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Roy Named NOLS Chairman of the Board of Trustees

Peter Roy is chair of the NOLS board of trustees and serves on the volunteer steering committee of the NOLS International Base Camp Initiative.

Peter Roy will never forget the first day of his NOLS course. It was 1973, and his grandmother had just given him a NOLS Wind River Wilderness course as a high school graduation present. Roy hitchhiked from New Orleans to the old lumberyard NOLS was using at the time to outfit students in Lander, Wyoming.

There, he met his NOLS Instructor, Cody Paulson, who took one look at Roy's stiff new hiking boots and told him to fill the boots up with water, lace them on, and keep them on his feet for 24 hours. "I slept in those boots that night at the Noble Hotel," remembers Roy. "That next day was the hardest day of my life," he says.

After swatting at bugs all morning on the way to the trailhead, Roy looked at his empty bottle of bug spray and asked Paulson how to get more. Paulson took one look at the lanky 17-year-old and said, "That bug spray's gonna have to last you the next 30 days."

And so began Roy's great NOLS adventure—a journey that he says "ended up changing the trajectory of my life." Roy's ties to NOLS culminated this summer in his selection as chairman of the school's board of trustees. He has served on the NOLS board of trustees since 1999.

Roy has come along way since that first day in the NOLS lumberyard. Shortly after his NOLS course, he began his freshman year at Arizona's Prescott College, where he says he quickly put into practice the leadership skills he'd learned in the mountains. "I ended up almost immediately in a leadership position," Roy remembers of his first week at school. "And I ended up in leadership positions for the rest of my life. A lot of the skills I learn on my NOLS course ended up being relevant to what I did the rest of my life. NOLS was, in many ways, my university."

Roy attended Prescott College for a year before dropping out to work in a natural and organic food store in his hometown of New Orleans, La. By 1978, he was president of Whole Food Company and it had become one of the largest-volume natural product stores in the industry. In 1984, Roy founded and became president of the Natural Foods Network, an industry trade association that brought together the entrepreneurs of the natural foods business. This association led to the eventual merger of Whole Foods Market, Bread and Circus, Mrs. Gooch's, Wellspring Grocery, Bread of Life, Fresh Fields and Whole Food Company. He was president of Whole Foods Market from 1993 until he left the company at the end of 1998. By that time, Whole Foods Market had opened 100 stores in 20 states and was doing over $1 billion a year in sales.

Roy's relationship with NOLS took a different turn in 1998, when his youngest daughter attended a NOLS Semester in East Africa. "It was a phenomenal experience for her but also on a different level an incredibly rewarding and gratifying experience for us as parents. There was a very significant turn around in terms of her attitude and what she felt was possible in her life."

At that point, says Roy, "I would have said yes to virtually anything NOLS asked me to do."

Whatever the tasks ahead, Roy says he's excited to be at the helm of the NOLS board. "I consider it an honor and a privilege to lead the NOLS board of trustees. It's something I take very seriously. NOLS made a tremendous difference in my life and my family's life and I'm certainly willing and grateful to give back to the school in this way."

Other New Faces on the NOLS Board of Trustees:

Judy Heisley Bishop
Bishop took a 25 and over course in Kenya in 1993 and has stayed active with the school ever since. She is the director of the Heisley Family Foundation and works at Heico Acquisitions on special projects. Bishop was the national marketing manager for Nutri/System LP from 1992 to 1996. From 1989 to 1992, she was the director of public affairs and marketing at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Bishop received a bachelor's degree from Lake Forest College in 1988 and an master's in arts administration from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1999. She currently serves on the Board of Regents for Georgetown University. She lives in Washington, D.C..

Fred J. Kleisner
In 1992, Kleisner graduated from the first of two NOLS courses, a 25 and over Wind River Wilderness course and a 25 and over Prince William Sound Sea Kayaking course in Alaska. His instructors noted that Fred was "born in a kayak". Kleisner served on the NOLS board of trustees from 1996 to 2002, and was re-elected to serve on the board in June 2003. Kleisner is the chairman and chief executive officer of the Dallas-based Wyndham International, Inc. He joined Wyndham in 1999 as president and chief operating officer, was named CEO in April 2000 and became chairman of the board of directors in October of that year. Throughout his professional life, Kleisner has assumed an active role in the various communities where he has lived, both in professional and civic pursuits. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan awarded Kleisner with the nation's top honor for directing the best summer jobs program in the United States when he was chairman of the Summer Jobs of Youth Program in the District of Columbia.

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