Subscribe to our email list
MUDEC Méinden Fall 2020 #7
MUDEC Méinden Fall 2020 #7
Miami UniversityJohn E. Dolibois European Center logo
MUDEC Méinden-Weekly news from the MUDEC community for the MUDEC community-#lifelongMUDEC

Fall 2020 #7-Au Revoir Dean Thierry Leterre Edition

 October 5, 2020

Due to a variety of timing issues, our MUDEC Méinden tribute to Dean Thierry Leterre did not come together in time to publish it previously. With MUDEC classes out on Study Tour this week, we hope you enjoy this tribute edition to Dean Leterre, who poured his heart and soul into MUDEC during his term as Dean from 2009-2020.
Thierry Leterre with the Miami flag
Thierry Leterre was always flying the flag for MUDEC
  • Claudine Bechet-Metz
  • Kelly Bennett
  • Ryan Bennett
  • Olivia Casey
  • Guy de Muyser
  • Brian Domino
  • Emily Garforth
  • Katie Grady
  • Alex King
  • Hailey Kingsbury
  • Sarah Kingsbury
  • Carlo Klein
  • Mark Peterson
  • Elijah Pittman
  • MUDEC Advisory Board
  • Anne Schwartz
  • Jim Shiveley
  • Claire Spencer
  • Catherine Wegman
  • Carli Williams

Claudine Bechet-Metz
MUDEC Professor

Claudine Bechet-Metz
Claudine Bechet-Metz
Thank you Thierry.
Thank you for giving me this unique opportunity to teach art history at MUDEC and to thus allow me to return to my very personal passions, the passion of art and the passion of sharing and transmitting knowledge.
Thank you for having encouraged me throughout the last few years by approving all of my ideas for cultural field trips, as diverse as they were.
Finally, thank you for your numerous philosophical interactions in my class. By explaining, always with great enthusiasm, Neoplatonism to the students, you were able to enlighten them on the philosophical inspirations of the greatest artists of the Renaissance.
I hope that this exchange will continue in the future.
Bonne route! 

Kelly Bennett
MUDEC Spring 2010

Dean Leterre and Kelly Bennett
Dean Leterre and Kelly Bennett
Cheers to you, Dean Leterre. Thank you for your contribution to MUDEC and for providing so many students with life-changing experiences during our time abroad. I along with many others (including two of my siblings, Caroline Spring '13 and Ryan Spring '15) are grateful for your leadership and enthusiastic spirit as we learned some of life's biggest lessons during those few months. I'm still close with the friends I met during Spring '10, and each New Years Eve we go on a trip and discover a new city together. If we're lucky, maybe one day we'll end up back in Luxembourg.
Wishing you all the best and sending you all my gratitude and thanks from across the pond.
Kelly Bennett (MUDEC Spring 2010)

Ryan Bennett
MUDEC Spring 2015

Ryan Bennett and friends on a canal in Amsterdam
Ryan Bennett and friends on a canal in Amsterdam
Dean Leterre,
It’s difficult to imagine the number of young minds you shaped while serving as Dean of MUDEC. The advice, encouragement, and inspiration you granted us through our semester’s motto of “adapt and adopt” will stay with me forever.  Truly appreciate your dedication to ensuring the students were offered diverse curriculum, but also (and even more importantly) ensuring we learned through experience. You encouraged us to travel, take in the culture, learn from the new environments. You will be missed, and I wish you the best in your next endeavors. Merci villmols!  Thanks again.
Ryan Bennett (SFC President, Spring 2015)

Olivia Casey
MUDEC Spring 2020

Olivia Casey and Dean Leterre at the
Olivia Casey and Dean Leterre at the "COVID" last BBQ, March 2020
Olivia Casey and Dean Leterre at the
Olivia Casey and Dean Leterre at the "COVID" last BBQ, March 2020

Guy de Muyser
MUDEC Professor-emeritus

Guy de Muyser
Guy de Muyser
Dear Thierry,
Your departure from Miami’s Differdange Center will most regrettably put an end to years of close personal relations and academic collaboration, which I shall always remember as particularly positive, interesting, productive, rewarding and pleasant.
I hope, or rather I am sure, that our paths will cross again!
To you, to Adrienne, I send my warmest good wishes for a successful and happy personal and professional future. 
Guy de Muyser

