Taking a Different Route

Thomas Winter (Architecture ’73) reflects on the 50th anniversary of his experience at the Danish Institute for Study Abroad in Copenhagen through the first class of CSU international programs.

A black and white image of group of ten people standing in winter coats

Cal Poly’s study abroad students with Jørgen Hansen in 1969. Back row: Doug Alair (Architecture ’72), Steve Peterson (Architecture ’73), and Setsuo (a study abroad student from Japan). Front row: Jim Krokee (Architecture ’72), Jørgen Hansen, Dave Moran, Jimmy Jackson (Architecture ’72, M.S. Architecture ’73), Joan Bernard (Architecture ’72), John Petrucelli (Architecture ’72), Sue Jackson (Child Development ’72). Photo by Tom Winter.


In June of 1970, the nine architecture students (and Sue Jackson, also a Cal Poly student) completed their year with professor and architect Jørgen Hansen. Many of the participants have continued their friendship with Professor Hansen over the 50 years by visiting Denmark and hosting him here in the U.S.

Now in his 80s, he and his wife Kirsten are spending their time with sons Andreas and Christian and their grandchildren. They are often at their retreat, a historic farm house in Sweden, where the DIS group spent a few days in the winter of 1970.

Jørgen told me recently that the first years were special because all of us, students and teachers shared the same learning experience, “It was all new to all of us, we had to learn from each other.”

Jørgen traveled across the United States in the 1960s, working for some notable architects, eventually landing in the office of Charles Moore in California. His experience guided his approach to educating us; to be observant of our environment and learn from what see as well as what you are given or seek out.

“Take a different route when you have to go to a familiar place, just to see something new,” Jørgen said.

That’s advice to that can be used for every aspect of life, whether pursuing a path to a physical location or an intellectual one.

Enjoy more news, accomplishments and reflections from Cal Poly alumni in this issue’s Alumni Updates section.