Interested in pursuing an American degree in France? Learn about options through IAU's degree-granting institution - The American College of the Mediterranean.

Bachelor's and Master's Programs

Alumni Newsletter - Winter/Spring 2021

Not currently receiving IAU's quarterly alumni newsletters? Please follow this link to sign up to receive alumni newsletters straight to your inbox.

Edition no. 27
Winter/Spring 2021

Do you have any updates, stories, remembrances, or information you would like to share in the next alumni newsletter? Contact to share your story. We'd love to hear from you! 

Table of Contents

Updates from IAU

Fall 2020 & Spring 2021 Semesters at IAU

Although the pandemic has shaken the field of international education to its core, IAU has been fortunate to be able to maintain in-person study abroad programs against many odds during this unique year. Through thoughtfully designed and transparent COVID-19 protocols,  IAU successfully hosted students in fall 2020, and is currently hosting 67 students in both France and Spain during the spring 2021 semester.  After two semesters with students on the ground during the pandemic, IAU's COVID-19 protocols have allowed us to run high-quality academic programs in a safe and healthy environment.  Central to these protocols are:

  • Frequent and proactive COVID-19 testing at no cost to students or partners
  • Providing single room accommodations for all students at no extra cost
  • Converting all facilities to a low-density model to support social distancing
  • Enhanced sanitation of classrooms and shared spaces
  • Providing appropriate PPE to students, faculty, and staff
  • Transparent and timely communication to university partners in regards to confirmed COVID-19 cases within the IAU community as well as updates on protocols and procedures exercised
To access IAU's comprehensive COVID-19 Preparedness Plan, please click here

This year has presented many challenges as well as many opportunities for IAU-ACM. It has taught us all how to be flexible, to adapt our policies and programs to new regulations and guidelines, and to support our students even more than we already had been. We wanted to share our enrollment numbers with our alumni community (below) so that you know how IAU-ACM is weathering this pandemic. IAU-ACM welcome usually around 1,000 students per year, but we have had to reduce our operations this year because of the pandemic, and have been operating at about 20% of our normal capacity. We are looking forward to a full summer term and fall semester to get back to our normal numbers.  We fully expect both our study abroad and degree-seeking numbers to return to their previous levels for the next fall 2021 semester as more people get vaccinated and the pandemic recedes. 

Fall 2020 Enrollments: 
Aix-en-Provence: 29 students (12 study abroad and 17 degree-seeking students)
Virtual: 15 students

Spring 2021 Enrollments:
Aix-en-Provence: 46 students (29 study abroad and 17 degree-seeking students)
Barcelona: 21 students
Virtual: 74 students

     Back to Top 

U.S. Regional Accreditation Update

The New England Commission of Higher Education has determined that the American College of the Mediterranean is eligible to proceed with an application for candidacy for accreditation within two years. A determination of eligibility is not candidacy or accreditation, nor does it indicate a likelihood of eventual accreditation. Questions about eligibility and the accreditation process should be directed to the President of the Commission. 

The American College of the Mediterranean will undergo a comprehensive evaluation visit April 18-21, 2021 for candidacy, by a team representing the New England Commission of Higher Education (formerly the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, NEASC). 

The New England Commission of Higher Education is one of seven accrediting commissions in the United States that provides institutional accreditation on a regional basis. 

Accreditation is voluntary and applies to the institution as a whole. The Commission, which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, accredits approximately 220 institutions in the six-state New England region as well as several American-style institutions overseas.

For the past year and a half, the American College of the Mediterranean has been engaged in a process of self-study, addressing the Commission’s Standards for Accreditation. An evaluation team will visit the institution to gather evidence that the self-study is thorough and accurate. The team will recommend to the Commission a continuing status for the institution. Following a review process, the Commission itself will take the final action. 

The public is invited to submit comments regarding the institution to: Public Comment on the American College of the Mediterranean, New England Commission of Higher Education 3 Burlington Woods Drive, Suite 100 Burlington, MA 01803-4514 E-mail: Public Comments must address substantive matters related to the quality of the institution.  

The Commission cannot settle disputes between individuals and institutions, whether those involve faculty, students, administrators, or members of other groups. Comments will not be treated as confidential and must include the name, address, and telephone number of the person providing the comments. Public Comments must be received by April 21, 2021. The Commission cannot guarantee that comments received after that date will be considered.

Since enrolling its first class in 1957, the Institute for American Universities (ACM's parent organization) has served as a center for education abroad for U.S. undergraduates. It is a not-for-profit institution of higher education and issues its own transcripts.  IAU has worked with over 700 U.S. public and private colleges and universities, most of whom are familiar with the high standards of IAU programs and accept direct transfer of academic credit. Many institutional partners of IAU have NECHE accreditation, including Fairfield University, Harvard University, Boston College, Tufts University, and more.

Back to Top 

Visa, COVID-19, and Border Closures: Current Situation in France and Spain

Since early 2020, IAU-ACM has been closely following all announcements, regulations, and guidelines put forth by the U.S., French, and Spanish governments concerning students' ability to enter France and Spain from the United States. While students remain eligible to enter Spain for short-term (under 90 days) or long-term (over 90 days) programs with the appropriate visa, France's regulations have recently changed. A full udpate about the current situation in France is below. 

Following a period of reconfinement this fall, France began a three-phase reopening period on November 28th, 2020 and is currently in phase two. The government is monitoring the situation daily and making short-term announcements concerning border and entry restrictions. As of January 18th, 2021, there is an obligatory self-isolation period of seven days upon entry to France from outside the Schengen Area. Campus France provides the conditions and its recommendations for the seven-day quarantine on its website here. The Spring 2021 cohort of 47 IAU/ACM students arrived in Aix-en-Provence in early February, and were warmly welcomed by our staff, then proceeded to complete the self-isolation period in their host families’ residences. IAU/ACM made adjustments for the Early Start Program and orientation to be held virtually, and incorporated cultural activities into this new virtual format, including an interactive cooking class and virtual tour of the Lubéron region. The first week of courses was held in a hybrid format to accommodate the seven-day isolation period for all students. 