Brian Domino
MUDEC Professor Multiple Semesters

Thierry Leterre (gray hat) outside of Château de la Brède
Thierry Leterre (gray hat) outside of Château de la Brède
Shortly after the end of his second term in 1585, the mayor of Bordeaux was forced to vacate his château to protect his family from the plague ravaging his city. On the way, he witnessed peasants literally digging their own graves. This was not an auspicious beginning to Montaigne’s retirement, but he managed not only to survive but to accomplish quite a bit of writing, most notably revising and expanding on his celebrated Essais. One thread running throughout the book is Montaigne’s intellectual generosity, his disposition to overlook customary distinctions, and to focus on an individual’s intrinsic worth. In my experience, Thierry embodies that intellectual generosity.
I confess that this generosity was not immediately obvious. My earliest memory of Thierry goes back to my second day at MUDEC. My excitement at coming to Luxembourg for the first time was only enhanced by the news that I was assigned to the “President’s Suite” in the château. In my head were the similarly named opulent hotel rooms that I had seen only in movies. The reality before me as I unlocked the door to my new abode was, shall we say, a bit more modest. The next day, I asked Thierry how my apartment got its name. “That’s where the President stays when he visits.” Not really thinking the logistics through, I asked what would happen to me in that event. Taking advantage of my jet-lagged brain, Thierry deadpanned “That’s why there’s a couch in your office.”
Over the nearly four years that I spent at MUDEC, I experienced that generosity almost daily. It allowed me to teach philosophy as I think it should be taught, and to pursue ideas and approaches to the discipline that others would have dismissed as quirky. Because of his support and encouragement, I was able to pursue the vaulted “life of the mind” to an extent that recalled the heady days of graduate school. I also came to appreciate the Miami motto, “To think that in such a place, I led such a life” and for that I will always be grateful to Thierry. As he transitions to a new chapter of his life, I selfishly hope that I will continue to receive his impeccably timed email prods to continue my research.

Emily Garforth
MUDEC Spring 2019

Spring 2019 Banquet group picture
Spring 2019 Banquet group Instax picture

Katie Grady
MUDEC Student Activites Coordinator 2013-2015

Adrienne Chang, Thierry Leterre, and Katie Grady
Adrienne Chang, Thierry Leterre, and Katie Grady at the "Cannes Film Festival" Evening at the Chateau, June 2015
I will always be grateful to Thierry for his leadership as MUDEC Dean and his kindness as my chateau neighbor. When I think of my two years serving on Thierry’s staff as Student Activities Coordinator, it is his inclusiveness that comes to mind. He welcomed ideas from every student on how to expand their experience in Luxembourg. Any project the Student Faculty Council dreamed up (from hosting a European Quidditch Tournament, to planting trees in the community garden, to turning the chateau into a Halloween haunted house for the local children of Differdange), Thierry found a way to make it happen.
And his inclusiveness expanded out into the community, both opening the doors of the chateau to our neighbors and opening doors in the community to the students. Seeing students engaged with the Differdange schools, with the service-learning organizations, and now as interns with Luxembourgish companies is a testament to Thierry’s commitment to expand the reach of MUDEC’s student involvement.
And perhaps most special to me, is Theirry’s continued inclusiveness of the MUDEC community. As a neighbor, his dinner invitations to visiting professors and staff in his home, created a sense of family even when far away from home. And his idea to extend the reach of the weekly newsletter to alumni, campus partners and parents has allowed us to stay connected with a program that remains so special to us.
Thierry has been an influential presence on the MUDEC campus for over a decade and his enthusiasm and passion for this program has provided an incredible opportunity for thousands of Miami students. I (and all the students you impacted) thank you, Thierry, and wish you luck in your next adventure!

Alex King
MUDEC Spring 2020

MUDEC 2020 Spring class with 3 Miami flags in front of the Porta Nigra
MUDEC 2020 Spring class at the Porta Nigra in Trier
While my time at MUDEC was cut short due to COVID-19, the brief experience I had with Dean Leterre was absolutely memorable. Never before had I seen a dean or administrator become so involved with their students! Dean Leterre was always genuinely interested in his students' experiences, always finding opportunities to talk to them about classes or weekend travel. He made an effort to eat lunch with his students and get to know each and every one of them. He was also quite entertaining, always giving us funny anecdotes whenever he got up to speak. All of this (and more) coming from Dean Leterre made the Chateau Differdange feel like a home for many of us--even though we were half a world away from home! Cheers for the future, and thanks for all of your hard work, Dean Leterre!
Love and Honor,
Alex King

