Contact: Stacie Fasola (617) 457-5418
Despina Gakopoulos (617) 457-5502


BOSTON (September 15, 2015) – Not-for-profit Road Scholar, the nation’s largest educational travel institution for adults, is thrilled to announce the winner of its Friendship Story contest – Pat Timpanaro of Kingwood, Texas. More than one hundred Road Scholars shared stories that highlighted friendships and relationships that were made or strengthened on the organization’s iconic learning adventures. Twelve finalists were selected, with thousands of votes cast throughout the year over multiple social media outlets. Pat was awarded a $5,000 Road Scholar gift certificate, which she has generously chosen to share with the tennis buddies she met on her program several years ago.

Pat’s story was particularly compelling. Her son needed a kidney transplant and her daughter-in-law’s job required out-of-town travel. Pat stepped up and acted as the nanny for their four children. She signed up to attend a Road Scholar learning adventure at Indian Wells to take a much-needed break, and met six women with whom she bonded and whose friendship helped her through a very difficult time. She told the story of meeting these wonderful new friends in her Friendship Stories contest submission.

While her son did receive a successful kidney transplant, he had another health scare this summer while Pat was on an intergenerational Road Scholar program with two of her six grandchildren. While her daughter-in-law cared for the children, Pat stayed with her son in the hospital, acting as his advocate with the various teams of doctors. She didn’t immediately call her Road Scholar tennis buddies after her son became ill. However when she did, she was moved by their concern and compassion.

“The whole idea of the Friendship Story contest was to recognize friendship and how quickly we can connect with others while experiencing a Road Scholar program,” said Pat. “Once I told my friends what was going on with my son, they couldn’t do enough to help. I hadn’t seen them in over four years, but their response just speaks volumes for the kinds of friendships that can be formed over a short period of time. This contest was a way of recognizing and confirming how friendships can build and last.”

Pat shared her award with her tennis buddies who have already signed up for a program in Hilton Head in November. Pat won’t be joining them this time; she plans to use her award to take two of her grandchildren on their first Road scholar program this summer.

“All 12 of the finalists for the Friendship Stories contest told joyful stories of friendship, love and personal growth,” said James Moses, President and CEO of Road Scholar. “Pat’s dedication and sacrifice was not only an inspiration to the hundreds of individuals who were moved by her experience, it is an inspiration for the Road Scholar staff who read thousands of incredible stories every year. We honor her as a Road Scholar, mom, mother-in-law, grandmother and friend.”

About Road Scholar

Road Scholar is the nation’s largest educational travel organization for adults. The not-for-profit offers 5,500 extraordinary educational adventures in 150 countries and 50 states for individuals dedicated to lifelong learning. Road Scholars are immersed in a variety of experiential learning activities, enlisting world-renowned faculty and local experts who offer insider access not available to most individuals. Dedicated to making educational travel available to everyone, Road Scholar offers financial assistance for those who otherwise could not participate in its programs.

Road Scholar educational adventures are created by Elderhostel, the not-for-profit world leader in lifelong learning since 1975. To learn more, please visit our website at