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ASSIST was founded in 1969 by the late Paul G. Sanderson, Jr., a visionary American educator who was among the first to conceive of the benefits of an international educational community for American independent secondary schools. Mr. Sanderson began with a class of 13 students and created an educational and cultural exchange program that continues to bring deserving and talented young men and women to study in the United States on one-year scholarships.
Over the past 46 years, ASSIST’s mission has broadened to respond to changes in educational and international landscapes. From our original base in Germany, we have expanded to numerous other countries and have brought Scholars from nations underrepresented in member schools’ student bodies.
Throughout our history, strong leadership has been a core strength. After the passing of Mr. Sanderson, Kenneth and Betsy Lindfors were appointed to lead ASSIST. During their 13-year tenure, ASSIST expanded substantially. Following their retirement, the ASSIST Board of Directors named Robert and Anne Stanley as the third leadership team in ASSIST’s history. Today, Mr. Stanley continues as President, joined by Martin Milne as Vice President for School and Family Relations.
Programmatic advances and development have not altered ASSIST’s mission: to discover, select, place and support outstanding international students in American independent secondary schools of stature. ASSIST students are models of achievement at their American host schools. They add to the academic vitality of the community, make contributions to the artistic, athletic, community service and other extracurricular programs, and willingly share their own unique cultural backgrounds.
To date, 4,820 students from 51 countries have become ASSIST Scholars. They have returned to their homes to become leaders in their own countries, appreciative of their experience, and holding a deep understanding of American values and culture.