Announcing AUP's 13th President

The American University of Paris has found its 13th President. Following a rigorous international search, Professor Sonya Stephens was appointed by the Board of Trustees and will assume the presidency as of September 1, 2022, following the retirement of outgoing President Celeste M. Schenck at the end of AUP’s 60th anniversary year.

Professor Stephens previously served as President of Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts. She holds a doctorate in French from the University of Cambridge, a master’s degree in French studies from the Université de Montréal and a bachelor’s in modern and medieval languages from the University of Cambridge. Her research into 19th century French literature and its relation to visual culture has received international acclaim, and she is the author of Baudelaire’s Prose Poems: The Practice and Politics of Irony.

I am deeply honored by this opportunity to serve as the next president of The American University of Paris, and I could not be more pleased, nor more excited, to be joining this vibrant global community. The impact of a liberal arts education is uniquely powerful and generative, especially one so intentionally and explicitly international in its context, focus and perspectives, and so contemporary in its expression.

Sonya Stephens President of The American University of Paris

A lifelong Francophile with a passion for the liberal arts, Stephens is also a fluent French speaker. Her exceptional track record of academic leadership and renowned scholarship has been evident all along her career path. Her previous roles include Chair of the Department of French and Italian and Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education at Indiana University Bloomington and Chair of the Department of French at Royal Holloway, University of London.

“As we all welcome Professor Stephens to AUP, the Board of Trustees eagerly anticipates an exciting and progressive future working with our 13th President to lead AUP further in its mission and to see AUP recognized as Europe’s premier university in American liberal arts education,” said Doris Daughney, Chair of AUP’s Board of Trustees, in a letter to the AUP community introducing the new President.

Outgoing President Celeste M. Schenck will celebrate the culmination of her 13th academic year at the head of AUP with a 60th Anniversary Gala on May 21, before passing leadership of the University to Professor Stephens at the start of the 2022–23 academic year. “I look forward to our work together and, building upon the exceptional legacy of Celeste Schenck, to furthering AUP’s critically important mission,” said Stephens.

13 Questions with the
13th President