Formal efforts to establish study abroad programs at the University of Wisconsin–Madison began in the early 1960s. Leading the way, Henry B. Hill, the first coordinator and then dean of the university’s newly established Office of International Studies and Programs, developed the Junior Year Abroad, with a program at the University of Provence in Aix-en-Provence, France.
Since its inception, the Aix Program has flourished. Alumni of the program gathered in Aix to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2012.
That same year, the University of Provence and two other universities in southern France were merged to create Aix-Marseille University (AMU) – the largest French-speaking university, with more than 70,000 students on five campuses.
The last week of October, 2014, AMU President Yvon Berland led a small delegation to Madison to recommit to the long-standing relationship and to discuss ways to expand collaborations with UW–Madison. While in Madison, Berland signed agreements with UW–Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank and with University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross.