Brian Hedges, a villa student in the early ’60s when the school abandoned its French curriculum, has uncovered evidence that sheds light on the school’s transformation.
Here’s his tale:
I’ve come across some letters from Michel Terrapon which shed considerable light on the closing of the French Villa, and I’ve posted them on my blog and edited my discussion of the Wikipedia article.
It occurs to me that they also provide much of the explanation for the closing of the American Villa. The fact that the French Villa collapsed entirely (due to a very bad last director who among other things saved a few thousand dollars by cheating the lay teachers, all but one of whom departed, out of their contracts) meant that there was no long term institutional continuity or commitment when an entirely new (with the single exception of brother Moran) group of short-timers in a new institution encountered some tough times.
Given the circumstances of the French Villa’s closure, it is ironic that Fribourg’s offering a good price for the buildings and grounds has previously been offered as part of the explanation for the closure of the American Villa.
It was the money again.
Michel Terrapon was an artist and a teacher at the French Villa, and later assistant director of the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire de Fribourg. It suddenly occurred to me to look through the letters I had received from him, and I found the above.
(Note: The original letters, for our French-speaking colleagues, are on Brian’s site here.)