Marquette University Alumni Association Alumni National Awards Weekend
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james C. Himmes, ENg '68

James HimmesJim Himmes is the founder and past executive director of Meet The Wilderness, an adventure education program that introduces young people to the beauty of God’s creation — and the beauty of themselves and others around them — in the spectacular Colorado Rocky Mountains. Meet The Wilderness offers physical, mental and spiritual activities that help young people on the journey to responsible adulthood, using backpacking, rock climbing and challenge courses as mediums for personal growth.

The nationally recognized program works primarily with underprivileged and at-risk youth; it has grown to helping over 2,000 young people from large U.S. cities and the Central Rocky Mountain area each year.

“In the early days of my career,” says Jim, “my formula for success was ‘follow your heart and figure out how to make a living at the activities you most enjoy.” In Jim’s case, this meant skiing, backpacking and mountaineering.

In 1990, Jim was honored with the Colorado Marquette Alumni Community Service Award. Meet The Wilderness has received a number of awards in its 32-year history, including an Award for Excellence from the El Pomar Foundation in Colorado Springs.

Jim retired from Meet The Wilderness in 2005 but remains active in some aspects of the program. He volunteers his time for a number of other nonprofit organizations, including a literacy program and Habitat for Humanity.

“My life has been guided by three tenets,” says Jim, “to love, to serve, and to do those things in a community setting.” He credits Marquette for teaching him to reach his goals and the Jesuits for teaching him the joys of exploration.

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