History of Study Abroad
Centennial Celebration Committee
The Center for Global Programs and Services is leading a committee to coordinate UD’s 100th anniversary of study abroad celebrations. The committee is co-chaired by Matt Drexler, Director, Study Abroad and Amy Greenwald Foley, Director, Global Outreach & Partnerships, and includes committee members representing units across campus:
Lauren Simione, Associate Vice President
Lisa Gensel, Coordinator
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
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
Krystal Santos Director, Strategic Planning, Admissions
Albert Shields, Director, Business & Economic Development
Michael Chajes, Dean
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 looks forward to the centennial celebration of study abroad at UD and in the U.S. in 2023! While the official "birthday" of UD Abroad is July 7, we will be celebrating 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.
We would love to hear from you about your interest and own history with study abroad at UD so that we can include you in planning a celebration that highlights the impact and significance of study abroad from many perspectives. The Office of the Provost has charged the Center for Global Programs and Services (CGPS) with forming a centennial celebration committee.
We invite you to use this form to share your ideas, your story, your photos and videos, and any suggestions for our committee. Please check this page for an updated calendar of events planned for 2023-2024.
CULTIVATING CITIZENS OF THE WORLD
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.
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.
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.