In an attempt to avoid further lockdown and in order to curb the spread of the new COVID-19 strains, on January 29th, 2021 the French government announced new restrictions for entry into France from countries outside the European Union. Following this announcement, on February 4th, 2021, the French government clarified that these new restrictions changed the previous allowance for international students of all types to enter France. As of February 4th, 2021, U.S. students traveling without a long-stay student visa will not be permitted to enter France until further notice. The language that is still included in the “compelling reasons” for entering France that concerns students allows for a: “Student moving to France for the second semester of the academic year as part of a higher education institution programme.” From IAU/ACM’s contacts at Campus France, French Consulates in the U.S., and APUAF, we have received guidance that this means that students without a long-stay student visa will be denied entry into France. IAU continues to monitor these restrictions and will continue to adapt our on-site programs to fit the ever-changing landscape of border and travel restrictions during this pandemic. We are encouraged by the fact that the French government has prioritized student mobility during the length of the pandemic, and are confident that they will ease these restrictions against students particularly in the near future.

For more information, we recommend consulting the Campus France website to stay up-to-date with France’s restrictions and necessary steps for completing the visa process or traveling abroad for studies.  

Back to Top 

Call for Legacy Donors - Is IAU Remembered in Your Estate Plans?

IAU is extremely grateful to our alumni and other supporters who have remembered IAU in their estate plans. The Mont Saint-Victoire Legacy Society is an association for donors who have included IAU in their estate plans through a planned gift or other charitable donation.

If you have already included IAU in your estate plans, please let us know so we can update our records, send you our sincere thanks, and include you as a member of our Mont Sainte-Victoire Society.

For more information about remembering IAU in your estate plans, please contact 
Kurt Schick, Vice President of U.S. Operations.

Back to Top 

Stories from Our Alumni

Then & Now: Brian Grogan '71-'72

For our "Then and Now" features, we ask two open-ended questions of our alumni: 1. Would you mind telling us a little bit about yourself; and 2. How did your time abroad with IAU influence/inspire/change/or otherwise affect your life afterward? Here, Brian Grogan ('71-'72) tells us about how IAU influenced his life after his time abroad.

Photos (left to right): Brian in Arles in 1981, while attending the Marchtuz School; Brian in Belleau France in 2016, photographing the WWI battlefield landscape; Monument aux Morts de la Grand Guerre, Buire-Courcelles, France - Photograph by Brian Grogan, 2013.

IAU: Would you mind telling us a little bit about yourself?

Brian Grogan: My freshman year at Hampden-Sydney College, a small Liberal Arts school in Virginia, I had the good fortune of a professor for my first class in French, Robert Jolley, who had attended the Institute for American Universities in Aix as an undergraduate. At the end of freshman year he suggested that I consider going to school in France for a junior year abroad program, describing IAU as an ideal program for students with limited French studies who could still have an immersive experience in French life and culture. Reading about the IAU, I learned that a neighbor in my hometown of Washington DC, Max Kampleman, was one of the original members of the IAU Board of Trustees. Those serendipitous conversations with Robert Jolley, then Max Kampleman, set me on a journey to Aix in the fall of 1971. That year in Aix, a later summer program in 1981 at the Marchutz School of Art, and many visits back to Provence, and other regions of France, have continued to influence my life to this day. 

Every IAU alum has numerous memories and stories to recount. For myself, two more serendipitous conversations stand out: 

Spring semester of my year in Aix, my classmate Julia Clancy (now Dr. Julia Clancy-Smith, professor of Mediterranean and North African history at the University of Arizona) urged me to take the studio art class then offered at IAU, which was taught by Leo Marchutz and Billy Weyman. I was a novice photographer at the time, had no experience in fine arts, but happily blundered through a semester of trying to learn how to draw and paint. More importantly, I had the opportunity to meet Leo Marchutz and became lifelong friends with Billy Weyman, and later with Leo and Billy’s colleague, Sam Bjorklund. Leo, Billy, and Sam started the Marchutz School of Art a short time later. 

The second bit of good fortune came courtesy of Amos Booth, Director of IAU. When I asked him about ideas for a summer job so I could remain in France following the school year, Amos gave me a brochure for International Summer Camp Montana, located in the Valais canton of French-speaking Switzerland. That was the beginning of another adventure of lifelong friends and experiences in Europe. Many thanks to the memory of Amos for that introduction!

For 35 years I have worked in various aspects of cultural and public history as a photographer, historian, editor, researcher, and documentarian. As a photographer, I have specialized in the documentation of historical architecture and cultural landscapes and have produced thousands of photographs for the Historic American Buildings Survey, Historic American Engineering Record, and Historic American Landscapes Survey collections in the Library of Congress. The projects have included a wide variety of architectural, cultural, and industrial history, including one-room schoolhouses, homestead ranches, National Parks historical roads and bridges, civil engineering, industrial history, military complexes, civil rights history, and WWI American military cemeteries in France. I have made photographic, research, and editorial contributions to numerous books on art and cultural history, architectural and engineering history, fine art photography, National Parks history, and Civil Rights history. 

Many years after meeting Leo Marchutz and Billy Weyman at IAU, I assisted Billy, as book editor and designer, with his memoir of his years painting and teaching in Aix, Leo & I and the Ghost of Cézanne: A Memoir of Art and Provence. Currently I am assisting the Catalog Raisonné project on the artistic legacy of Leo Marchutz. At the 2020 IAU Alumni reception at the French Embassy in Washington, DC, I had the honor of presenting publications on Leo’s art and life to the French Consul General and open conversations on the possibility of exhibiting Leo’s work in Washington in cooperation with the Embassy.

