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Alumni, Friends, and Floaters

If you ever took Ort’s kayaking class, Lewis and Clark class, rafted with the group, or just think it would be fun, we would love for you to join us on one of our trips. All are welcome—our group includes people of all ages, families, children, couples, and singles. Nearly fifty alumni, family, and friends participate in the Float Trips.

History

The University of La Verne Alumni Float Trips are a tradition established by legendary and beloved coach Roland “Ort” Ortmayer, who passed away in 2008 at the age of 91. 2009 marked the 30th year of this unique tradition.

Since the 1950s, well over a thousand alumni have participated in Ort’s Easter trips, kayaking classes, Lewis and Clark summer class, or the summer float trips. For the last 30 years, the group has spent two weeks each July floating different rivers in Idaho and Montana. Several University of La Verne alumni families include three generations of participants on the trips!

Ortmayer, who was appointed head football and baseball coach in 1948 at what was then La Verne College, grew to become an iconic figure at the University of La Verne by the time he retired in 1991. Yet for generations of University of La Verne students it was Ort’s extraordinary personality, gentle ways, and compassionate ideals that made him so engaging. Many still refer to Ortmayer as the most influential person in their lives.

While he was known primarily for his coaching career, his influence extended to all facets of his student’s and alumni’s lives. The tradition of the alumni float trips evolved out of a summer course he taught for many years on the travels of Lewis and Clark in Montana. Along with his wife Cornelia (Corni), he led the summer float trips for alumni, their families, and friends, up through 1995, a year before Corni’s death. The year of their 50th wedding anniversary, which they celebrated on the trip, over 150 alumni participated.

The float trips are now led by University of La Verne graduate Rugere De Partee ’74, a recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award for Service to Alma Mater, and Mike Riggs ’85. De Partee assisted Ort in leading every alumni float trip up through 1995. Since 1996, De Partee has given primary leadership to the group.