More than 400 students, faculty, staff, guests and dignitaries assembled in front of the Innsbruck Congress Haus on June 28 for the opening ceremony of the University of New Orleans-Innsbruck International Summer School in Tirol, Austria, marking the 40th anniversary of UNO's signature study abroad program. More than 10,000 students have participated in the international exchange, which was founded in 1976.
A Tirolean brass band and Austrian string quartet welcomed guests, who were greeted by dignitaries from UNO, the University of Innsbruck, and the cities of Innsbruck and New Orleans, including President Peter J. Fos and his Innsbruck counterpart, Rektor Tilman Märk. U.S. Ambassador to Austria, Her Excellency Alexa Wesner, even made a special trip from Vienna to Innsbruck to welcome the students, congratulate them on their decision to study abroad and remind them of their vital role in U.S. foreign policy.
UNO alumnus Mark Romig, president and CEO of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, delivered greetings from New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and congratulated the many city officials in attendance on 20 years of partnership through the sister city agreement between Innsbruck and New Orleans.
Gordon H. "Nick" Mueller, who founded the UNO-Innsbruck program in 1976 and now serves as President and CEO of the National World War II Museum, also attended the opening ceremony. Guests watched a short film by UNO student Stevie Cavalier, showcasing the success story of the UNO-Innsbruck program. After the 2015 summer school was declared "open" by Carl Malmgren, the program's academic director, the celebration continued with local cuisine, dancing and music from the University of Innsbruck Big Band Combo.