ lives and brought a commitment to study abroad that the College of Humanities continues today.

Dr. Swaim led her first group of students on an international journey 40 years ago before there was any formal study abroad office at the university. As profiled in the video below, from that initial trip through England and France in 1979, Dr. Swaim was passionate about enabling students to enjoy enriching travel experiences all across the globe. 

Hundreds of students followed Dr. Swaim on a total of 24 trips abroad, visiting a wide array of countries including Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Cambodia, the Czech Republic, Egypt, England, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Georgia, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland & the Faroe Islands, Italy, Latvia, Lesotho, Lithuania, Mali, Moldova, Morocco, Nepal, Nicaragua, Norway, Romania, Russia, Senegal, Slovakia, South Africa, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey, and Zimbabwe.

We honor her as the namesake of The Donna Swaim International Award For Religious Studies, which helps students study the religions of the world in the contexts of their own cultures through study abroad opportunities. This award will ensure that the legacy of rewarding international experiences created by Donna Swaim will continue in perpetuity.

"The value of study abroad is that you’re seeing for yourself that the things in the book actually exist."
- Donna Swaim


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