Coast To Cuse: An alum's cross-country journey

SU grad Josh Keefe biked across the country, recruiting potential law students along the way.

One night at the end of the summer, 2014 graduate of the Syracuse University College of Law and the Maxwell School Josh Keefe had the rare experience of camping out underneath an airplane touch-and-go landing. Keefe was camping out near an airstrip in a small town that he didn’t think would get much air traffic late at night. He was, evidently, wrong.

Photo: Irfan Uraizee
When Keefe rode into Syracuse, the College of Law sponsored a reception to celebrate the end of his trip.

The story of Keefe’s experience at the airport is extraordinary in and of itself, but the reason that Keefe was camping out at the airstrip is even more extraordinary.  On Sept. 24, Keefe rode into Syracuse on a bike that he had mounted in Burlington, Washington on Aug. 15 and then proceeded to ride across the country for 3500 miles. Along the way, he did recruiting for the College of Law and is now travelling around the country through other forms of transportation to continue recruitment.

“The trip ended up becoming sort of a combination of my own journey, but also meeting some prospective students, some alumni along the way too, so it sort of had a Syracuse focus,” Keefe said.

When Keefe rode into Syracuse, the College of Law sponsored a reception to celebrate the end of his trip. It offered refreshments and those in attendance cheered for Keefe at the finish with a College of Law banner and pom-poms.  They even rolled a ribbon across the road for him to ride through to finish the trip.

“It was really neat to celebrate the journey with all of friends and colleagues,” Keefe said.

Keefe recounted stories of many people who helped him along on the trip and said one of his favorite parts was seeing how kind complete strangers could be.

“There were a lot of instances when strangers helped me in a really meaningful way,” Keefe said. “Its always amazing what lengths people would go to to help a guy that didn’t know, who was usually dirty on a bike.”

He also talked about how much he enjoyed the scenery on the trip.  He added that his least favorite part was navigating dangerous terrain.

He said that the bike trip began as a personal endeavor.  After his undergraduate study at the University of Toronto, Keefe hiked the Pacific Crest Trail from Canada to Mexico. With this trip, he wanted to travel across the country in the perpendicular direction.

“After graduating from Syracuse, you sort of have this feeling you can do anything.  The bike trip was kind of my own way of doing that, ” Keefe said.

When he heard that the College of Law was looking for help with recruiting, he decided to combine the two goals and, in the process, do something for the school that helped him achieve his own goal.

“My education helped sort of cultivate and reaffirm that idea that anything is possible and this bike trip was a way of executing on that,” Keefe said. “I thought that helping talk to students who were interested and tell them about my experience at Syracuse was a way for me to give back.”

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