History of Study Abroad

Centennial Celebration Committee

The Center for Global Programs and Services was charged by the Office of the Provost to lead the committee to coordinate UD’s 100th anniversary of study abroad celebrations. The committee was co-chaired by Matt Drexler, Director, Study Abroad and Amy Greenwald Foley, Director, Global Outreach & Partnerships, and included committee members representing units across campus:

Alumni Engagement

Lauren Simione, Associate Vice President


Lisa Gensel, Coordinator

Biden Institute

Cathy McLaughlin, Executive Director

Joseph R. Biden, Jr. School of Public Policy & Administration

Maria Aristigueta, Professor

College of Agriculture & Natural Resources

Karen Aniunas Associate Dean, Strategic Initiatives

College of Arts & Sciences

Wendy Bellion, Associate Dean

Alfred Lerner College of Business & Economics

Jennifer Gregan, Senior Assistant Dean

College of Engineering

Ann Lewandowski, Chief of Staff & Senior Advisor to the Dean

College of Education & Human Development

Gary Henry, Dean

College of Earth, Ocean & Environment

Fabrice Veron, Interim Dean

Center for Global Programs & Services

Ravi Ammigan, Associate Provost, International Programs

Stephanie Ferrell, Communications Specialist

College of Health Sciences

Amy Hagstrom, Director, Global Initiatives

Corporate Engagement

Tracy Shickel, Associate Vice President

Office of Development & Alumni Relations

Ruth Rosenberg, Senior Director of Development

Department of Foreign Languages & Literatures

Chad Gasta, Chair

Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

Michael Vaughan, Vice Provost

English Language Institute

Karen Asenavage, Associate Director

Enrollment Management

Krystal Santos Director, Strategic Planning, Admissions

Government Relations

Albert Shields, Director, Business & Economic Development


Michael Chajes, Dean

International Admissions

Song Hoffman, Director

Institutional Research & Effectiveness

Heather Kelly, Director


Lisa Chieffo, Past Associate Director, Study Abroad

Library, Museums & Press

Trevor Dawes, Vice Provost

Office of Communications & Marketing

Katy O'Connell, Sr. Director, College Communications

Division of Student Life

Nathan Elton, Executive Director, Student Success

Celebrating 100 Years of UD Study Abroad

The University of Delaware celebrated a century of study abroad at UD and in the U.S. in 2023!  While the official "birthday" of UD Abroad is July 7, we celebrated throughout the 2023-2024 academic year with our students, faculty, almuni and partners around the world. Read the President's message about the impact of our pioneering history.



Studying abroad can be a transformational experience for students—opening a world of possibilities, career pathways and personal growth. While every student should be able to participate in at least one study abroad program, finances can be a barrier for some.

Your gift of any size can help Blue Hens expand their language, intercultural and academic knowledge while providing them with life-changing opportunities to grow as individuals.

For example, gifts can cover expenses like the following:

  • $100: suitcase
  • $150: passport
  • $200: extracurricular excursions/experiences
  • $1,000: food for one month for a semester-long program

Together, we can provide UD students with unparalleled experiences that can change the course of their lives.

make a gift


Our History 

In 1923, America's first study abroad program was launched at the University of Delaware when a young professor walked into the president's office with a daring plan: to send students abroad for their junior year.

Prof. Raymond W. Kirkbride, an instructor in the Modern Languages Department and a WWI veteran, had seen firsthand what disagreements between nations could do. Kirkbride had seen smoldering ruins and burned-out buildings across the French countryside. But he had also met, and greatly enjoyed, the French, and understood the potential that travel and study had for promoting cross-cultural understanding. And now, in 1921, he was home in Newark, standing before the desk of University president Walter S. Hullihen, pitching his idea to send students to France for their junior year.

A lesser president might have thrown the upstart Kirkbride out of his office. Study abroad was unheard of, and America's isolationist tendencies were still strong, so soon after the war. But Hullihen recognized that the Delaware Foreign Study Plan (which came to be known as the Junior Year Abroad) had far-reaching influence. It would, as Hullihen saw it, produce better-rounded students, train future foreign language teachers and provide experience for students who wanted to pursue international careers.

The logistics of setting up a year of study abroad were daunting, especially as the University refused to fund Kirkbride's research efforts in France. So Kirkbride and Hullihen turned to prominent private and public figures for assistance and support. In Washington, D.C., Hullihen met with then-Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover, who heartily endorsed the Plan; closer to home, Hullihen enlisted the support of regional philanthropists and businessmen, including Pierre S. du Pont. Their hard work, and the generosity of private donors, resulted in the creation of America's first study abroad program.

On July 7, 1923, the first Delaware group sailed for France aboard the Rochambeau. Kirkbride's group of eight juniors included Austin P. Cooley, Francis J. Cummings, David Dougherty, Herbert L. Lank, William K. Mendenhall, J. Cedric Snyder, T. Russell Turner and J. Winston Walker. After six weeks of intensive language immersion at Nancy, they moved to Paris, where Lank met his future wife, where Turner became a basketball hero and where Turner and Cummings won the Sorbonne's highly coveted diploma of French civilization.

The first Junior Year Abroad was a success, and the University continued to send student groups to France, and later to Switzerland and Germany. Students from a number of colleges and universities, including Columbia, Penn, Wellesley, Wesleyan, Brown, Smith, Harvard and Princeton participated in the program, and between 1923 and 1948, 902 students spent their junior year abroad with the University of Delaware.

In 1948, the Delaware Foreign Study Plan was discontinued because of post-War conditions in Europe and a new University president who felt that foreign study was not a priority.

But the Delaware Foreign Study Plan had made an impact, especially among its participants. As early as 1930, the "Delforians" were holding reunions, publishing alumni directories and newsletters and holding regional alumni get-togethers. When World War II broke out, the group began a campaign to finance "Delforian Ambulances for France," according to University of Delaware archives. In 1987, members of the XIIIth Group held their 50th reunion - in Paris, where they had first met.

Study abroad resumed in 1972, as the University instituted "Winterim," a short semester between the fall and spring sessions. Early Winterim destinations included London, Paris, Rome, Vienna, Munich, Berlin and Hamburg; Geneva became one of the most popular Winterim destinations and ran almost continuously for 40 years. So many students took advantage of the opportunity to spend their winter break abroad that Delaware could book large airplanes exclusively for the students. Pan American Airlines painted the fuselages of two airplanes with the words "Delaware Clipper." The English department also launched a study abroad program in London, which was the first of the semester abroad programs. Eventually, Winterim study abroad evolved into its own University department, Overseas Studies, which ultimately became part of the Center for Global Programs & Services.

UD remains a national leader and innovator in study abroad. Today, more than 30% of students study abroad at least once before graduation. CGPS offers 100+ programs on six-- at times, all seven--continents and in nearly every academic discipline. The pioneering spirit of Prof. Kirkbride lives on in the first-of-their-kind UD World Scholars Program and Delaware Diplomats Scholarship Program


#UDIntlCoffeeHour | #UDAbroad | #UDWorldScholar | #DEDiplomat

Photo of the members of the first UD Study Abroad program (1923) at the "Golden Gates" in the Place Stanis las Nancy. Left to right: David M. Doughery, Austin P. Cooley, John C. Snyder, Herbert H. Lank, Prof. Raymond Kirkbride, Francis J. Cummings, William K. Mendenhall, T. Russell Turner, John W. Walker.