Ray Vernon was the Founder of Accent. Ray completed a degree in education at the University of Exeter before pursuing his own studies abroad at the Università di Perugia and the Université de Paris, Sorbonne. These experiences led him into the field of international education. 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.
For over three decades, Ray was more than an innovative leader in the field of international higher education, he was a changemaker. His conviction for the value of a global education created not only one of the most reputable education abroad organizations in Europe, but one of the most unique in its mission: to meet each partner’s institutional objectives and to respond to the ever-changing needs of U.S. students with experiential, impactful, and university-branded education abroad programs. Since Accent’s founding, the lives of more than 70,000 students have been touched by Ray’s vision and passion.
Each of Accent’s programs and partnerships are built on long-standing relationships and profound trust. Ray treasured his close relationships with colleagues in the field of international education. Ray’s endless energy and curiosity inspired students, faculty, administrators, and Accent colleagues to expand horizons, take risks, and to continually explore new opportunities in education. His kindness and humanity touched everyone he met. He cared deeply for the personal well-being and professional development of each member of the Accent team.
Ray’s deep understanding of and appreciation for the value of a global education continues to inspire all of us at Accent to fulfill his mission. To honor Ray’s life-long mission, we have created the Founder’s Prize.
The Founder’s Prize
The Founder’s Prize is crafted to carry on Ray’s enduring impact on international education, serving as a fitting tribute and celebration of his accomplishments.
The prize aims to encourage and empower upcoming change-makers whose academic and professional pursuits will contribute to innovative and sustainable solutions for complex global challenges.
Annually, two prizes of $5,000 each will be awarded—one for students committed to Entrepreneurship, and another for those actively involved in studying and applying principles of Community Engagement and Leadership.
Those of you who wish to contribute to Ray’s legacy and help support the Founder’s Prize may donate online.