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Alumni Success Story

Alumna Betsy Thomason Says “Just Breathe Out”

By EmilyAnn Walrath

Besty Thomason

Betsy Thomason, RRT, CAS/BA ’66, and American University Golden Eagle inductee, has been driven by one passion: her love for the outdoors. “AU fostered out-of-the-box thinking and helped me develop a wondering, questioning mind,” Betsy says. She recalls that while attending the College of Arts and Sciences, majoring in elementary education, she created a social studies lesson plan focusing on people living in Viet Nam. When some classmates objected to learning about the very people the US was bombing, Betsy received full support from her professor. 


After graduating from AU, Betsy fulfilled a life-long dream—learning to paddle a canoe in white water. Over the years, her wilderness activities influenced her life, leading her from teaching in the classroom to teaching in the wilderness and then becoming a breathing trainer. The metaphor of a white-water stream, with rapids and eddies, helps Betsy feel comfortable with life’s uncertainties. “I learned to be most secure with insecurity, which has been the guiding principle in my life,” she says. When the baby boom of the 1960s evaporated, and teaching jobs as well, she reengineered her life.

In 1992, Betsy’s love of learning led her to Bergen Community College in Paramus, N.J. for an associate’s degree in respiratory therapy. Now, 50 years after graduating from AU, Betsy has published JUST BREATHE OUT—Using Your Breathe to Create a New, Healthier You, a how-to-breathe guidebook that revolutionizes the definition of breathing. JUST BREATHE OUT helps the reader learn and use the active, spine-stretching outbreath for relaxation, strength, and pain and stress management. She says, “AU’s fostering of creative thinking has led me on the path of life-long learning, starting with canoeing. My life continues to unfold. I’m excited to be inducted as a Golden Eagle at the 2016 All-American Weekend.”