For the past 20 years I have also been deeply engaged in the civil rights era history of public school desegregation in Virginia. I am producer for a still to be completed documentary film They Closed Our Schools on the Civil Rights era public schools crisis in Prince Edward County, Virginia. I conceived and co-edited a historical anthology on this story, published in 2019 by the University of Virginia Press, A Little Child Shall Lead Them: A Documentary Account of The Struggle for School Desegregation in Prince Edward County, Virginia. 

IAU: How did your time abroad with IAU influence/inspire/change/or otherwise affect your life afterward?

From studies of art history and fine arts in Aix, to a degree in history, through my professional career, the experience of time at IAU has always been an influence and inspiration in many different ways that would reflect in my life over the years. While I could never claim fluency in French, conversational skills lead to opportunities and adventures. My time in Aix was the creative spark for many things that followed. 

After my year in Aix, I worked two summers at a sports camp in Switzerland, then a good part of a winter there doing odd jobs. The most interesting job may have been a winter month working in a sawmill in the Alps near the town of Chateau d’Oex and learning - or attempting to learn - the marvelous local French patois. 

For many years I lived in Yosemite National Park where I often was asked to serve as an unofficial translator for French travelers in need. One notable occasion was trying to explain American jurisprudence to a French climber who had been arrested for shoplifting.

In the early 1980s, I worked with an acclaimed American fine art photographer, Michael A. Smith, and the establishment of Lodima Press, a fine art small press specializing in art photography books. As a representative of the press, I spent time in Europe, presenting work to museums and galleries and arranging exhibitions. It provided an opportunity to meet Jean-Claude Lemagny, the famed curator and photographic historian at the Bibliothèque Nationale. I was fortunate to meet many French photographers as well. At one memorable dinner in Toulouse, at the home of Jean Dieuzaide, photographer and museum director, the conversation suddenly changed on the arrival of his friend to a language I had never heard before. Dieuzaide smiled at my confusion and said, “Nous parlons Gascon, la langue de D’Artagnan.” For a moment I felt as if I were inside a novel by Alexandre Dumas! In the summer of 1981, I attended the Rencontres Internationale de la Photographie d’Arles where I presented an entry by Lodima Press which won Le Grand Prix du Livre as the best photographic book of the year. 

With the recent centennial commemoration of World War I, I made several trips to France to photograph the memorial landscape of the Western Front. I have photographed American WWI Cemeteries in Flanders, the Somme, the Marne, and the Meuse. I have also extensively photographed the ubiquitous, vernacular monuments and memorials that exist in almost every village and city in France. It is an ongoing project for me and I hope to be able to return to France soon to continue this work. 

In September it will be 50 years since I first arrived in Aix, rather an astonishing thing to note that the time has so flown by. The year at the IAU, and the summer at the Marchutz School, were certainly the best educational experiences of my life.

Back to Top 

IAU Love Story: Ted Morton and Bambi (Lathrop) Morton '70

Ted and Bambi Morton ('70) met at IAU in the spring semester of 1970 and have spent their lives together ever since. Read below for their own account of their semester abroad with IAU and how it affected their lives moving forward.

Photos (left to right): Ted (center) in the IAU La Cigale yearbook from Spring 1970; Bambi (left) in the IAU La Cigale Yearbook with friend Teresa Acheson (right)


Ted and I met at the IAU in 1970. Ted came to Aix from the West, Colorado College. I came from the East—Wittenberg University. As my landlady once told us over dinner, “Quelque fois les montagnes peuvent se rejoinder.” And for us, they did.

After our year at the IAU, we traveled Europe for the summer; returned to our respective colleges; but then returned to Europe after graduation in 1971. We then reconnected in Aix where we worked, lived, and continued to learn for the next year—spending many wonderful hours with our former teachers and now friends, Billy Weyman and Sam Bjorklund.

In 1973 we returned to the U.S.; got married in Santa Fe, New Mexico; and then left again—this time for Toronto. While Ted finished his M.A. and Ph.D. in political economy at the University of Toronto, I worked part-time and had our first two children. Ted’s teaching career took us first to Massachusetts—then back to Canada and the University of Calgary! There we raised our three children—all of whom attended Catholic French-immersion schools. I taught French in a public junior high school.

Ted’s academic career allowed us to take a sabbatical year in 1987, which we spent in Rousset, just outside of Aix. Ted taught a course at the IAU, and we reconnected with old friends. It was one of the best years of our lives. Both of our daughters subsequently returned to Aix to study, Sarra at the IAU (1994) and Cally at the Strange School (2001). In 2017 we—along with a group of friends from our IAU days--returned to Aix to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the IAU.

We are planning to return to Southern France this summer—again with old friends from our IAU days. And then hope to celebrate our 50th anniversary with family in 2023 in the shadows and light of Mont Sainte Victoire.


Bambi has captured how our year at the IAU has shaped our entire lives—all for the better. I would simply add that my experiences in Aix played a central role in my choosing a career in higher education. For me, exploring Provence, walking through the streets of Aix, made history come to life. It helped me to understand that we are just a very recent part of a much older and richer human tapestry. It gave me a new respect for the past and hope for the future. It has given my teaching and writing a more historical and comparative perspective. Finally, I have encouraged my own students to seize any opportunity they have to travel or study abroad—with the hope that they too might have the kinds of positive experiences that my year at the IAU gave to me.

Thank you for sharing your love story, Bambi and Ted!


Photos (from left to right): Bambi and Ted in France in 1971; Bambi and Ted with their children in Rousset in 1987; Bambi and Ted at IAU's 2bis rue du Bon Pasteur in May 2017 for IAU's 60th Anniversary Celebration.

