Project Description

David T. McGovern 

Chairman of the Board (1989–94) and Trustee (1980–2020)

David T. McGovern was AUP’s longest-serving member of the Board of Trustees. A graduate of Yale University and Columbia University Law School and a veteran of the Korean War, McGovern came to Paris in 1967, where he founded and worked as a partner in Shearman and Sterling’s Law Offices. Beginning in 1980, McGovern, driven by a deep commitment to liberal arts education, became a trustee of The American University of Paris, following an invitation from its Board Chair, Pierre Salinger. McGovern helped guide AUP’s journey across four decades, remaining an active governor of the University right up until his death in 2020.  

During his tenure as Chairman of the Board (1989–94), he oversaw the founding of the University’s full-time faculty and also chaired two presidential searches. As a trustee, he served on numerous board committees and was present for many milestones in the development of AUP, including its change of name from the American College in Paris, the implementation of its master’s programs, the weathering of the 2008 financial crisis, and the consolidation and renovation of its campus in the 7th arrondissement of Paris.  

David McGovern – often called the American mayor of Paris – was well known in the American community in Paris for his ethic of service and his leadership of virtually every American institution in the city. The David McGovern Salon in the Combes Student Life Center is named in honor of his lifelong commitment to the University. McGovern was to be awarded an honorary degree from the University in March 2020, but sadly passed away before he could accept the title. Officers of the University will present his daughters Justine and Alexandra with his honorary degree at a celebration in Washington, DC, in December 2021.