AUP Community Blog

Black Alumni at AUP (BAAUP) Celebrates Its One-Year Anniversary

Marvis Hardy '77

By Marvis Hardy '77

On the evening of Wednesday, November 17, Black Alumni at AUP (BAAUP) gathered to celebrate the group’s first birthday. Joining the celebration were members of the BAAUP organization, AUP students and President Celeste M. Schenck.

BAAUP was established on November 20, 2020, amid the racial unrest happening across the globe in the wake of the murder of George Floyd that May. Black alumni rallied to support current Black students studying abroad at AUP. The mission of the organization remains the same one year later: to support Black students and alumni of the University.

At the anniversary event, more than 25 BAAUP members and current Black students gathered to reconnect, network and celebrate their shared experiences. Black alumni were present from around the globe: from Madagascar and Russia to France, the United Kingdom and the United States. Founding BAAUP President Marvis Hardy opened the meeting wearing a celebratory “happy birthday” banner.

The highpoint of the meeting was when attendees were invited to share stories of their experience in Paris and their time at AUP. Among the stories shared was this testimony from one of the University’s first Black students, who attended what was then the American College in Paris in 1968. He shared his story of being arrested during a French antiwar protest in Paris. After spending a night in jail, he longed for the amenities of home, but resolutely stuck it out. Another alumna told of her experience as a translator and how attending AUP not only strengthened her English skills, but also her translation skills, allowing her to establish a translation business that she operates today.

Other attendees shared their own stories. One discussed how his experience studying abroad opened doors that would have remained closed had he not been able to include his time in Paris on his resume. Another shared how AUP allowed him to access internships that helped him move into his career. One alumna recalled how she was recruited by an international bank because she was bilingual, and that began her 30-year banking career. Another student, a retired educator, explained how her study abroad experience opened her eyes to a whole new world and provided a different kind of education for her in later life.

Several alumni volunteered to provide resources and assistance to current students and recent alumni seeking careers in specific industries. It was a wonderful evening of fun-filled laughter and shared experiences of being Black in Paris! Each story was different, yet somehow connected by a uniquely Black perspective.

While we may not have sung Happy Birthday, or Joyeux Anniversaire, those in attendance did pledge to keep in touch and promote BAAUP’s mission of support. That commitment made it very meaningful for all those in attendance.

If you are interested in joining Black Alumni at AUP or in learning more about our upcoming events, visit If you have any questions about the organization, don’t hesitate to reach out to