Jeff Durgee ’64 came to the American College in Paris with his family in 1962. At the time ACP was a two-year college, so, like most members of the Founding Classes, Jeff went on to study at other universities – in this case the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Pittsburgh, where he earned respectively a master’s and PhD in sociology. He went on to have a 37-year career in marketing, working with packaged-goods companies like Procter & Gamble and Kodak.

Jeff’s short time at ACP nonetheless made a lasting impression on his life. Sixty years after his arrival in Paris, he reflected on what his experience meant to him. “I remember thinking: these people are so inspiring, and they have PhDs! I have to have a PhD too. Everybody spoke so many languages; I had to learn more languages too.” In the 1960s many professors from the world’s top universities would visit AUP while traveling through Paris on sabbatical. One such professor, a renowned sociologist from Dartmouth, inspired Jeff to pursue an education in sociology and a career in marketing research.

In 2021, Jeff made a generous gift to what is now AUP to support student scholarships, in the form of a Qualified Charitable Distribution from his IRA – which had an immediate impact. When asked why he gives to AUP, Jeff said: “I considered how unique the University was and what it did for me. I would like other students to have the same opportunity to have those types of experiences.” Studying in Paris, at the confluence of history, art and global politics, is a truly unique experience; Jeff’s generosity will enable current and future AUP students to continue doing so. “I want all that to be available for young people going forward,” he explained