10 Questions for Alison Royle


Born at “the old” Scripps Memorial Hospital on Prospect Street in La Jolla, Alison Adams Royle has lived most of her life near the shores of La Jolla, Del Mar and Solana Beach. She, her mother, and her two sisters were all students at The Bishop’s School.

After Bishop’s, she attended Middlebury College and the University of California at Berkeley, where she earned her degree in Latin American Studies.

Perhaps it was her background in Latin America that led her to the adventures in her life. As the assistant to her dentist husband, Alison was part of dental missions to the Amazon and later Baja California with the “Flying Samaritans.”

Forty years later, she began a new chapter in her life: working three months a year in Namibia, Africa, and running a California nonprofit organization called Mission Namibia.

What brought you to Del Mar?

In 1961, one week after both graduation from college and our wedding, we moved into an oceanfront apartment on Stratford Court for $117 per month. I remember watching the whales cavorting from our living room window. Our dental office was a tiny adobe-like building behind what is now The Boardwalk in Solana Beach. My husband, “Doc” Royle, liked to think of it as a stagecoach stop: informal, friendly, dealing out as little pain as possible.

What makes Del Mar special to you?

Del Mar has always made me feel comfortable. It’s just the right size. You can still park at the post office, go to Bully’s for a burger, worship at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, and play in the surf at the beach that seems exactly as it was 50 years ago, although now there are dogs at the north end instead of race horses splashing through the waves.

If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in Del Mar?

I would build a monorail above the median of Interstate 5 to San Diego so that thousands of people could ride instead of drive.

Who or what inspires you?

Anyone serious about solving poverty and hunger in the world - in particular, professor Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

Barack and Michelle Obama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Rosamond Larmour Loomis (my headmistress at The Bishop’s School), Carolyn Revelle (my life time friend), Al Gore and Bishop Ronald Shepherd from Victoria, B.C. (my great friend and mentor).

What are you currently reading?

“Three Cups of Tea” by Greg Mortenson and David Relin.

What is your most prized possession?

My health, so that I can continue to go to Africa each year to work with the children and frolic with the crocs and the elephants.

What do you do for fun?

Lots of things: swimming, birding, reading, praying, working on my Mac and designing our missionnamibia.org Web site.

Describe your greatest accomplishment.

By far, my greatest accomplishment is Mission Namibia. We are a nonprofit organization, based here in Del Mar, connecting people from all over the world in support of women and children who have been impacted by HIV/AIDS, malaria, poverty and hunger. It is very exciting and has completely changed my life. I have high hopes that it will change many other lives as well.

What is your motto or philosophy of life?

Simplicity, sincerity, serenity. These three words, the motto of The Bishop’s School, have had a tremendous influence on my life. Throw in compassion and practicality and you pretty well know what makes me tick.