Dr. Celeste M. Schenck assumed office as the 12th president of The American University of Paris on October 15, 2008. She is the second woman to assume leadership of the University, and the first president to have risen from the University’s professorial ranks.

In her 27 years at AUP, Dr. Schenck has served as Professor of Comparative Literature, Associate Dean for Curriculum Development, Vice President for Academic Innovation, Vice President for Development and Grant Planning, Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dean of the University, and Provost.

As Chief Academic Officer of AUP, Dr. Schenck focused on curriculum development – leading a major review of general education, founding the first master's programs and fostering those that were subsequently developed – and accreditation. She also attended to the integration and development of technology and teaching at AUP, creating the first Academic Resource Center with all of its attendant activities. In tandem with each project, she raised substantial foundation funding for academic programs, technology and infrastructure. As President, she has been responsible for creating the University’s professional leadership team; developing a “residential life” program for incoming students; leading two strategic planning processes; developing innovative research centers; launching a five-year campus redevelopment plan, which is nearing its completion with the opening of the Quai d'Orsay Learning Commons; and launching AUP’s first capital campaign for €26 million, AUP Ascending.

A leader in global higher education, Dr. Schenck founded AMICAL in 2004, a consortium of American universities across Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa, holding in common the mission of sharing resources, technologies, curricular projects and faculty and student exchanges across 27 institutions, 21 countries and 19 languages. She has also served as president of AAICU, the Association of American International Colleges and Universities, a presidents' organization spanning American-style universities across the world. In 2018, she joined the G20, a group of visionary liberal arts college presidents in the United States.

Prior to coming to France, Dr. Schenck was an Associate Professor with tenure at Barnard College, where she held the Ann Whitney Olin Junior Chair for excellence in scholarship and teaching. While at Barnard, Schenck received several prestigious awards for her work in feminist literary studies and founded two important series, the Barnard New Women Poets Series, an annual poetry prize with public readings, and Reading Women Writing, an imprimatur of Cornell University Press in international feminist criticism. She is the author of four books, two on the literary subjects of the pastoral and women’s autobiography, and two with colleague Susan Perry on women, culture and development practices. She regularly writes and speaks on issues of global higher education and women’s leadership.

Dr. Schenck received her BA summa cum laude from Princeton University and her PhD from Brown University.