Andy Adams, whose love of basketball was instrumental in his returning to Luxembourg, says Miami University is “the red bridge between Luxembourg and the States.”
When people ask Andy Adams why he decided to leave his native America for Luxembourg, he likes to trace it back to his love of basketball.
Back then a third-year Miami University history student with a keen interest in European World War II history, Adams arrived in the grand duchy in autumn 1986 to do a semester abroad at the university’s Luxembourg campus. Through the Luxembourger host family of one of his fellow exchange students, Adams found out that the local basketball club in Cents was looking for more players. He joined the team shortly upon arrival and immediately felt part of the community, picking up Luxembourgish and making lifelong friendships. What was intended to be just a semester, turned into a year of studying abroad. Even though Adams had to return to Ohio for his final university year, it was clear that he wanted to come back to Luxembourg as soon as he had graduated.
“In the USA, everyone goes in different directions after university,” says Adams. “I knew that my classmates and I would have to separate anyway, but in Luxembourg, I had friends and a great basketball team waiting for me.” In the late 1980s, Adams took a two-year position as student activities coordinator at the Miami University John E. Dolibois European Center in Luxembourg. This involved helping students adapt to Luxembourg life, organising trips and giving them tips about activities outside of the center, be it basketball or other clubs. In 1992, after a stint in the States to complete an MBA, Adams was offered a job in banking in the grand duchy by a Luxembourger alumnus of Miami University in Ohio. He has stayed in the country ever since.
“Miami University is the red bridge between Luxembourg and the States. In my life it has been like a two-way street connecting both countries,” explains Adams, referring both to Luxembourg’s iconic Pont Grande-Duchesse Charlotte that connects to Kirchberg and the university’s official colour.
Adams, who is now a dual American-Luxembourg citizen and completely fluent in Luxembourgish, never failed to stay in touch with Miami University. As secretary general of the Miami alumni association, he has been instrumental in keeping up this “two-way street” between alumni from America and Luxembourg. “We lost a bit of visibility of our alumni over the years, but now that we’ve become more present on social media platforms, everyone can be aware of what other alumni do or be in the know about activities happening,” says Adams. “Over 700 alumni from the US joined us in Luxembourg for the 50th anniversary celebrations.” He sees the anniversary as a great catalyst for solidifying the Miami-Luxembourg connection.
For the festivities, Adams helped organise a special screening of Willy Perelsztejn’s WWII documentary film “Ashcan”, which contains interview footage with John E. Dolibois, the 1980s US ambassador to Luxembourg after whom Mudec is named. It seems like whatever Adams starts, he doesn’t give up so easily. The same can be said about basketball. Even though a lot of his friends have stopped playing, Adams has remained a loyal team member. “The level of friendship is the same as 30 years ago, and most importantly, I’m still competitive enough to carry on playing basketball in our team,” he laughs.