After embarking from Iquitos, Peru, La Amatista wends its way through rain forests along the Amazon River, providing voyagers with the opportunity to see wildlife and other natural attractions.
In the misty, early morning hours, La Amatista makes its way down the swift, silt-brown waters of the Amazon River. The vessel set off the night before from the Peruvian frontier town of Iquitos with two dozen American and European adventurers aboard. Their mission: to explore the lush Amazon rain forest and its indigenous peoples, hidden lakes and rivers, and spectacular wildlife.

Among La Amatista’s passengers is Irwin Stone ’41, of Watertown, New York, who rises early this morning before making his way to the vessel’s observation deck to marvel at the vastness of the Amazon and contemplate the journey ahead.

Along the eastern riverbank, which looms high above the water’s edge, Stone studies a tier of earthen steps gouged into the soil by local villagers, enabling them to reach the river far below. To the west he observes massive tree trunks bearing crest marks many yards above the river that, like the earthen stairs, serve as testament to the powerful grip the dry season has had on the Amazon. The guides say the rainy season will soon arrive, causing torrential streams and estuaries to flood the Amazon to the brink. Stone can hardly imagine what the power of this river must be like in full flow.

He is traveling with his wife, Wilfreda ’41, G’44, as part of the Syracuse University Alumni Association trip "Amazon: The Greatest Voyage in Natural History." In the days that follow, the Stones and their fellow alumni travelers tour local villages and markets, and board 30-foot flat-bottom skiffs that carry them along waterways deep into the Amazon jungle to areas as yet untouched by loggers’ saws and poachers’ snares. In the course of their journey they see howler, capuchin, and squirrel monkeys; freshwater dolphins; three-toed sloths; and an endless array of tropical birds. "I couldn’t get over how wild and untouched it all was," Stone says.

Along with exploring the jungle depths of the Peruvian Amazon, alumni travel to the mountain heights of Machu Picchu, the Inca stronghold concealed from the world for more than four centuries by impenetrable mountain peaks. Here the Stones walk among ancient terraced courtyards and religious chambers where the Incas once paid homage to their sun god. "The heights were so awesome and the air so thin and clear, it made your head swim," Stone recalls. "A trip like this changes you. And at my age, that’s saying something."


It’s been a few years since you earned your M.B.A., and there’s no denying that plenty of changes have since taken place in the business world. You’ve done your best to keep pace with these changes, but worry you’re lagging behind in some areas. If only there were a comprehensive way to brush up on what you learned during your M.B.A. years.

There is.
Through the SU School of Management’s M.B.A. Upgrade Program, business professionals can renew their graduate management education and enhance their executive-level knowledge. AT&T, Carrier, Chase Manhattan, IBM, Pfizer, Sprint, and many other corporations have sent some of their top executives through the program. And according to Dennis Gillen, associate dean of Executive Education in the School of Management and designer of the program, its popularity shows no signs of abating. "Developing a postgraduate M.B.A. refresher seemed rudimentary," Gillen says. "In other professions you go back and get training to keep up. Our M.B.A. upgrade offers the same service to business professionals. In this way we become partners in lifelong learning."

Gillen adds that the program is not limited to those with M.B.A. degrees. "We encourage participants with senior executive experience to consider the upgrade as well," he says.


During the course of the program, which typically lasts four days, participants are involved in a series of learning modules taught by SU faculty and chosen based on participants’ needs and interests. Sample modules include Technology Convergence and Business on the Internet, Marketing and the Internet, Unleashing Innovation and Creativity in Project Teams, and Opportunities for U.S. Businesses in the World Economy. The program is offered at such U.S. sites as the Adirondacks and New York City, and internationally in Limerick, Ireland.

"This is a wonderful lifelong learning opportunity for seasoned professionals to pause, learn, grow, challenge, and be challenged," says program participant Ann Donahue G’83, director for executive education at American University Kogod School of Business.

"The program exceeded my highest expectations," says Mary Ann Longobardo G’77, a financial services manager for Coca-Cola USA. "The subject matter was relevant and was presented in a highly professional manner."

For more information on the M.B.A. Upgrade Program, phone Dennis Gillen at 315-443-1387, or e-mail

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