Hailey Kingsbury
MUDEC Spring 2020

Dean Leterre dancing on the back patio
Dean Leterre dancing on the back patio at the "COVID" last BBQ, March 2020
It is strange to think of Château in Differdange without Dean Leterre. In between classes, I would always see him swiftly moving from room to room while greeting all of us students. Dean Leterre has such a positive personality; I never saw him without a smile on his face. Being one of the first people we were introduced to at MUDEC, Dean Leterre instantly made me feel welcome and excited about the adventures of the semester.
On the first integration day, when all of us students were jet-lagged and trying to keep awake, I remember Dean Leterre walking up to the front of the Grand Hall, giving us an effusive welcome, and cracking jokes during what would be an otherwise monotonous presentation. He was not putting on a show. It simply just who he was: a genuinely outgoing, passionate, and humorous individual.
One of my favorite memories of Dean Leterre is from the Farewell Barbeque that was held on Thursday, March 12 (the day when MUDEC was canceled). Despite the high emotions and stress of the day, the barbeque was a very enjoyable time! Everyone was chatting and there was music playing in the background. It was starting to die down when Dean Leterre started dancing during "Fireball" (video proof below). Needless to say, it picked the party up again and gave everyone a good laugh!
Even when we switched to online learning for the remainder of the semester, Dean Leterre was extremely responsive to all of my emails. Often, he would respond in under an hour! Despite all of the responsibilities Dean Leterre had as the dean at MUDEC, he always placed the students first.
Thank you to Dean Leterre for everything that he has done for the MUDEC program! Best wishes!
Hailey Kingsbury, Spring 2020

Sarah Kingsbury
MUDEC Spring 2018

Sarah Kingsbury sitting on a road
Sarah Kingsbury 
Dear Dean Leterre,
Thank you for all your service to MUDEC and Miami University over the past 11 years! You have been consistently innovative, thoughtful, and optimistic about MUDEC over the years and have touched the lives of hundreds of students. I don't think I exaggerate when I claim that a semester abroad in Luxembourg is usually the best semester of college that students experience; I know that was certainly the case for me! I absolutely loved being on the Oxford campus, but there's a lot of magic in Luxembourg that you have been part of creating over the past decade. 
I am specifically appreciative of how supportive you were of my independent study in religion that I conducted in Luxembourg. Your interest in the project coupled with your willingness to help in any way are qualities I'm very grateful for in a dean. I hope you continue to be connected to MUDEC over the coming years and that you feel you are part of a large Miami family. 
Thank you for all you have done!
Sarah Kingsbury, MUDEC Spring 2018

Carlo Klein
MUDEC Professor

Carlo Klein with Thierry Leterre and Adrienne Chang
Carlo Klein with Thierry Leterre and Adrienne Chang
I just want to thank Thierry for the trust he had in me to teach International Economics to Mudec students for 10 years
I always enjoyed our discussions about economics, politics or any other topic; discussions where we shared a lot of common ideas
All the best for your future! Carlo

MUDEC Advisory Board

MUDEC Advisory Board at a meeting
MUDEC Advisory Board at their last face-to-face meeting in Oxford, June 2019
Thierry Leterre "Altruisme" Award

To be first presented in 2020, the Thierry Leterre "Altruisme" Award recognizes an alumni who attended Miami University's Dolibois European Center (MUDEC). As a distinguished participant in MUDEC's Service Learning program, the awardee has demonstrated continued dedication to and leadership in community service, nonprofit or related work since graduation from Miami. The award honors Dean Thierry Leterre, who during his 11-year tenure as Dean of MUDEC, conceptualized and instituted MUDEC's Service Learning program, which provides multiple ways for MUDEC students and faculty to give back to the local Differdange, Luxembourg community and create ties of mutual respect and support. 

Criteria and Evaluation
Nominations for the Leterre Altruisme Award may be made by any member of the Miami community: faculty, staff, alumni or friend.  The nominee will have been a notable contributor to MUDEC's Service Learning program as a student (as of Fall 2013) and exhibited a continued track record of volunteer or community service thereafter, both at Miami and since graduation, which may be evidenced in various ways.  Nominees will be presented via an online form to the MUDEC Alumni Advisory Board for consideration for this annual award.  MUDEC faculty are included in the evaluation of each nomination.
Selection and Recognition
Awardees, once confirmed by the MUDEC Alumni Board and Miami administration, will be presented with a plaque and formal Miami recognition honoring the recipient's sustained commitment to community service, linking the MUDEC Service Learning experience to a dedication to improving the lives of others through service.