Back to Top 

IAU Legacy Story: Kevin James '90 and Sophia James '21

IAU is always grateful to students who loved their experience abroad so much that they encourage their children to also attend IAU! This creates a family legacy that strengthens our alumni community and is a testament to the influence our programs have on students and families beyond their semester or year abroad. We talked to a current Spring 2021 IAU student in Aix-en-Provence, Sophia James, and her father, Kevin James, an alumnus from Fall 1990, about their experiences with IAU.

Photos (left to right): Kevin James in Place d'Albertas in Aix-en-Provence in Fall 1990; His daughter, Sophia James, in the same spot 20 years later, in Spring 2021.

IAU: Sophia, what made you want to study in Aix? Did your dad influence you to follow in his footsteps?

Sophia: Ever since I was little, I’ve heard stories and fond memories from my dad’s time in Aix. This was one of the main reasons I started taking French classes in school and was ultimately the reason I decided to apply to IAU for the semester abroad program. I’ve wanted to study abroad in Aix for a while and it feels like a dream come true to be here.

IAU: How are you enjoying the experience so far? What can you tell us about studying abroad in Aix during COVID?

Sophia: Studying abroad during a pandemic certainly comes with its stresses, but overall my experience in Aix so far has been amazing. The city is beautiful and even with things closed, there is so much to do. In fact, the restrictions and curfew have in some ways been advantageous. They have given me more quality time with my host family in the evenings and forced me and my friends to spend more time outdoors than we may have otherwise.

IAU: Kevin, how did your time abroad with IAU influence/inspire/change/or otherwise affect your life afterward?

Kevin: Aix was the first time I lived alone abroad and based in large part on the amazing experience I had in Aix, I never lost interest in living and traveling abroad. I have lived overseas on numerous occasions and my work has been predominantly international. I use my French once in a while and have never stopped painting. I can’t say enough how much I enjoyed my time in Aix at IAU.

IAU: Did you encourage your daughter to go abroad with IAU?

Kevin: Given the disruption COVID had on my daughter’s college and her love of art, IAU in Aix seemed like the perfect fit for her this year. I told her about the program and encouraged her to apply. Hopefully, she will return with better French, some amazing pieces of art, and great memories from her time in Aix.

Back to Top 

Then & Now '68-'69 edition: Ken Butler, Stuart Shapiro, and Randall Sunday

For our "Then and Now" features, we ask two open-ended questions of our alumni: 1. Would you mind telling us a little bit about yourself; and 2. How did your time abroad with IAU influence/inspire/change/or otherwise affect your life afterward? Here, in a special 1968-1969 edition of "Then and Now," Ken Butler, Stuart Shapiro, and Randall Sunday tell us how their year with IAU in Aix-en-Provence influenced their lives.

Ken Butler ('68-'69)

Photos (left to right): A photo of Ken from the 1968-1969 La Cigale Yearbook, which Ken designed; a recent photo of Ken.

IAU: Would you mind telling us a little bit about yourself?

Ken: From my website: "Ken Butler is an artist and musician whose Hybrid musical instruments, performances, and other works explore the interaction and transformation of common and uncommon objects, altered images, and sounds as function and form collide in the intersection of art and music. Butler is internationally recognized as an innovator of experimental musical instruments created from diverse materials including tools, sports equipment, and household objects. The idea of bricolage, essentially using whatever is “at hand,” is at the center of his art, encompassing a wide range of practice that combines assemblage art, live music, instrument design, performance art, theater, sculpture, installation, photography, film/video, graphic design, drawing, and collage. Ken returned to Colorado College from the IAU where he graduated the following year, moved back to his hometown Portland, Oregon in 1973, and to Brooklyn, NY, in 1988, where he currently resides. 

He has been featured in exhibitions and performances worldwide including The Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, The Prada Foundation in Venice (as part of the “Art or Sound” exhibition at the Venice Biennale in 2014), The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Mass Moca, and The Kitchen, The Brooklyn Museum, Lincoln Center and The Metropolitan Museum in New York City as well as in Canada, South America, Thailand, and Japan. You can see more of Ken's work at his website, linked here.

IAU: How did your time abroad with IAU influence/inspire/change/or otherwise affect your life afterward?

Ken: My year at the Institute was very formative and has had a significant effect on my life after that remarkable experience. Aside from a few lasting friendships, unique interactions with a rich community of students from far and wide, and a strong formation of the French language, the creative environment and rich history of art from the region had a marked and lasting influence on my creative endeavors. I immersed myself strongly in art history and gained a strong overview of many areas of strong importance, and was happy to live in the shadow of Cezanne’s Mt. St. Victoire. Although I moved away from the landscape oil painting focus of that time, I did develop an artistic identity that gave me a grounding sense of self as a creator. I was very motivated and was happy to have been allowed to design the entire yearbook staying in Aix while everyone else vacationed to parts beyond. The entire year was unforgettable.

Stuart Shapiro ('68-'69)

Photos (left to right): Photo of Stuart Shapiro in the 1968-1969 La Cigale Yearbook, for which he took many of the photos; the cover of Stuart's latest book.

How did your time abroad with IAU influence/inspire/change/or otherwise affect your life afterward?

Stuart: I would say that the year at IAU in 1968 was one of the foundational and influential elements of my life. Hard to decipher the mixed molecules of DNA that were infused forever in Aix – I am confident that our classmates were all forever branded with a unique spirit for life and culture and the pursuit of discovery that one year spelled on us. 

Randy and I have remained friends for life and share our spirit - like teammates and fellow warriors from the same time zone frozen in our hearts.

I have been lucky to lead a prolific life of producing counter-culture music, video, and film, working with artists like Neil Young and helping Chris Rock and Tim Allen, and many others getting discovered.

