Celebrating 40 Years of A.C.E. – A Historical Review from A.C.E.’s Founding President

Throughout the 2013-14 academic year, A.C.E. is commemorating its 40th anniversary with a series of celebrations and reflections to mark the occasion.  From local events in Japan and Seattle to global receptions at NAFSA in St. Louis and San Diego, we are honored to share in this milestone with friends of A.C.E. over the years.  As a special report to the A.C.E. blog, the organization’s Founding President Burton E. “Bud” Bard Jr. shares his memoirs over the past 40 years.


Pictured from left to right: David Woodward – President, Burton Bard Jr. – Founder, Sam Shepherd – Past Executive VP

Special Report by Burton E. “Bud” Bard Jr., Founding President, A.C.E.

Every organization needs to take the time to write historical information about its formation and history. Past and current staff will be interested at some point in time. A.C.E.’s 40th Anniversary presents me with the opportunity to briefly reflect on how this nonprofit international educational organization came into being and the key individuals responsible for its success. I personally believe that no organization is created in a vacuum. It takes the involvement and the personal dedication of many individuals and sometimes a little luck, to make an organization like A.C.E. reach such an important historical milestone.

It pleases me that two of A.C.E.’s long-time key staff members still remain involved with the organization—David Woodward and Sam Shepherd. Sam was hired in 1976 as an intensive English instructor in the Saudi program on the campus of Seattle Pacific University, and became Vice President in 1979. He hired David in 1980 as an intensive English instructor. After holding many important administrative positions in the company, David became President of A.C.E. in 1998. I agreed with the A.C.E.  Board that David was the right person for the job. Sam remained with A.C.E. for 17 years before being recruited to become the Director of the Fulbright office in Japan, and later, as President of the National Association of Japan-America Societies in Washington, D.C.  Sam returned recently as A.C.E. Senior Vice President after retiring from the Japan-America Society.

In addition to David and Sam, it is important to mention the “Why”, “Who” and “How” of A.C.E.’s formative years. The “Why” is that my dream, nurtured by my love for my early positions as Foreign Student Advisor and Director of FIUTS at the University of Washington from 1967 to 1972, encouraged me to see the local need for a nonprofit educational company like A.C.E.; something with which I deeply wanted to be involved.  I am reminded of a quote from Dag Hammarskjold, former United Nations Secretary-General: “The more faithfully you listen to the voice within you, the better you will hear what is sounding outside”. The “Who” was that I convinced my friends, Forest Lane, a US Immigration Service inspector, and Arlene Corey, Director of ESL at Shoreline Community College, to join me in forming the American Cultural Exchange. Forest chose the original name, now known as Associates in Cultural Exchange.

The others “Who” played a major role in the early years in the 1970s were Ulrike Criminale, A.C.E.’s first employee who began as a volunteer and established our foreign language programs; Linda (Quist) Harris, who wrote the proposal and then set up and directed our first intensive English program at Seattle Pacific University in 1977; and Jimmy Fukuda, A.C.E.’s first Vice President, who introduced me to Japan and the right people to meet with there. Finally the “How” was convincing Seattle Pacific University’s staff to welcome A.C.E. on to its campus in 1977; the Tokyo YMCA’s College of English agreeing to send 100 students to our program in the summer of 1979; and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) agreeing to send 15 Saudi students to study English in program that we established in 1976 and then continued sending them to our new intensive English Language Institute at SPU. These programs continued for years and allowed A.C.E. to move on.

I am proud of those that have followed in our footsteps, and of the many hundreds of people that have worked for A.C.E. over the past forty years and who have been a part of this organization. I also can’t help but think of the thousands of students who have benefited from our educational programs. Finally, I am especially gratified by those that continue the legacy of the founders of this company.  Thank you!

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