In 1935 the East Carolina Teachers College faculty, at the behest of President Meadows, initiated the Educational Field Trips Committee to coordinate plans for a travel course. The committee obtained the services of Paul T. Ricks, an operator of a local bus route, as tour director. The tours provided three hours of credit in geography, American literature, and hsitory, as well as satisfying requirements for college electives or as renewal credits for teacher certification.
Three separate tours were operated the first summer and the initial tour included more than a hundred students. The follow years the tour schedule was expanded to include trips through the Southwest and Mexico as well as one to Florida, which included a side cruise to Cuba. Ricks Tours became a mainstay of ECTC's summer program until wartime travel restrictions brought them to an end in 1941.