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Celebrating 75 Years of Aiglon Life

Celebrating 75 Years of Aiglon Life
Celebrating 75 Years of Aiglon Life
When John Corlette first opened the doors of Aiglon College on 8th January 1949, what we now call Founder’s Day, the new school comprised only three students and a single rented chalet. At first glance, this bears little resemblance to the Aiglon College we have today. However, as we mark Aiglon’s 75th Anniversary throughout 2024 and 2025 we celebrate how today’s Aiglon reflects the heritage of its humble beginnings even as we embrace the future.
 
We want the 400 students who call Aiglon home today to have an appreciation of Aiglon’s past and the values that have driven the school since its earliest days. This is why, for Founder’s Day, and the first meditation of 2024 Mrs Karen Sandri, Director of Philanthropy and Community Engagement, presented Mr Corlette’s personal history and the story of the school’s founding. Her simple message remains true for all Aiglonians: dream big dreams. Mr Corlette returned to Switzerland after being dismissed from his job at Gordonstoun College. He was perpetually plagued by ill health and setbacks. Yet, the legacy he established has helped to shape generations of students all around the globe.
 
Not only did he shape the educational journey of so many, but by transferring the school into a not-for-profit association before his death, Mr Corlette preserved the legacy of a school that would be able to focus on its vision and its values as it grew over 75 years. Just like in Mr Corlette’s own story, Aiglon has experienced its ups and downs, but as we enter into this 75th year, the school is on solid footing and has evolved far beyond a single chalet and a handful of students.
 
This dynamic legacy is also captured in our 75th Anniversary archive photo display that now adorns the School Restaurant and the timeline in the Sports Centre. Students and staff will be greeted every day this term with a colourful collection of photographs drawn from the school’s archives. From expeditions to the school’s very first computers, by putting our history on the wall, we hope that the Aiglonians of today can see the thread that connects the school to its founding. This photo display, however, is only the tip of the iceberg. Since bringing on a school archivist in 2023, Aiglon has been able to delve into its archives, preparing them for the next generation, in a way that has never been done before.
 
Thanks to these efforts Aiglon’s 75th year also sees the launch of the anniversary photo book. Much like previous written histories, this photo book was specially commissioned for the 75th year to capture the school’s visual history. It is an ambitious project that we hope will live in the homes of alumni for years to come. This book is also complemented by the release of the school’s archives online. The wider school community can now securely access never-before-seen documents, old magazines, news publications and scanned photographs in a digital format.
 
Even as we look back on nostalgic photos, we also want to celebrate who the community is today. The first of our anniversary celebrations takes place at the end of January: an official ski weekend. Aiglon is looking forward to welcoming over 175 Aiglonians from all over the world to enjoy the slopes and reconnect with friends: a torchlight descent, fondue dinner at the recently renovated Villars Palace and commemorative alumni ski races are all part of the exciting programme.
 
This ski weekend marks the beginning of a year of special events in which we will gather with alumni and parents all over the world in the much-loved tradition of regional events. This tradition began with the former headmaster and his wife, Philip and Bibi Parsons. For a school nestled in the Swiss Alps, we are pleased with how our global footprint has grown to encompass so many different countries and cultures. Alumni and parents, old and young, have the opportunity to connect, share memories, network and support one another whether you graduated from Aiglon three months or three decades ago.
 
Alongside the regional events, Aiglon is also working to connect our community through a unique series of commemorative Cultural Learning Expeditions (CLE) events. Almost every Aiglonian will remember the CLEs that take students off campus for a few days to explore Europe’s cultural capitals. For the 75th, these trips are taking on a new dimension offering alumni and parents (and in some cases current students) the chance to meet up in unique locations around the world and over several days of adventure share once again in the experience of expedition. Going beyond the single-evening cocktail event of our regional meet-ups, these global CLEs offer a truly unique experience for our community.
 
All of these events will extend beyond our 75th year to culminate in a celebratory campus event in August 2025 that coincides with the opening of the new Moghadam Campus Hub. Named after generous alumnus, Hamid Moghadam and his wife Tina, this new space embodies the themes of heritage and future that define Aiglon’s 75th Anniversary. This dining and assembly space will allow Aiglonians of the future to continue to experience the central traditions of meditation and shared meals that have been so important for so long.
 
All together, from Founder’s Day in January 2024 through to the campus celebration in August 2025, the school is honoured to be able to celebrate the school’s growth and success over the past 75 years. Aiglon is proud to be wholly owned and supported by its community, and we recognise the dedication of so many people who have worked tirelessly to see the school’s development from that humble chalet and a handful of students to the thriving institution that it is today. So while much may look different as you drive through Chesières today we are confident that our 75th anniversary theme rings true: reflecting our heritage, and embracing the future.
 

 

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