Dr. Celeste M. Schenck
President of The American University of Paris, 2008–22
In 2008, Dr. Celeste M. Schenck became the 12th president of The American University of Paris – the second woman to assume leadership of the University and the first president to have risen from its professorial ranks. Dr. Schenck received her BA summa cum laude from Princeton University and her PhD from Brown University. In her nearly three decades at AUP, Dr. Schenck has served as a Professor of Comparative Literature as well as in various leadership roles, including as Provost, where she oversaw a major review of general education and the founding of both AUP’s first master’s program and its Academic Resource Center.
Her achievements as President include two successfully completed strategic plans, the second of which included the University’s first-ever capital campaign, AUP Ascending, which raised €26 million euros, and the commencement of a third plan, titled Navigating 21st-Century Pathways 2020–23, which aims to reform the University’s curriculum and further promote its international reach. She is also known for establishing the University’s Leadership Team, developing a residential life program for incoming students, founding AUP’s research centers, and successfully completing a five-year campus redevelopment program, including the acquisition of the Quai d’Orsay Learning Commons and, most recently, the Monttessuy Center for the Arts.
In 2004, Schenck co-founded AMICAL, a consortium of 29 American universities across Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa, which hold in common the mission of sharing resources, technologies, curricular projects and student–faculty collaborations. She has also served as president of the Association of American International Colleges and Universities (AAICU) and as a member of the G20, a group of visionary liberal arts college presidents in the United States.
President Schenck will step down from her role in summer 2022, at the end of AUP’s 60th anniversary, after 13 years at the head of AUP. She leaves an impressive legacy, and our community will be forever grateful for her commitment to ensuring that AUP is today the premier American institution of higher learning in Europe.