On the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of AUP, I, Marie L. DeLamater, should like to greet everyone who was involved in the university through the years. To my own astonishment, I am still alive so many decades after my husband, Dr. Lloyd A. DeLamater, decided, against all odds, to embark on the founding of an English-speaking university along the lines of American Academia, starting with “The American College in Paris”, which then became “The American University of Paris”.
Almost everything seemed to concur against his enterprise, but as determined and passionate as he was, he did not allow defeatists to divert him from his goal. He was known for his creative spirit and passionate hard work, and he toiled day and night to bring about the birth of the new American institution of higher learning in Europe, where there was none at the time. He was prescient of its need, and many students answered his call and enrolled in it in the fall of 1962. Had he not persisted and had there been no need for it, A.C.P. would not have been created at that time.
Dr. Lloyd A. DeLamater invited Col. Karl S. Cate, a prominent and influential American, to galvanize interest in the expatriate community of Paris, called on Raymond D. Flowers, an academic high school counsellor, to publicize the upcoming existence of the new educational institution among potential college students, and entrusted Walter J. Brennan in writing the new college catalog.
We started our post-secondary educational enterprise literally without funds, without building and without student dormitory. In spite of such major obstacles, Dr. Lloyd DeLamater used his fertile enterprising spirit and found solutions to what seemed hitherto insurmountable. Lloyd and I even used our own personal savings for the one-and-a-half year preceding the opening of classes. Once students started the academic year, we chose to earn excessively low salaries during the initial years until the college became financially stable. Lloyd convinced Pastor Clayton Williams to allow us to rent classrooms on the lower floor of the American Church in Paris and we even used our own Danish furniture and Yugoslav rugs to furnish the original college premises. As a native Parisian, I easily approached numerous families who might be willing to house our students, thus finding a solution to our lack of student dormitories. Over the years, as our student body grew, so did the list of French family housing, the latter which became another source of cultural enrichment and uniqueness for our college. Many anecdotes based on student lodgings abound, a joyful and often amusing reminder of our students’ very distinctive and memorable experience. Personally, I loved organizing the cultural program and taking the students to the U.S.S.R. and on ski trips. You, the students, were part of my family.
My husband, Dr. Lloyd DeLamater, was thus the leading force in the founding of “The American College in Paris”. He wanted to create a unique educational experience expanding beyond the borders of limited nationalism. The founding of A.C.P., later to become AUP, was for Lloyd a labour of love, passion and devotion. It was a very personal creation. Our own three children often refer to the birth of the new college as the birth of our fourth child, who demanded more from us than our own. Those were the pioneer years.
The decades have passed and AUP is still afloat. It has had to adjust to the requirements of our modern age. It has grown with its own spectacular buildings in choice locations of Paris and has survived the internationally gruelling blow of the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, at my advanced age, just four years shy of being a centenarian, I wish the best to AUP, as it continues to adapt and grow. And, to all “early alumni”, I thank you most heartily for your trust in us during those fledgling years, as without you, there simply wouldn’t have been any new college! I wish you, the alumni and the new students, all the best in your quest for knowledge and in your lives.
Long live AUP and may it continue to thrive!
Affectionately to all,
Wife of AUP’s founder, Dr. Lloyd A. DeLamater