Tom & Liz Costley


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We met at Williams in the ‘80s and soon discovered a mutual love of education and travel—of shared exploration, shared challenge and shared purpose. 

After graduation, Liz headed abroad to teach in Athens, Greece. The combination of working with students and exploring a beautiful place was an ideal first job. The sense of community she created in her classroom was powerful; the opportunity to learn about Greece and its islands was exciting. She was hooked.

Meanwhile, I thought it might be fun to bike across the country. Problem was, I’d never been on a bike trip. Undaunted, I talked a friend into joining me, we bought bikes, and I read a book about bike touring. Some 3,000 miles later we reached the Pacific—a point-to-point journey with purpose, teamwork and friendship. I was hooked.

When we started Overland in 1984, we sought to create experiences for kids that mirrored the adventures, challenges and accomplishments we’d found abroad and on the cross-country bike trip: experiences that were fun, where new friendships could grow, where natural beauty was embraced, where there were real and varied challenges, and where, at the end, students would have achieved something of importance to them.

When you’re 25 and starting something, you make it up as you go, you try things out, you hope for the best. When you’re closing in on 60, and you’ve been at it for over 30 years—as we have with Overland—you make improvements every year and you hope how much you care comes across in everything you do.

And caring about Overland means a lot of things to us—but most of all, it means staying focused on creating experiences for our students that will help them grow into the kinds of people we—as their parents—hope they’ll become: thoughtful and considerate, kind and eager, enthusiastic and adventurous.

How do we create these experiences? By offering carefully crafted programs with clearly defined goals, led by a pair of dynamic, charismatic leaders. At 25 we had an intuitive sense of the importance of these things, at 58—33 years and over 22,000 students later—we know this is what makes us Overland.