Update on Our Paris American Academy Friends and Colleagues

Dear Members of the Kent State University Community,

As many of you know, the Paris American Academy’s historic building, which has served as Kent State’s Paris home for 16 years, was destroyed last week in a fiery explosion, believed to have been caused by a gas leak.

We are so thankful that our nine fashion students, studying there at the time, were away from the building and unharmed. Tragically, not the same can be said for Paris American Academy President and Academic Director Peter Carman. Peter is fighting for his life in a Paris hospital, having suffered severe and extensive burns in the explosion. Further, Nicole Douvry, a longtime Paris American Academy adjunct faculty member, is hospitalized in critical condition. Additionally, Anne Bizet, also a longtime faculty member, is unaccounted for. Authorities have found remains on the scene but have yet to release further information. These individuals are among our colleagues and friends in our work as a global university.

Many among us are taking the news about Peter very, very hard. He has been an exemplary partner and invaluable Kent State supporter for many years. He is a part of our Flashes family and embodies our values of kindness and respect. In fact, everyone associated with Kent State’s activities in Paris with whom I’ve spoken over the past week has noted that Peter is one of the kindest and most considerate people they know.

Peter Carman, president and academic director of the Paris American Academy

Pictured (from left to right) are: Peter Carman, president and academic director of the Paris American Academy; Salma Benhaida, Kent State’s director of international recruitment and admissions; Marcello Fantoni, Kent State’s vice president for global education; and Fantoni’s daughter, Costanza Fantoni.

Our vice president for global education, Marcello Fantoni, is in Paris and has visited the hospital where Peter remains in intensive care in a medically induced coma. Here are some thoughts from Marcello:

“I have known Peter Carman for many years, and it has been a privilege and an inspiration working with him. He is a special person to me and to everybody who knows him. Peter is the true soul of the Paris American Academy. The school is his life and his family. His kind touch transpires in everything that he does. I wholeheartedly wish he will soon be back leading the school and continuing the beautiful projects he developed with Kent State University.”

We are working to continue Kent State’s education-abroad programs in Paris at a different location. This fall, our students will once again have ample opportunity to study in this remarkable city. What’s most important, as I know that you know, are the lives and well-being of those who are dear to us. Of course, it’s been a swirl of emotions in the wake of the explosion. I know that you’ll keep everyone affected in your thoughts and your prayers. Please let this experience help you re-center your perspective. Let’s be grateful for all that we have, and let’s move forward with kindness and respect in our service to education, to our university, and in our relationships with one another.


Todd Diacon

POSTED: Wednesday, June 28, 2023 04:26 PM
Updated: Wednesday, June 28, 2023 04:30 PM