History of AUP

55 Years Strong

For 55 years our mission has been to provide students from all over the globe with a life-changing university experience that crosses disciplines, cultures, and borders, enabling them to successfully achieve their professional goals wherever they choose to go. The American University of Paris, at the juncture of American educational values and a global orientation to teaching and learning, has not wavered from the original premise of its founding:  to help you question your comfort zone, step past accepted knowledge, meet people from all over the globe and meet your academic and professional expectations for yourself. We believe that only when you’re at home in the world will you be able to forge your place in it.

When Lloyd DeLamater, a 40-year-old former US State Department official, decided in 1962 to found an American college in Paris, his idea was far ahead of its time. Indeed, whether by virtue of the decidedly international bent of his life—born in New York, he was a war veteran, held degrees from multiple international institutions, married a French woman, and lived all across Europe in his roles as a US Foreign Service and NATO officer—or his extensive observations of post-war Europe, DeLamater was quick to grasp that the world could not survive as a disparate mix of isolated countries and peoples with little connection amongst them. He sought to “bridge the gap of narrow nationalisms,” creating an institution that would educate those ready to explore a world far beyond their birthplace.

This new project began in a series of rented rooms in the basement of the American Church of Paris with an entering class of 100 students. While offering courses that would have been found at many other US universities, the American College of Paris, or ACP as it was then known, was moved by a very different spirit. Describing this first class, DeLamater praised, not only its academic performance, but also how each student had studied a foreign language, with many achieving fluency and rapidly adapting to French culture. At a time when America was busy defining American identity, DeLamater was promoting a learning model in which students could find their own individual identities and communities, while engaging with an international and cosmopolitan city. With the incorporation of the American College of Paris in 1962, DeLamater succeeded in establishing a place where students could push past the borders of their home countries and launch themselves into an increasingly interdependent world.