Greg Lais '78
While a senior at St. John's, Greg Lais founded Wilderness Inquiry, the oldest and most extensive outdoor education and travel program in the world for people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities. Since 1978, Wilderness Inquiry has served more than 175,000 people on wilderness trips throughout the world, including thousands of people with disabilities such as quadriplegia, Muscular Dystrophy, Multiple Sclerosis or traumatic brain injury.www.wildernessinquiry.org
Greg and fellow SJU Alum Paul Schurke pioneered outdoor education programs and training curriculum that use the wilderness to facilitate greater acceptance of human diversity. Greg Lais has also created adaptive outdoor recreation equipment, such as one-armed paddles, significantly increasing mobility for persons with disabilities. He has personally guided hundreds of Wilderness Inquiry trips integrating people of all abilities, including those with physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities. Trips have included kayaking in Costa Rica, British Columbia and Lake Superior, horse pack trips in the Colorado Rockies, and canoeing in the Boundary Waters, the Everglades, Australia, Russia, Alaska and throughout Canada.
Author of numerous articles, books and reports, Mr. Lais is the primary author of two Congressional studies regarding access to Wilderness and Federal recreational lands. He has received numerous awards for his work, including the National Therapeutic Recreation Society Organization of the Year, SJU Alumni Achievement Award, the Minnesota State Council on Disability Distinguished Service Award, and the Jim Renne Leadership Award from the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education.
Born in St. Paul, Greg Lais received his BA in Psychology from St. John's and his MBA from the University of Minnesota's Carlson School. He and his wife Patti live in Minneapolis and are the parents of Roseanne and Martin Lais. In addition to Wilderness Inquiry, Mr. Lais currently serves on the boards of Risen Christ School and the Ann Bancroft Foundation.