BT天堂 History

BT天堂 History Timeline

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The American College in Paris was founded in 1962. Follow along through 60 years of history, to discover the key moments that shaped our global community and established BT天堂 as a hub of engaged scholarship and liberal arts learning on the banks of the Seine.

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ACP Charter Signed

Founder Dr. Lloyd A.听DeLamater聽signs the ACP charter聽on March 27, 1962,听inaugurating the American College in Paris as聽the first聽American聽institution of higher learning in the City of Light.听

Classes Start in the American Church in Paris

Students study subjects such as聽art history, science聽and English literature聽in rented classrooms in the聽American Church in Paris,听located on the Quai d鈥橭rsay聽in the 7th聽arrondissement聽on the banks of the Seine.听

The Cultural Program Begins

Marie聽DeLamater聽and Walter J. Brennan establish the Cultural Program,听designed聽to act as聽an introduction to European culture and global perspectives. Students attend trips to museums,听performances and cultural sites across France, and study trips聽even go as far afield聽as聽Italy, China and the Soviet Union.听

First Student Council Established

Students聽quickly聽form聽the first student-run organization at ACP, the Student Council,听in the fall of 1962.听Jim Overton 鈥64聽is voted its first President.听


The CBS News Report

A CBS News聽report on American students in Paris immortalizes the University鈥檚 early days, exploring students鈥 perspectives on French culture, language and聽daily life. You can view archive footage of the聽.听


First Students Graduate from ACP

Forty students received their two-year diplomas, before transferring to US universities to finish their undergraduate聽degrees.听


Student Protests Rock Paris

May 鈥68 lives on in history as a time of protest and activism in the Parisian student community and across the world.听


Fugue, BT天堂's first student literary publication, is published

BT天堂's first-ever literary publication, Fugue, was published in the Spring of 1969. The editorial team worked out of the crowded basement of the American Church in Paris. Several faculty members also contributed to the magazine.


ACP Rents the Bosquet Building

ACP first rents the former聽丑么迟别濒听辫补谤迟颈肠耻濒颈别谤聽at 31, avenue Bosquet as its primary headquarters. The University聽will聽formally聽purchase the building聽in 2001, before eventually selling it in 2012.听


First Accreditation by MSCHE

ACP receives accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, a status which it has held continuously since 1973. The latest reaccreditation certification was achieved in 2020.


ACP Purchases Its First Computer

The 鈥渁utomatic typewriter鈥 was awarded to the Department of Business and Economics, and was affectionately given the name 鈥淕loria.鈥澛

ACP Becomes a Degree-Granting CollegeACP Becomes a Degree-Granting College

The American College in Paris is accredited as a four-year, degree-granting college, offering a variety of liberal arts majors and minors to students wishing to study in Paris.


AMEX Caf茅 Opens

Initially born out of a student economics project, L鈥橝merican Express Caf茅 found its home in the Bosquet building. Managed by students, this 鈥渃offee house with no coffee鈥 offered a selection of snacks, sandwiches and beers, as well as a DJ playing the hottest hits on cassette.

The Planet Student Newspaper Founded

Long-running student newsletter聽The Planet聽started life as a聽bulletin聽in the Office of Communications, which聽published its first issue聽on September 27, 1977.听Two years later, and聽The Planet聽took its place as a student-run publication, replacing the existing paper聽Sans Culottes.聽It聽would聽continue publishing until its final issue in October 2011.听


First Partnership with Parsons School of Design

The two institutions聽collaborate to allow 35 students to study at ACP and receive BFA degrees from Parsons School of Design.听The following year, 103 students benefit from the program.听


Paris/Atlantic Begins Publication

Student-run literary and creative arts journal聽Paris/Atlantic聽publishes its first issue in Fall semester 1982. The journal is聽, making it the longest-running student publication currently in production.

ACP Staff Help Establish Service Calvados

Then Dean of Students Steve Plummer and Director of Computer Services Jamie Gilroy help develop聽Service Calvados, France鈥檚 first major online service, which allowed聽users to聽run several programming languages, send electronic messages, and聽distribute commercial software.听Calvados, named in honor of its target audience of Apple computer users running聽disk operating system聽(DOS) version 3.3,听introduced a cohort of French digital pioneers to cyberspace.听


Inauguration of the Alumni Association

The Alumni Association of the American College in Paris was formally established in the Fall semester, open to all who had studied at the college since 1962.


