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AU's Top 10 of 2015

President Obama speaking at AU

2015 was an eventful year for American University! Here are some of the most prominent news stories we've posted over the past year, highlighting student achievements, gaining (and saying farewell to) distinguished faculty, and other exciting milestones for our institution.


1. President Obama Channels JFK at AU
This summer, President Obama delivered a major policy speech at AU. The university was selected because more than 50 years ago, President John F. Kennedy delivered “A Strategy of Peace,” a major policy speech that changed the course of history through diplomacy. In his remarks, President Obama referenced “A Strategy of Peace” as inspiration for the new diplomatic approach to allowing Iran to use nuclear energy but not develop nuclear weaponry.

2. New Faculty
American University welcomed 19 new tenured and tenure-track professors for the 2015-2016 academic year.

3. Addressing Issues of Diversity and Inclusion
During MLK week, AU students, faculty, and staff organized a day-long teach-in focused on race and civil rights. More than 200 AU students attended.

4. Class of 2019: Selectivity and Interesting Facts
At 35.1 percent, AU had its lowest admit rate in the school's history. It's a decrease of 11 percentage points from the previous year.

5. Remembering Civil Rights Legend Julian Bond
With the death of Julian Bond, the world mourned the loss of a civil rights pioneer and social justice champion. American University also lost a teacher, colleague, mentor, and friend.

6. Student Part of Major Discovery of a New Human Species
Anthropology PhD student Becca Peixotto was part of the team that discovered "Homo naledi."

7. AU Ranks First in Nation for Number of PMF Finalists
During the past five years, AU has emerged as a national leader in producing Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF) finalists and semi-finalists. Last year, AU ranked first among all universities, with 43 finalists in the Presidential Management Fellow class of 2015.

8. Wonk of the Year
Laura Bush is the first woman to receive AU’s Wonk of the Year award.

9. Women’s Basketball Team Makes First Trip to NCAA Tournament
2015 was first year that the Women’s Basketball Team won the Patriot League Championship and earned a NCAA Tournament appearance.

10. Courtney Surls
As American University's incoming vice president for development and alumni relations, Courtney Surls is not just taking a new job. She's part of a colossal undertaking to unite and strengthen the AU community.