Mark Peterson
MUDEC Professor 2018-2019

Mark Peterson with Thierry Leterre at the Chateau
Mark Peterson with Thierry Leterre at the Château
One of the things I most appreciated about Thierry when I was in Luxembourg was our chats on every subject under the sun from the refugee crisis in Europe to pedagogical strategies in social science teaching to European pop culture icons that hadn't gone global. Often I'd drop in to ask a question to clarify some aspect of my position MUDEC and end up chatting for 40 minutes!
Another of the most significant things about Thierry was his willingness to put himself out for the students. I've watched him leave an intense, thoughtful analytical discussion with me about contemporary power relations in Europe to walk into an auditorium full of boisterous students and turn into a grinning, affable and earthy uncle figure students would feel comfortable approaching
When I spoke with Luxembourgers, and especially the people of Differdange, about my work and my students, it became clear that to most of them, Thierry was MUDEC. He was for me, too.

Elijah Pittman
MUDEC Spring 2019

Eli Pittman and his girlfriend Callie insisde the Colosseum in Rome
Eli Pittman and his girlfriend Callie insisde the Colosseum in Rome
One of the first few weeks of summer, while the Château was essentially closed, my now girlfriend (who was in Europe guiding a Miami trip to Dijon, France) and I headed to the castle. I wanted to show her the unbelievable place I had been living and studying for the past several months
The doors to the castle were all locked - it was that week between students leaving and the summer kids had yet to arrive. So, we snuck around back, so I could at least show  her the trees and open space of the backyard.
Lo and behold, there was Dean Leterre reading on the back porch in a Hawaiian shirt and a visor soaking in some summer rays. Initially I thought I was busted, but as we made eye contact he smiled, and we both waved. I introduced him to my partner, and they jumped into speaking in French and laughing at jokes I couldn’t understand. He told us he was reading a book about Fascism, as it fit the world we were living in. He then offered me the key to the Chateau so I could show my partner around, which I did.
It was eerie showing her the place that had been so full of life and people seizing the moment to see as much as they could, as it was now completely empty and silent. The Chateau that day felt almost sacred, but then I realized the Dean was welcoming us into his home.
That was what I loved about Dean Leterre, he was always so eager to meet strangers and incredibly willing to help open any doors that one of us in that MUDEC group needed to open. I hope I will run into him on some street in America or otherwise, and we can share another laugh as to how beautifully capricious the world can be when you keep good company.
Elijah Pittman
MUDEC Spring 2019

Anne Schwartz
MUDEC Dean's Assistant

Carli Williams, Dumbeldore, and Anne Schwartz
Carli Williams, Dumbledore Leterre, and Anne Schwartz

Jim Shiveley
MUDEC Curriculum Coordinator

Students and school officials with Dean Leterre
Summer Camp 2019
Thank you Thierry for your time and commitment to MUDEC. Speaking as a faculty member who has had the opportunity and privilege to teach at MUDEC a couple of times, I wanted to thank you for your consistent hospitality to all of us. You were a most gracious host - whether it was for an evening meal in your apartment, regular weekly update meetings, or the late night visit to an apartment to check on a blown fuse - you were always available to us. Thank you too for your willingness to work with us and to support new programs and projects. One example that comes to mind is your leadership in helping to create the English Language Learners summer camp (see picture). Thanks again, and we look forward to working with you in the future.
Jim Shiveley

Claire Spencer
MUDEC Spring 2017

Claire Spencer and friend in front of the Chateau
Claire Spencer and friend in front of the Château
Dean Leterre is such an inspiration for this program.  I remember on our first day, while we all were sitting in the ballroom waiting to see just what we had walked into, he was one of the first to speak. For a lot of us, to be in the same room as a Dean was new, and little did we know how involved Dean Leterre would truly be in our experience.  

I was fortunate enough to be a part of the Student Faculty Council, and I was able to work beside Dean Leterre and my classmates and truly get to know one another and work for a better program. I admire his willingness to listen and work with the students to find solutions that worked best for everyone.

I was fortunate enough to run into Dean Leterre a couple of times back in Oxford, and it was always nice seeing a piece of Luxembourg back in the states.  I hope one day to return and catch up and relive old times Congrats Dean Leterre! You deserve all of the best of retirement!

Claire Spencer, Spring 2017

Catherine Wegman
MUDEC Spring 2020

Catehrine Wegman and friends with a snowman at the Chateau
Catherine Wegman and friends with a snowman at the Chateau
It was really special to have an academic mentor like him; someone we could feel comfortable talking to regarding school and personal life, we enjoyed spending time with, and made us feel like we were truly cared for while at MUDEC. It’s sad that we didn’t get to spend the entire semester together, but our (half) semester in Luxembourg wouldn’t have been the same without Dean Leterre!

