American University was founded by John Fletcher Hurst, a respected Methodist bishop who dreamed of creating a university that trained public servants for the future. Chartered by Congress in 1893, AU has always been defined by its groundbreaking spirit. Before women could vote in the U.S., they attended American University. When the nation's capital was still segregated, 400 African Americans called AU home. As we continue to grow in reputation and stature, we remain grounded in the ideals of our founders as we continue to be a leader for a changing world.
American University combines a tradition of strong undergraduate and graduate education with a focus on experiential learning, global leadership, and public service. Our commitment to social justice, our ability to respond to the needs of a changing world while retaining our core values, and our capacity to turn the resources of the nation's capital into an educational advantage are hallmarks of our institution.
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A student-centered research institution situated in a residential neighborhood of the nation's capital, we are home to eight prestigious schools and colleges, over 160 programs, and approximately 13,000 students.