In 1981, I created and produced a beloved cable show on the USA Network, Night Flight, which broadcast for 8 years all night long every Friday and Saturday. And a few years ago, with the arrival of streaming networks, I launched Night Flight Plus as a subscription streaming channel using my video archives and now I am again living a rebirth of my youthful music video beacons of discovery and innovations.

At 50 years old, I had a career change from media to government, and started an Internet Company, iConstituent, only to find myself in the Halls of the US Congress as a pioneer in Email and Internet constituent communications in an ever fruitless attempt at building a more perfect Union.

Last year I published my second book (the first was Flash Fames, an expose on the emerging Internet Art with a foreword by Stan Lee), iDentifi YourselfA Journey in Fuck You Creative Courage. The book is an autobiographical journey of insights and wisdom intended to generate for the reader a strong sense of creative freedom and fear of failure using short stories of many of my endeavors.

Happily married for the second time to Laurie Dolphin, a book designer, publisher, and artist, we have combined 3 boys and 4 grandchildren and live on Shelter Island in New York.

When I reminisce about that magical year in Aix, it is clear that we all had a great fortune to experience a once in many generations time of change and exponential social upheaval. It was not just 1968, that seminal year in modern history, but more it was the taste and intoxication of intellectual freedom and intensity of life and love and education mixed into one of the special cities in the world with a group of very very special classmates.

Like Mark Twain’s Innocents Abroad, I forever cherish that time long ago before the modern world took hold in France and Europe.  

I can never go back but thankfully it has never left me.

Randall Sunday ('68-'69)

Photos (left to right): Randy's photo from the 1968-1969 La Cigale Yearbook; a recent photo of Randy.

IAU: How did your time abroad with IAU influence/inspire/change/or otherwise affect your life afterward?

Randy: March 8 was the 52nd Anniversary of my ordination as clergy in the Universal Life Church while I was living in Aix-en-Provence.  I was a student at the IAU for my junior year and I wasn’t moonlighting, it just seemed like the right thing to do at the time. My life had opened up wide in Aix with my particular group of friends and acquaintances and I wasn’t sure where I was headed, so I was taking precautions. Curiously, in a decade I was a Buddhist pastor conducting weddings and funerals but mostly, this was playful, and really only led to [Ken] Butler calling me Rev.  Nevertheless, this was an exciting extended moment on earth and I wanted to be able to join in as we all moved gradually from antic collegiality to less pretend and more serious responsibilities. The moon landing was just a few months away on July 20, when I would be in the Soviets’ garrison town of Olomouc, Czechoslovakia which they had just invaded, a gross betrayal of their friendship with the Czech nation.

I had just gone to Israel with Stuart where we visited the Via Della Rosa, Gethsemane, kibbutzim, coral corridors in the Red Sea at Eilat, the Dead Sea, Ein Gedi, (Hallelujah had not yet been written), Caesarea, the sea caves on the Lebanese border, and climbed Masada at 4 am in the morning to escape the desert sun to the sound of distant gunfire and explosives. We took a furtive ferry from Tel Aviv to Turkey and escaped from Istanbul after an aborted overland trip to Afghanistan with a man who had just been released from a Turkish prison. We snuck away under the cover of darkness when we realized how crazy he/we were, and left a little wiser. He did tell us of an unannounced festival to be held soon on a Hudson Valley farm north of NYC...

It was all a bit frantic and ultimately fulfilling and this is just a faded snapshot of a journey with changing paces and serendipitous pleasures. Perhaps all foreign students in Europe those days enjoyed themselves in the same ways but for us, it was grounded in Aix-en-Provence and the welcoming warmth that echoed throughout the year and survives in my heart and friendships to this day.  

After my high school years in Texas, college in Memphis had felt like freedom, until punctured by the reality of garbage strikes and Dr. King’s assassination. Yet, I could barely suppress my sustained thrill as I boarded the flight leaving NYC on my birthday, September 11, 1968, and a stewardess brought me a piece of cake. Even as we landed in the City of Light, we never really touched down until the train reached Aix, my unbeknownst-to-me long-lost home. And then the feelings and hints of a different type of liberation slowly settled in. It is hard to say that an experience is just a place or a climate or a season or a dream, but it was all of them, and diverse moments that all shared the same essence, "a tender gravity of kindness” and waves of unlimited friendliness that reopened our hidden hearts. It wasn't without struggles and mistakes, but they were absorbed by the wide wheelbase of youth, and we never took our eyes off the road, or the prize of discovering we were exactly where we wanted to be without knowing fully how we got there. It was surely in retrospect a time of privilege, but we were at the doorstep of Western civilization, and always cast an eye back home watching the growing convulsions of our country,  knowing that a change was gonna come.  I suspected it might be a time of straddling youth and urgent maturity, a last opportunity to understand our ancient origins while enjoying the freshness and fascinations of a brave new world.  We recognized the folly of some of our dreams, but also saw the hoary face of impermanence, and felt compelled to embrace it all.  