Attached is a picture of myself and a few other girls with the snowman version of Dean Leterre, Snowy Snowterre :)

Miss you and Lux! 
Catherine Wegman

Carli Williams
MUDEC Coordinator for Communication and Studen Engagement, 2015-2018

Joseph Vari, Carli Williams and Dean Leterre
 Joseph Vari, Carli Williams and Dean Leterre
While his official title at MUDEC has been Dean Leterre, Thierry has been so much more than this title can hold. Thinking back, it’s been almost a decade since I first met Thierry and this first meeting is such a demonstration of his character and care for everyone at MUDEC, including students, faculty, staff, and the community. I was registered to attend MUDEC the next semester and had interest in completing a specific research project. With no prior research experience, Thierry still agreed to meet with me during his next visit to Oxford. Now knowing how jam-packed Dean Letterre’s Oxford visits were meeting with Deans, professors, and other academics, it astonishes me that he intentionally made the time in his schedule for me.
But, this is not a unique story. Dean Leterre always had time for students. It's a true testament to this kind of person he is, going above and beyond to care for everyone that touches MUDEC. At the time, I couldn’t believe that a Dean of a program I had not yet attended was willing to hear about my idea. Following the meeting, he agreed to be a co-advisor for my two year-long project and, even with a heavy schedule, met with me on a weekly basis to support my project.
A few years later, I returned to Luxembourg as a staff member at MUDEC and knew that Dean Leterre would be a supportive manager. He always had an open-mind and encouraged myself and other staff members to follow our ideas for MUDEC. Working on a team with Dean Leterre was a wonderful learning experience. He was always willing to share his own experience and provide insight, time, and support in any MUDEC project. When we decided to move the Integration scavenger hunt to an online, Google maps version, Thierry pulled the staff and faculty together to test it in the city. Not only was it a wonderful way to bond as a team, but it also helped us make sure that the routes were ready to go for students. No matter how much time or effort it took, Dean Leterre was always willing and ready to support MUDEC projects.
And somehow, he still had time for fun. Academic leadership comes with great honors and opportunities to work with government leaders, renowned researchers, and many other distinguished individuals. While Dean Leterre did an excellent job in his formal role in such meetings, he also knew how to bond with students and create a fun, memorable community at MUDEC. Whatever project or idea came his way he was willing to be involved with, supporting students in making MUDEC an incredibly special place. This includes dawning a purple robe and white beard to be transformed into Dumbledore for the commencement of Harry Potter week, sorting the students into houses. Dean Leterre always jumped right into the action, even joining the students in a Quidditch tournament held at the chateau one weekend.
During his time serving MUDEC, Dean Leterre made his home our home. He opened his own home for post-lecture chats with guests, students, faculty and staff, Student Faculty Council celebrations, and dinners with members of the local community. It became tradition for Dean Leterre and his wife Adrienne to invite the other chateau-dwelling faculty and staff over for story and laughter-filled evenings, always accompanied with delicious food. Being an American living in Luxembourg, Dean Leterre and his family became my extended family. 
This was especially true around the holidays when Thierry and his family always had the best ways to celebrate whether it was smores for the 4th of July, carols and tree decorating at Christmas, or a haunted hike around Halloween. One of my favorite memories was from a visit to Oxford. Thierry had never tried Skyline chili and was up diving into a new Oxford tradition. Dressed in a suit, Dean Leterre enjoyed his first dinner at Skyline, only complete with Graeter’s ice cream for dessert. 
Each person that is part of the MUDEC family can tell similar stories about Thierry Leterre, ones that attest to his kindness, inclusivity, devotion to the program, and fun-loving attitude. Thank you for the joy, creativity, and leadership that you have brought to the MUDEC program during your tenure. The incredible mark that you have made and memories you have created will always be a special part of MUDEC. We wish you the very best as you embark on this exciting new chapter. Villmols merci!
Thierry Leterre with a scarf
Thierry Leterre (courtesy of Delano)
This Week's Schedule graphic
  • Study Tours
Château & Administrative Hours
Aerial view of the Château de Differdange, where Miami's Luxembourg campus, the John E. Dolibois European Center, often abbreviated to MUDEC, is located

Château Hours

Monday-Friday:      8:00-17:00

Saturday:                      Closed

Sunday:                 10:00-16:00

Administrative Hours
Monday-Friday:       8:30-12:30

Follow MUDEC on Social Media

Facebook Instagram LinkedIn YouTube
We are happy to share MUDEC events and news with all of you! If you no longer wish to receive the newsletter per GDPR, please unsubscribe below.
powered by emma