The 2023 Study Abroad Fair opened with Dr. David Soren, the esteemed founder of the Orvieto Study Abroad Program, receiving a well-deserved plaque adorned with heartfelt gratitude and admiration. The plaque serves as a token of appreciation for his tireless commitment to education, a testament to the profound impact he has had, and a reminder of the enduring legacy he continues to build.
Dr. Soren, a Regents Professor of Anthropology and Classics with the University of Arizona and Director of the Orvieto Institute in Umbria, Italy, started the program over twenty years ago when he and Alba Frascarelli, current program director of Arizona in Orvieto, met at a conference in 2002. What began as an initial group of 21 students from Arizona has now become one of the largest faculty-led multi-disciplinary UA Study Abroad programs at the University of Arizona, with faculty from across campus travelling annually from Tucson to teach in Orvieto, Italy.
During the presentation, Frascarelli expressed her deep appreciation for Dr. Soren and his efforts in cultivating the study abroad program in Orvieto. “He has been our guardian angel,” said Frascarelli. “Those 21 students loved it so much that they came back and told everyone that they had the best experience of their lives. It continued to grow in the spring, the summer, and the fall. So, we kept going and Dr. Soren was teaching in the summer in most cases.”
Throughout his illustrious career, Dr. Soren has been a beacon of inspiration for countless younger generations of students. This desire to positively impact the lives of his students stems from the kindness and support he received from others during his most difficult times growing up. He has always sought to be that same system of support for his students.
“It’s important to give something back,” Dr. Soren said. “And students really need to have an experience outside their homes, their work, and even their school. They need to see something of other cultures.”
His unwavering dedication to fostering cross-cultural understanding and academic excellence has left an indelible mark on the lives of those fortunate enough to be mentored by him. Thank you, Dr. Soren, for your remarkable contributions to the world of learning and for shaping the futures of countless students.