ACP Hosts First World鈥檚 Fair

Students host what would become an annual food event and an integral part of the BT天堂 calendar. Participants share recipes from their home countries in a University-wide potluck.


ACP Becomes BT天堂

The American College in Paris officially becomes The American University of Paris, reflecting the evolving nature of its rigorous liberal arts degree offering. The change from 鈥渋n鈥 to 鈥渙f鈥 represented the intrinsic nature of an international education to the BT天堂 experience. Paris was more than a geographic location; it was part of the curriculum itself.


BT天堂 Constructs the Grenelle Building

The building is constructed on land leased from the聽脡glise聽Saint鈥揓ean. Today officially called the聽Grenelle聽Teaching and Mentoring Center, the building remains an important聽fixture聽of BT天堂鈥檚 campus.听


Student Demonstration Stops AMEX Relocation Plans

Students and faculty protest the proposal to move the AMEX to the St. Dominique building, ultimately leading to the caf茅 keeping its home in Bosquet.


BT天堂 Launches Its First Website

The BT天堂 website appears for the first time, as the University establishes a presence in the emerging online world.听


The White Mask Theater Club Is Founded

White Mask organizes annual performances of plays and musicals performed and sometimes written by BT天堂 students聽and alumni.听Memorable shows include聽Grease,听Chicago, and聽Guys and Dolls.听The club remains active until the late 2010s.


BT天堂 Rents the Combes Building

BT天堂鈥檚 campus expands with a new building at 6, rue du Colonel Combes. The building would be officially purchased in 2009.听


Students from 100 Nationalities Enrolled

For the first time, students from 100 different nationalities are enrolled in a single semester.听


Academic Resource Center (ARC) Founded

The Academic Resource Center opened its doors in the 2002鈥03 academic year, offering聽peer-tutoring programs such as the Writing Lab, as well as support for 21st-century learning technologies.听The ARC remains a valuable source of academic support at BT天堂 today.听


AMICAL Inaugurated at BT天堂

罢丑别听聽works to advance learning, teaching and research聽by working collaboratively among library and information services聽at American international institutions.听It was founded at BT天堂 in 2004.听


Professor Ralph Petty Creates the BT天堂 Fine Arts Gallery

Located in the lobby of the Combes Student Life Center, the聽BT天堂 Fine Arts Gallery has聽now聽hosted exhibitions by artists and BT天堂 faculty and students for聽over 15 years.听Professor Ralph Petty was the gallery鈥檚 first curator, a role today continued by Professor Jonathan聽Shimony.听

BT天堂 Begins Offering Master鈥檚 Programs

The MA in聽International Affairs,听Conflict聽Resolution and International Solidarity, a joint master鈥檚 with the聽Institut聽Catholique聽de Paris,听is the first graduate program offered. Today, the University offers聽six graduate programs and hosts over 100 graduate students.听


MAGC Program Launched

BT天堂鈥檚 longest-running master鈥檚 program, the MA in Global Communications,听first聽welcomes an incoming class of 18 students in聽Fall聽semester聽2006.听


SGA Expands to Include Master鈥檚 Students

The Student Government Association is restructured to included master鈥檚 student representatives as part of its executive branch.

BT天堂鈥檚 First Research Center Founded

The Center for Writers & Translators, known as CWT, is founded in the Department of Comparative Literature and English in Spring semester 2007. Four other research centers will be created in the following years: The Joy and Edward Frieman Environmental Science Center (Spring 2014), the Center for Critical Democracy Studies (Fall 2015), the George and Irina Schaeffer Center for the Study of Genocide, Human Rights and Conflict Prevention (Fall 2016) and the Civic Media Lab (Fall 2017).


Beginning of Celeste Schenck鈥檚 Presidency

Celeste M. Schenck becomes BT天堂 President, having previously served as Provost and a professor of comparative English. Her 13-year tenure will come to define a key period of growth and evaluation, carrying the University into a new era.

