More than 130 years ago, American International College was established as a French Protestant College on July 18, 1885, by founder the Reverend Calvin E. Amaron. His vision and purpose was to aid the French Canadian Protestant minority in the region by granting them access to higher education and, in so doing, helping them to achieve social, cultural, and economic success.
In 1892, Rev. Amaron, by then the second president of the College after the Reverend John Morton Greene, opened the school to women, making AIC the first coeducational college in the region. The College also expanded its admission policies to include all of the minority immigrant population of Western Massachusetts, and AIC continues to this day to serve a highly diverse student body from around the world.
Just after the turn of the 20th century, faculty member and dean, George Chase, husband of Annabelle Auger (’02), the first female graduate of the “French American College,” designed the school’s official seal. It features 14 stars, representing the 13 original colonies and Canada; a fleur-de-lis and a maple leaf, both French Canadian symbols; and the Latin motto, Post Tenebras Lux, which translates to “After Darkness, Light,” referring to the enlightenment of higher education and its ability to help students achieve a brighter future. The name of AIC’s yearbook, The Taper, also reflects this theme of the light of knowledge dispelling darkness.
Over the past century, updates, redesigns and digital modernizations of AIC’s seal have been attempted, but the original design has stood the test of time. In fact, the College’s seal inspired the one used by Model Congress, and AIC’s Model Congress program is the longest-running program of its kind in the United States.
-By Ellen Dooley