Founding Week 2024

Founding History

Celebrating AUP's Past and Present

Hosted on the anniversary of the signing of the original charter of the American College in Paris, Founding Week is a seven-day celebration both on campus and around the world that honors everyone who has helped make The American University of Paris what it is today. This year, it runs from March 25 to 31. 

Founding Week is a chance for AUP community members to come together as global explorers, wherever they are in the world, to recognize just how special it is to belong to a unique international organization such as AUP. It is an annual celebration of both the people who established our extraordinary global community, and those who continue to strengthen it today. Community members attend celebrations across the world, engaging in cross-border conversations that carry on our founder’s legacy of openness to cultural exchange and engagement with international cooperation.  

Why Founding Week?

The charter of the American College in Paris was signed by our founder, Dr. Lloyd A. DeLamater, on March 27, 1962, thereby realizing DeLamater’s vision of an American international institution in the heart of the City of Light. The college aimed to teach students from all over the world to thrive in international environments, to respect and engage with multiple perspectives and to strive for collaboration across borders, languages and cultures. 

Since then, our community has achieved more than 60 years of rigorous academic discussion on the banks of the Seine. Students have spent six decades putting theory into practice with Cultural Program study trips across the world. They’ve forged lifelong friendships in the AMEX Café and collaborated on cross-border projects with peers from over 100 countries. The belief in the importance of an international community connects global explorers across our history and today inspires new students to join the ongoing debate. 

Our Founder

Dr. Lloyd A. DeLamater

When Dr. Lloyd A. DeLamater, a former US State Department official, decided in 1962 to found the American College in Paris, he sought to “bridge the gap of narrow nationalisms” between disparate, isolated countries, creating an institution that would educate those ready to embrace the intellectual adventures and cultural challenges inherent in studying abroad. He promoted a learning model that facilitates the construction of students’ own identities and communities through engagement with an international and cosmopolitan city. He envisioned a place where students could move beyond the borders and beliefs of their home countries and launch themselves into an increasingly interconnected world. 

ACP began in a series of rented rooms in the basement of the American Church of Paris with an entering class of 100 students. Describing this first intake, DeLamater praised not only students’ academic performance, but also how each studied French as a foreign language, with many achieving fluency and rapidly adapting to French culture. Today, our consolidated campus on the banks of the Seine hosts a student body representing over 100 nationalities. We’ve graduated more than 20,000 alumni who live and work in 145 countries worldwide. By engaging in rigorous liberal arts scholarship across cultures, languages and disciplines, our community collaborates toward tangible solutions to global problems, united by a respect for diversity, by the celebration of difference and by a deep commitment to transformative liberal arts learning. 

Want to learn more about AUP's Founding? Discover more stories, archival photos and landmark dates below.