Dr. John Tymitz
Co-founder – Institute for Shipboard Education
Born and raised in Chicago, John Tymitz’s earliest travels were to Cubs games. “My mom would give me the money to go get on the two buses to get to Wrigley Field,” he recalls. Today, he is the CEO Emeritus of Semester at Sea, a program he co-founded and led from 1983 to 2007. He has visited almost 100 countries and voyaged around the world sixteen times.
John is a key figure in the origin story of Global Nomads. One of Global Nomads four founders, Chris Plutte, completed the Semester at Sea program in college, which sparked the idea to facilitate digital cultural exchange for high school students—to get them in touch with the world even younger. Chris engaged John from the start, and John has since served on the Global Nomads Board of Directors and, for a time, as Board Chair.
His first experience learning the world by ship came through an opportunity his wife pursued on their behalf. He was a doctoral student at Oklahoma State University when the couple earned faculty positions on World Campus Afloat, based out of Chapman College in California—they brought their young children along. When that program ended in 1975, John co-founded the Institute for Shipboard Education, which administers the Semester at Sea program.
“College students need to get out and see what in the world is going on,” he says. “There’s nothing better than sitting with someone your own age in South Africa or India or Japan, and listening and asking questions as to what’s life like in these countries.” He applauds Global Nomads for having systems in place for students to continue their cultural exploration in a global pandemic.
John’s impact beyond Global Nomads is immense, and this organization is fortunate to have benefitted from his expertise and enthusiastic presence since day one.