In Remembrance of Brita Koutny

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Jill Kruidenier
May 21, 2014

IES Abroad remembers Brita Koutny (born Brigitte–Baroness von Conrad), who passed away on May 9, 2014 at the age of 85. Brita was the wife of the late Paul Koutny, one of the three founders of IES Abroad.

Brita played a key role in the beginnings of IES Abroad (then known as the Institute of European Studies). She assisted students, hosted dinners at her home for them, and provided tremendous support to Paul as he labored an enormous number of hours together with Clarence and Alberta Giese, the other two founders of the organization, to help IES Abroad come to fruition.

The early days were very difficult in post-World War II Vienna. Paul and Brita were in their early 20s and had little money to contribute to the establishment of the organization. Together with the Gieses, they were pioneers who managed the birth of the organization while they were establishing their respective families. We have much to be appreciative of for their extensive efforts and many personal sacrifices. 

Since our founding in 1950, IES Abroad has educated more than 100,000 U.S. students. While the world has changed dramatically in the last 64 years, we’re proud that our mission and vision remain the same—to offer students the best study abroad programs possible.

A few years ago, thanks to the generosity of Bill Maroney, Bill Storch, and John Wise (Vienna ’57-’58), as well as several other IES Abroad Vienna alumni, the Paul and Brita Koutny Founders Scholarship was established. Paul and Brita attended the 60th Anniversary celebration of IES Abroad in Vienna and were greatly appreciative of this honor.

In memory of Brita, you can make a gift to the Paul and Brita Koutny Founders Scholarship online or mail a gift to: The Paul and Brita Koutny Founders Scholarship, IES Abroad, 33 W. Monroe, Suite 2300, Chicago, IL 60603.

Our thoughts go out to the Koutny family, and we're confident Brita and Paul’s legacy will live on through all of our students.

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Jill Kruidenier

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