European Union Policy Studies

Countdown to the 10th Year Anniversary

Rower over the Arno in Florence

In less than one month, dozens of alumni, faculty, current students, and colleagues will meet in Florence to reflect on the last ten years of James Madison University’s M.A. program in political science with a concentration in European Union Policy Studies. This year marks ten years since the EUPS program’s first semester in 2007, when JMU ignited an academic effort to immerse likeminded students in the importance of the European Union, and principally, the transatlantic relationship.

Much like the EU itself, the EUPS program was a novel experiment that brought together individuals from distinct backgrounds and required great cooperation, rigor, and faith. This May, the 10-Year Anniversary Celebration will celebrate those values, as well as the immense growth, opportunities, and connections that the EUPS program has generated over the last decade. The 17 initial program alumni in 2008 have been joined by 121 additional alums over the years—the program now boasts 138 confident, worldly, well-trained professionals pursuing a wide variety of successful careers.

The anniversary weekend will not just celebrate the program itself, but the great accomplishments of EUPS alumni and the unstoppable efforts of the program’s greatest supporters and faculty. Through planning the 10-year Anniversary Celebration (and subsequently pining over months of nostalgia and reflection) I’ve come to a realization: that our common experience of spending ~365 days in one of the world’s most beautiful cities has opened up a door to lifelong relationships, both within and outside of our own cohorts. I have had the pleasure of working hand-in-hand with Dr. John Scherpereel, Aimee Cipicchio (‘08), Elizabeth Duda (‘11), Liz Hammer (‘14), Mark Massey (‘15) and Peg Schmelzinger (‘15), all of whom I’ve gotten to know well since we first started planning in February 2016. I only look forward to developing deeper connections with those on the ground in Florence that work day in and day out to make the EUPS program so special.

And as if that weren’t enough, many of us will have the unique opportunity to bond with 40+ EUPS alumni and current students who care not just about Florence and the European Union, but the EUPS program of which we are proud to call ourselves alumni. Whether that be at the opening night’s aperitivo, walks along the Arno, or the Saturday evening gala, there will be many opportunities to get to know fellow alumni, their friends, and families.

For those alumni who we will miss in Florence this year, I know the celebration and the connections it builds will better equip us to cross paths in the future. There are alumni from my (2014) graduation cohort who are unable to join, but are doing amazing things. I am certain there are many of you out there doing the same, and I know that the EUPS program will create more opportunities for us to meet in the near future.

Having been in the planning stages for over a year, I have been delightfully overwhelmed by the support the EUPS program has received – support that reflects so honorably on the program itself and the unforgettable experience that so many of us have had the privilege to call our own. Just like the program’s celebratory roots in connecting two influential continents, the 10-year celebration will build and strengthen connections, fostering relationships that will certainly endure far past May 7, 2017.

Written by Abby Ware (EUPS Class of 2014)

Published: Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Last Updated: Wednesday, January 2, 2019

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