Ray Vernon is Chairman and Founder of ACCENT. He has endeavored to assemble a committed and qualified team in the U.S. and Europe, offering quality service to U.S. colleges and universities, as well as to all participants on ACCENT programs. Ray studied at the University of Exeter in the UK where he obtained a teaching degree before pursuing his own studies abroad at the Università di Perugia in Italy and the Université de Paris, Sorbonne in France. These experiences led him into the field of international education where he has worked since 1976. After creating an association in the mid-seventies to assist U.S. college students abroad, he went on to form a European network of study abroad centers. These centers were consolidated and emerged as ACCENT, which was founded in 1991 and has grown from 400 students in the early 1990s to a projected 4,000 in 2018 studying in 180 different programs.
As Executive Director, Stephen is responsible for the overall daily management and development of the ACCENT Study Centers in Paris, Florence, London, Madrid and Rome. Working closely with the Center Directors, Stephen works to establish a wide array of experiential learning opportunities, highlighting the unique academic and cultural resources in each city while ensuring the highest quality of service to both students and faculty. Stephen had an early career as a performing artist, then went on to a successful career in architecture prior to working in study abroad. He holds degrees in Fine Arts, Environmental Design and an MA in Architecture. With his past experience in the arts, business and design, Stephen works with Center Directors, faculty and administrators developing and enriching programs to help ensure the maximum benefit for each unique study abroad experience. Having worked in a variety of countries, his international experience allows him to better identify and utilize the cultural and academic resources that are so important to study abroad.
Director of U.S. Operations
As the Director of U.S. Operations, Allison is responsible for the management of the U.S. headquarters of ACCENT and institutional partnerships with over 60 colleges and universities. Allison and the San Francisco Center team assist in the development of programs and coordinate closely with all partner institutions to complete the pre-departure administration of programs. Allison’s first overseas experience was a gap year in the UK as an English Speaking Union scholar before attending Stanford University. As an International Relations major, Allison spent two quarters in Tours, France, studying French, international economics, political science and art history. After graduation, Allison completed an internship in the Slovak Republic through the organization AIESEC. Allison has been with ACCENT since the opening of the San Francisco Center in 1991 and has very much enjoyed seeing ACCENT grow into the organization it is today.
Director of Strategic Development
For the past twenty years William has been dedicated to leading education abroad programs; he has worked to establish and operate a number of international organizations including a study abroad company, a school in Sicily for Mediterranean Studies and a student housing company with centers across Europe. Prior to his work in Europe he taught language courses and guided educational tours in Central America. William graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a B.A. in Liberal Arts and is fluent in Italian. Before recently moving back to the US, he was based in Italy with his wife and two children, running the educational programs he helped create. As Director of Strategic Development, William will focus on the development of new program models with our existing university partners and on ACCENT’s growth strategy.
Director of Finance
Lauren Severini graduated from New York University with a B.A. in Psychology and a B.A. in Italian Studies. Three of these semesters she studied abroad at NYU in Florence and worked in the Office of Student Life assisting international students adjust to the Italian culture. It was during this time that Lauren gained her interest in working in the field of international education and returned to Italy to work for NYU’s Office of Academic Support. She joined the ACCENT Florence Team in 2005 as Senior Programs Coordinator and utilized her vast knowledge of Florence and the Italian culture to help organize and oversee each study abroad program. In January 2018, she was promoted to Director of Finance, a cross-company role, where she manages the financial organization of the six ACCENT Centers.