AUP Alumni Have an
“Unmistakable Stamp” 

By Kristina Keenan ('08) / Created 2010-10-15

How do you describe someone who went to AUP?  Graduates might ask themselves this question after leaving the university, though may not truly know the answer until the day they return.  Reunions bring us back to a city, a building, and an old hangout.  We see old friends and suddenly a familiar feeling returns that may have been forgotten over the years.

How about after 30 years?  The largest class reunion during this year’s Global Alumni Weekend was held by students who left in or around 1980.  At that time, the school was called The American College in Paris.  Damon B. Smith was ACP’s President, William H. Baskin was the Dean, and the eternal Stephen Plummer was Dean of Students.  George Allyn taught Psychology, Roy Rosenstein taught English, and Terence Murphy taught Political Science and History.  You can find all three of these professors still teaching courses at AUP today.  Graeme Wright (‘82) was Student Council Chairman and Roberta Grossi (‘82) was a member of the Yearbook staff.  Miriam Twaalfhoven (‘81) was secretary of the AIESEC (Association Inter-Etudiants en Sciences Economiques et Commerciales), Brett Little (’81) was the degree representative for International Business Administration, and Christopher Corbett was the manager of the student-operated American Express café.


That was then and this is now.  On Friday, May 21, 2010, nearly 40 alumni gathered in the Amex Café to celebrate 30 years after leaving ACP.  The TV screens displayed a slideshow of photos ranging from 1979 to 1981 and 80s’ music played on the sound system.  Andrew Batinovich (’80) and George Aucoin (’80) poured beers from behind the bar and shared stories of the café’s origins in 1979.  Meanwhile, Franklin Craig (’81), Bernt Antonsen (’83), and Marek Nowakowski (’82) stood in as representatives of the former ACP soccer team. At an intimate table in the back, Miriam, Renée Satterfield-Flade (‘80), and Jacqueline ter Veld-Ypma (’81) reminisced about old times.  “It was really fun to see so many people and after so many years for some,” said Franklin.  “There were classmates who I couldn't recognize, while others looked just the same!  One thing that didn't change was that ACP ‘joie de vivre’ one forgot how to party!  The early 80s were good vintages.”  Alumni discussed their work, family news, and posed for numerous pictures while wearing name tags with their yearbook photos attached.


Brian Kelly ('80) had these comments regarding the evening. 

This is my key realization from the AUP reunion: I have more in common with AUPers than I have with my friends and neighbors back home.  We have an unmistakable stamp.  It goes something like this -- a wide scope of interests, practical language competency (and not just French), an easiness with the unfamiliar, and of course, a heart that keeps pulling you back to the world's most lovable city.  Last May, I sat at a table with classmates from the four corners of the globe  --  a mom from Massachusetts, a PhD in Middle East finance from London, a Polish environmental ambassador and a resort owner from Mombasa -- all AUPers far from our homes, and oddly, it felt like home.   It’s sad that we see those family members so rarely.  At reunions we see friends we knew before the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" changed them.  We remember the seed and now witness the tree.  A kind of time capsule with
a dash of wistful déjà vu.

Reunions like this one occurred throughout the alumni weekend and regardless of the particular year alumni graduated, the spirit of the AUP identity was felt by everyone.  Over the course of the school’s 48-year history, the “unmistakable mark” has become part of all of us who walked the halls of AUP.