So we chose somewhat unconsciously to do it together. It was a great consortium dedicated to learning, fun, and adventure in this world so étrange. Always there was excitement and so much humor learning to laugh at our human comedy.  Right away was the discovery of lifelong education well beyond academia. We wanted to know things.  Some of our close coteries took European literature, an eye-opener after British Lit back home.  Steve Couture always seemed to have a new Penguin paperback. In the Ezra Pound book he gave me is “The Gypsy.” This is the first  line - “ Est-ce que vous avez vu des autres - des camarades - avec des singes ou des ours?“  It always puts me in mind of a certain energy of courage, vital curiosity, and cheerfulness of so many I met:  our classmates, of course, but also townspeople and local youth whom we celebrated with, like Nicole, Brigitte, and Sophie, the daughters of car dealers and bankers, who took us to parties outside Aix;  the inmates (yes) from the mental health facility who found their way to Cours Mirabeau on weekends, folks whom we met on our mobilettes, art trips, or getaways to the Camargue; American friends passing through and students at the Strange school; faculty and staff: Messieurs Booth and Maza, teachers Couling, McLeod, Gravel, Meyer, and staff; shopkeepers, bartenders, French students at the Cite Universitaire; the lady at the patisserie, “Pour vous, trois jolie croissants!”; and Crash Pad companions and IAU students - Sallie, Dorianne, Stuart, Beth, Bobbie, Diana, Bruce, Susan, Clare, Ken, Caryl, Susie Gray, Mary, Wendy, Joel, Chris, Christian, Jeff, the other Bruce, McGuire, Therese, Jane; and sweet Douc, the blondes from Wisconsin, the habitués of Club St. Nicholas and La Rotonde, and the Swedish students, always arm in arm … the waves of memory keep crashing and rolling, over and over, and bringing up so much forgotten sentiment.  Pardon me for names left out, I am more grateful than I can say... 

It was the friendship that was offered without a moment’s hesitation that was so uplifting. It has carried me through ditches, woods, and long climbs, and continues to spark inspiration, especially the reminder to share the basic human warmth that we all carry with us. I just received my second vaccine shot at Dodger Stadium and in spite of the political confusion and terrifying petty tribalism in recent years, I am moved by the monumental historical global effort to care for and by millions.  I see the same unlimited friendliness and basic goodness that I felt in Provence and much of my travels. 

Since that time, I dropped out of Duke grad school when I saw where the tunnel of International Politics & Economics might lead, left for Mexico, ended up with a theatre group in the Haight, retreated to Alaska, helped start a college in Boulder where I met many writers and poets, directed a Buddhist meditation center in downtown Manhattan for ten years, married, have a daughter, and retired in Santa Barbara after more non-profiteering, and finally,  ran a hospice for the low-income and homeless for 14 years. Living abroad in an existence so much greater than myself was penetrating, and a turning point that continues to reveal itself.   

Butler put together our ’68-'69 Annual over the spring holidays while the rest of us exploded across the continent. He included only one piece of copy, the following poem which found some of our fast-moving feelings.  May all our memories be a genuine joy.

Above, a scan of a page of the 1968-1969 La Cigale Yearbook, with calligraphy by Ken Butler.

Thank you, Ken, Stuart, and Randy, for sharing these beautiful remembrances and stories!

Back to Top 

Opportunities for Alumni

Master's Programs through ACM

If you have been dreaming of returning to Aix, now is your chance!

If you are like many other IAU alumni looking for reasons to return to IAU and Aix-en-Provence, consider the Master’s degrees offered through IAU’s degree-granting university, the American College of the Mediterranean (ACM). ACM offers a two-year MFA degree in Painting and one-year master's degrees in Art History, French Studies, International Education Administration (new!), International Relations, Media Studies (enrolling students for Fall 2022), and Business Administration. All IAU alumni who enroll in an ACM master's program are automatically eligible for a $1,000 annual alumni grant. Read below for more information about ACM's master's programs:

  • Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Painting: The School of Art is proud to offer a two-year MFA degree program in painting in Aix-en-Provence, France. The 60-credit program is conducted in English and accepts artists of diverse interests and backgrounds. The program combines daily studio work, seminars, museum studies, field studies throughout Europe, and professional internship opportunities.

  • Master of Arts in Art History (MAAH): The Master of Arts in Art History degree at ACM is a one-year program stemming from IAU's academic tradition as one of the first American institutions abroad to create a full studio art and art history curriculum founded on the rich art and art historical traditions of the south of France and, in particular, Aix-en-Provence. Its defining characteristic resides in the educational principle that any art-related study should combine in a holistic manner the three disciplines of art history, studio practice, and critical studies. The artistic traditions of the south of France and the Mediterranean Basin will naturally serve as the intellectual backbone of the Masters of Arts in Art History.

  • Master of Arts in French Studies (MAFS): The Master of Arts in French Studies at ACM is a one-year program that offers students the unique opportunity to earn an American MA degree in a Fr­ench-speaking environment. Situated in Aix-en-Provence, France near the Mediterranean coast, ACM’s program unites mainland French with the Francophone countries of North Africa, ensuring that students are exposed to the rich diversity of the French language and culture.

  • Master of Arts in International Education Administration (MAIE): The Master of Arts in International Education Administration (MAIE) is a one-year, 45-credit, practitioner-based graduate degree that is designed to prepare students for leadership positions in the field of international education and the broader industry of higher education.  Unique to this MAIE program is the strategic integration of ACM’s study abroad institute, the Institute for American Universities (IAU) into the MAIE program, which affords students hands-on experience with the operations of a full-service study abroad organization that welcomes over 1,000 students each year to its programs in France, Spain, and Morocco. MAIE students will interact closely with ACM-IAU administrators and staff and will be able to observe the skills they learn in the classroom at work in the field. MAIE students also serve as mentors to IAU undergraduate students, providing them with leadership opportunities as they learn first-hand about the specific needs of study abroad students.  At the end of the academic program, MAIE students will produce a capstone project in which they design a comprehensive international education program of their choosing.

  • Master of Arts in International Relations (MAIR): The Master of Arts in International Relations is a one-year program leveraging ACM’s strategic location in Southern France. The founders of the Institute for American Universities had this in mind when they constructed a curriculum based in Political Science and International Relations. The Humanities and Social Sciences have always played an important role at IAU and ACM, and will naturally serve as the intellectual backbone of the Master of Arts in International Relations.

