IUP French professor Charles McCreary received the gold medal of Nancy, France over the summer.
During this time, Dr. McCreary also celebrated his 30th anniversary of his first time visiting Nancy.
He was awarded the medal by assistant to the mayor for international relations, Jean-Pierre Berlemont, July 10 at Nancy’s city hall. Berlemont said that McCreary was given the award for his “long-time devotion and loyalty” to the city as well as to the region of Lorraine.
Every year, the city holds a gathering at the city hall where they welcome all of the study abroad program participants to the city. At this event, McCreary usually acts as the French-to-English translator. At the welcoming event over the summer, something unusual occurred.
“On this particular occasion, I noticed that practically all my friends from Nancy were in attendance,” McCreary said, “some of whom I actually hadn’t seen for a few years.”
Then, during a speech given by Berlemont, he announced that it would not only be a welcoming event for the study abroad participants but a special tribute to McCreary.
He said that receiving the award was “quite simply the greatest honor I have ever experienced.”
“I feel so much more a part of Nancy because I am an adopted son,” McCreary said.
McCreary first began teaching at IUP in 1986. He attended Northwestern University to get his doctorate degree in French literature from the 17th century. He teaches French at all levels as well as French literature of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, modern French civilization and techniques of translation.
“Through an unusual set of events, I actually became a part of the teaching team of the Cours d’été (the name of the summer courses in Nancy) in 2014,” McCreary said.
“IUP has had an exchange with the Université de Lorraine since the mid-1980s,” McCreary said. “I first went to Nancy as a part of an IUP group in 1989 and have been lucky enough to be able to go every year since 2004.”
IUP students have the option to spend the spring semester or an entire year in Nancy at Université de Lorraine as part of the study abroad program. Students also have the option of spending six weeks in Nancy over the summer. Between 200-250 students from IUP have traveled to Nancy over the past 24 years.
“Many of the students report that the fact that many different nationalities participate in the program gives them a chance to meet and make friends from all over the world,” McCreary said.
McCreary loves the city of Nancy for many reasons. Throughout the years, he has made many friends traveling to and from France. He also enjoys the scenery and events the city has to offer.
“My favorite spot in Nancy is its historic centre, Place Stanislas,” McCreary said. “Named for the last duke of Lorraine (which was once an independent country), Stanislas Leszczynski, it is one of the most beautiful town sucres in Europe.”
McCreary said that not only does its historic past make it special but that the centre is surrounded by cafes and closed off to traffic. He said that it is a “wonderful place to enjoy life.”
He plans to go back to Nancy a week before this summer’s study abroad program, which usually begins the first Monday in July.