American Academy First Commencement

American Academy First Commencement Picture or Graduates

The American Academy Celebrates First Commencement

A true milestone in the concept of international education, the American Academy celebrated its first ever Commencement in Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil on September 25th.

The American Academy is a dual-enrollment program jointly operated by Kent State University and the Pontifical Catholic University of Paraná (PUCPR). The program’s curriculum follows a Liberal Arts education model, which is a new concept in Brazilian higher education. This four-semester program includes the Kent Core as well as additional courses which help students explore different majors. The classes are taught in English by Kent State professors, so students receive a global education experience before even leaving home.

At the end of the two years at the American Academy, students will earn the Kent State University Associate of Science degree and may then complete an undergraduate degree at Kent campus, or at PUCPR. Students planning to come to Kent chose a range of majors, including Architecture, Business, Fashion Design, Computer Animation & Game Design, Computer Science, and Physics.  

Fourteen of the fifteen students who first enrolled in the program when it launched in July 2018 were the first to graduate. Enrollment has grown continuously since 2018 and is expected to exceed two hundred in two to three years. A major reason behind the program’s fast growth is its uniqueness to Brazil.

Unlike in the U.S., Brazilian universities only admit students to a specific major, with no option to change programs after admission.  The American Academy allows students two years to explore different majors while earning credit towards their bachelor’s degree, which has proven to be a very popular alternative for Brazilian students who are undecided.

The Commencement was held in a “hybrid” mode, with a small group on stage and all others attending via live stream on PUCPR’s YouTube channel so those closest to the students could share in their achievement. The stage was decorated with regalia of both Kent State University and PUCPR, and the Presidents and Provosts of both universities, as well as administrative officials, family members, friends, faculty and staff, all attended virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Graduation stoles were specifically designed for the American Academy, adding a very personal touch to the ceremony and something special for the students.

“It was a fun event but also very professionally done,” described Leslie Bowser, coordinator of the American Academy program at Kent State University. Bowser stated how truly inspiring the commencement was for all of those who attended, and even for those who watched online. Associate Provost of the Office of Global Education, Marcello Fantoni, noted in his Commencement speech, “This is mostly about the students, so let’s start with the most important part: Congratulations.”

Congratulations to the first cohort of the American Academy, and to all of those who will soon follow in their footsteps.