  • Master of Arts in Media Studies (MAMS): The Master of Arts in Media Studies at The American College of the Mediterranean provides students with a broad and interdisciplinary formation commencing from core training in communication theory and media research methods. The program leverages the site-specificity of its European campus with close ties to Spain and North Africa and combines theory and practice in order to prepare students for success in fields such as public relations, brand management, public affairs, nonprofit management, education, and research. The program emphasizes ethical, culturally-sensitive, and socially-responsible communication. Enrolling students for Fall 2022.

  • Global Master of Business Administration (GMBA): The Global Masters in Business Administration (GMBA) is a 46 credit-hour, one-year master’s degree leveraging ACM’s strategic location in Southern Europe. The program builds on the historic academic tradition of the Institute for American Universities, ACM’s parent organization, as one of the first American institutions abroad to prepare those aspiring to careers in international business and diplomacy. With our principal campus in Aix-en-Provence, France and satellite campuses and programs in Spain and Morocco, ACM is well positioned to prepare students for the many challenges of the global economy today with an emphasis on Europe, North Africa, and the Mediterranean. 

Learn More About ACM

Back to Top 

Maymester 2021 Traveling Program

"The Many Faces of France"
MAY 17 - JUNE 3, 2021

We invite our alumni to join IAU for this multidisciplinary Maymester traveling seminar that will explore various regions of France, researching its history as well as contemporary society and France’s position on the world stage. Students will focus on the cultural foundations that make up the complexities of France as we know it today. The program will run in both French and in English and is suitable for students with all levels of French. 

All IAU alumni are eligible to receive a $250 alumni grant toward the cost of the Maymester seminar. If students choose to enroll in a consecutive Maymester and Summer Term with IAU, they are eligible to receive an additional $1,000 grant.

Note: IAU is continuously monitoring all health, safety, and mobility guidelines and restrictions as they develop and will keep students updated with the most recent information about travel to France as the Maymester seminar approaches. 

Application Deadline: April 1, 2021

Itinerary & Destination Themes:

  • Aix-en-Provence/Marseille and the Region of Provence: Ancient France and its Mediterranean Heritage
  • Lyon: A Confluence of Diverse Regions
  • Paris:  Intellectual, Diplomatic, and Economic Hub
  • Strasbourg: France and the European Project

Students can choose one of the following 3-credit courses: 

  • POL/IR/CUL 345/545: American Diplomacy in Action – U.S. Foreign Policy in the 21st Century (taught in English)
  • FRE/HIS/ARH 375/575: The Cultural, Historical, and Artistic Roots of the French Identity (taught in French)

To learn more, please visit the Maymester Traveling Seminar webpage. Do not hesitate to reach out to the U.S. Office of Alumni Affairs with any questions or to get enrolled in this exciting program. 


Back to Top 

Virtual Courses & Internships

IAU is pleased to offer Virtual Global Experiences to its alumni during the upcoming summer term. This 8-week virtual program will draw on IAU's expertise in experiential-based learning while taking advantage of our wide network of professional contacts in France, Spain, Morocco, and beyond. Students will choose from academic courses, global internships, consulting projects, and social impact practicums/experiential learning projects to customize their summer virtual experience.

Alumni are eligible to receive a $250 alumni grant toward their virtual summer program.


As part of this experience, the following experiences are available: 

Learn More About IAU's Virtual Programs

Back to Top 

Summer 2021 Programs


This summer, IAU is offering a wide array of academic courses as well as hands-on practical experiences including Consulting Projects and Internships in both Spain and France.  While the published deadline for summer 2021 is April 1, we will continue to accept applications until April 30, 2021, and thereafter on a space-available basis. 

All alumni are eligible to receive up to $500 in alumni grants for the summer term.

SUMMER 2021 IN BARCELONA, SPAIN There are no entry restrictions for students participating in academic programs in Spain, and student visas for U.S. passport-holders are not required. Courses are being offered this summer in art, art history, business, communications, cross-cultural studies, history, international relations, psychology, Spanish, and more. Learn more about course offerings here.

SUMMER 2021 IN AIX-EN-PROVENCE, FRANCE IAU is monitoring the current entry restrictions for France, and French authorities are expected to re-evaluate the current entry restrictions at the end of April. Please see section above for more information regarding the entry restrictions in France. Courses are being offered this summer in archaeology, art, art history, communications, environmental studies, French, history, psychology, and more. Learn more about course offerings here.

Additionally, we highly recommend our 6-credit immersive cohort experiences in Aix-en-Provence over the summer:

Courses run in the summer from early June through mid-July, with options for three-week or six-week sessions within that timeframe. To learn about how to enroll in a summer course as an IAU alumnus, please contact or 800-221-2051.

Back to Top 

Ways to Support IAU

There are many ways to donate to IAU. Regardless of the amount or the form that a donation may take, IAU is deeply humbled by the action itself. Whether donors wish to honor or commemorate an individual or contribute to buildings and classrooms through IAU's Naming and Legacy Opportunities or help ensure the excellence of IAU programs for future generations of students, we invite potential donors to consider and select one or more of the donation opportunities listed below and on the IAU website. We sincerely thank you for your support.

Donate Now

Where Do Donations Go?

Depending on which fund you donate to, IAU donations go to a range of different places -- all of which support IAU's mission to provide excellence in international education, inspire intercultural awareness, and prepare students for success in a global community. We have a number of different scholarship funds available to donate to, including The Herbert Maza Full Year Scholarship, The Amos Booth French Honors Program Scholarship, the John Rewald Art & Art History Scholarship, and more. Donations made to scholarship funds go directly to student scholarships that IAU awards every term to deserving study abroad students.

Donors may also elect to donate to IAU's Endowment Fund. IAU’s Endowment is fundamental to the Institute's ability to plan for the long-term and to manage during turbulent economic and diplomatic times. The fund provides for a permanent source of income to support the Institute's academic programs and provides for future growth while fulfilling IAU’s need for a predictable income stream.