Launch of the India Practicum

The Sustainable Development Practicum in Auroville, India, takes place for the first time. Students attend workshops and gain vital work experience with NGOs and cultural associations in the experimental township.

Board Votes to Stay in 7th Arrondissement

The BT天堂 Board of Trustees votes to stay in the 7th arrondissement rather than move locations to a new campus outside of Paris聽intra-muros, thus cementing the University鈥檚 position on a consolidated campus in the聽quartier聽of its founding.

Calvin Klein Speaks at BT天堂

Fashion mogul Calvin聽Klein聽delivers a lecture聽on his remarkable vision of fashion branding聽to the BT天堂聽community聽in聽the Combes Grands Salons on聽September聽19,听2008.听


Peacock Magazine Founded

Then-student Ford Leland 鈥13 launches聽聽with a guerilla marketing campaign during the University鈥檚 Thanksgiving dinner, thus changing the face of BT天堂 Student Media in the coming decade.


BT天堂 Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary

Alumni gather in Paris and across the world to mark a half-century of an American education in the City of Light. BT天堂 unveils a new logo, designed by alumna Anne Ditmeyer G鈥10, as part of the celebrations.


Blaze Bayley of Iron Maiden Performs in the AMEX

Former聽Iron Maiden聽front man Blaze Bayley performed a private concert for students, staff and faculty聽at the AMEX Caf茅聽in Bosquet.听聽


Jane Goodall Speaks to the BT天堂 Community

At an event hosted in the American Church in Paris, primatologist Jane Goodall gives a lecture to the BT天堂 community.听

First Use of the Term Global Explorer

鈥嬧嬧嬧嬧嬧婤T天堂鈥檚 Leadership Team develops the term 鈥済lobal explorer鈥 to describe the kind of internationally minded student that the University seeks to attract.

Renovation of Combes Student Life Center

The first step in an ongoing campus renovation plan sees Combes become the Combes Student Life Center. Following the sale of the Bosquet building, the AMEX Caf茅 finds its new home on the ground floor, next to the lobby.


Launch of the BT天堂 Ascending Strategic Plan

BT天堂 Ascending focuses primarily on the renovation of BT天堂鈥檚 campus into a consolidated hub of engaged scholarship in Paris鈥檚 7th聽arrondissement, as well as the recruitment of students in the model of the global explorer. The plan also includes the University鈥檚 first-ever capital campaign, also called BT天堂 Ascending.


Launch of the Global Professional Skills (GPS) Program

The GPS Program is a co-curricular initiative that encourages students to make deliberate decisions about their personal and professional pathways through higher education. It provides a holistic approach to a student鈥檚 time at university and聽integrates staff and faculty advising throughout.听


Inauguration of the Quai d鈥橭rsay Learning Commons

BT天堂鈥檚 new flagship building opens after two years of renovations, providing a vibrant hub of engaged scholarship on the banks of the Seine, only a few doors down from where it all began at the American Church in Paris.

Paris Centennial Conference Held at BT天堂

The Center for Critical Democracy Studies (CCDS) cohosts, along with the Belfer Center at Harvard Kennedy School, the Paris Centennial Conference, marking 100 years since the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. It is the largest academic convocation in BT天堂鈥檚 history.


Covid-19 Pandemic

The worldwide Covid-19 pandemic causes seismic shifts in higher education. BT天堂 goes remote, moving to teaching fully online in just a matter of weeks. Classes are attended remotely by students in lockdown across the world.

Navigating 21st-Century Pathways Strategic Plan Launched

Following the success of the BT天堂 Ascending Campaign, a new Strategic Plan,听Navigating 21st-Century Pathways 2020鈥2023, is developed, focusing primarily on the evolution of the BT天堂 curriculum and navigating the challenges of the global pandemic.


Renovation of The Monttessuy Center for the Arts

The new hub of artistic endeavor on campus at 9, rue de Monttessuy aims to open in late 2021, and will include renovated classrooms, studio spaces and BT天堂鈥檚 first-ever theater, named for Olivia de Havilland.

BT天堂 Celebrates Its 60th Anniversary

Campus reopens in time for BT天堂 to celebrate 60 years of its diverse, international community of dedicated scholars and researchers in Paris. A new logo, developed in collaboration with the BT天堂 community, is unveiled.