Some donors simply donate to "Unrestricted Gifts." This choice supports IAU's operating budget and assists with funding financial priorities, including innovative programming, the hiring of faculty and staff, expanding operations to new cities or new buildings, scholarships and grants for diversity students, and more. 

We invite you to explore IAU's various donation funds by visiting

Back to Top 

The Allison Benson Memorial Scholarship Fund

IAU was struck by tragedy on February 7, 2020, when Allison Benson, a student from Kansas State University, died unexpectedly while studying in Aix-en-Provence, France. Allison had been a member of the IAU community from a young age, as her aunt Kirsten Kircher was a student with IAU in the mid-1980s. Allison had long nourished the dream of studying with IAU and had set a goal of becoming a French teacher. Allison’s generosity of spirit, coupled with her delight in discovering France and its culture, won her many friends during her short time in Aix-en-Provence. IAU extends its heartfelt condolences to the family of Allison Benson for their tragic loss.

Donations to this fund go to the Allison Benson Memorial Scholarship for future Kansas State University students studying abroad with IAU. This scholarship in Allison's name will go to deserving students who carry on the legacy of Allison's bright spirit and luminosity. 

If you would like to make a donation to the scholarship in Allison's name, please feel free to do so on IAU's Donation Page.

For more information about the Allison Benson Memorial Scholarship, please contact 
Kurt Schick, Vice President of U.S. Operations.

Back to Top 

Support IAU on Amazon Smile
Consider supporting IAU on Amazon Smile. You shop how you normally would on, and a percentage of the proceeds goes directly to IAU. 

Support IAU on Amazon Smile

Back to Top 

Write a Review of Your Experience at IAU

Did you know that many students find IAU through Google, Facebook, and study abroad review sites? Because of this, positive reviews from our dedicated alumni help us market to prospective students. We encourage you to take a few minutes to write a thoughtful review of your time at IAU! 

  • Google - follow the link and click "Write A Review" to begin your Google review. Please note that though this shows IAU in Aix-en-Provence, reviews from all programs and locations are welcomed on this page.
  • Facebook - did you know you can review IAU on Facebook? Many alumni have already shared their wonderful experiences on Facebook, and we'd appreciate you adding your voice!
  • GoOverseas - many students go searching for study abroad programs using sites like, which compiles reviews from alumni to help prospective students find the best programs for them! Click on this link to go to IAU's page and click "Leave a Review." Pick the program that most closely aligns with the program you participated in at IAU. We appreciate it!
  • - like, similarly helps students find an abroad program that will fit their needs. Follow this link, find the program listing that most closely fits your experience, and leave a review.

We appreciate the time and effort it takes to write these reviews. If we have not listed a site above that you have used to review IAU in the past, please let us know! Thank you!

Back to Top 

Remember IAU in Your Estate Plans: The Mont Sainte-Victoire Society

IAU is extremely grateful to our alumni and other supporters who have remembered IAU in their estate planning. The Mont Saint-Victoire Legacy Society is an association for donors who have included IAU in their estate plans through a planned gift or other charitable donation.

If you have already included IAU in your estate plans, please let us know so we can honor and thank you and include you as a member of our Mont Sainte-Victoire Society.

For more information about remembering IAU in your estate plans, please contact 
Kurt Schick, Vice President of U.S. Operations.

Back to Top 

Tell a Friend About IAU or ACM

Do you have children, nieces, nephews, friends, grandchildren, or acquaintances that are in high school or college? One of the best ways to support IAU is by spreading the word to those in your community. Tell the story of your own personal experience and encourage students to learn more about study abroad programs in France, Spain, and Morocco with IAU or about degree-granting undergraduate and graduate programs in Aix-en-Provence with ACM. More information about all of our programs is at our websites: and Pass it on! 

Back to Top 

Follow IAU on Social Media 

IAU and ACM both have social media accounts on all the major platforms. We post updates from campus, opportunities for alumni, nostalgic photos of Barcelona, Aix-en-Provence, and other locations in Europe and North Africa, and more! We invite you to follow along!

IAU: FacebookInstagram | TwitterLinkedIn
ACM: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | LinkedIn

Back to Top 

Become an Alumni Ambassador

Have you heard about IAU's Alumni Ambassador Program? If you are interested in staying connected to your time abroad with IAU, spreading the word about study abroad, and sharing your love for international travel with others, then the Alumni Ambassador Program might be for you! The IAU Ambassador Program was established in 2010 as a way to organize the more than 20,000 alumni who have completed their summer, semester, J-Term, or academic year at IAU. The goal of the program is to build a volunteer corps that can best represent IAU and to develop a robust and active network of IAU students, past, present, and future. Alumni of IAU have gone on to become diplomats, businessmen and women, doctors, lawyers, teachers, and leaders in their respective fields. The IAU Ambassadors form a prestigious group designed for interested IAU alumni to share their study abroad experience with prospective students, faculty, and the study abroad office on their home campus as well as organize with other alumni to keep the IAU network strong. Over the years, the program has evolved, and now in addition to fulfilling the program's original goals, IAU Ambassadors assist with visits to other university campuses, represent IAU at Study Abroad Fairs across the United States, and organize alumni events across the nation. IAU Ambassadors are drawn from all IAU programs, academic disciplines, and class years. IAU has over 40 ambassadors representing it at over 30 universities.

Applicants must be:

  • Former IAU student from any IAU program and location
  • Able to commit about 10 hours of time per semester
  • Excited to talk about studying abroad with prospective students!

If you're interested in becoming an alumni ambassador at your current university or at your alma mater, please click the button below or email

Apply to Become an Alumni Ambassador

Back to Top 

Do you have any updates or information you would like to share in the next alumni newsletter? Contact to share your story. We'd love to hear from you!