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Fundraising Underway for New Hall of Science

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American University has launched an initiative to raise $40 million to construct a state-of-the-art Hall of Science. AU is investing in a modern, open facility that encourages innovation, spurs interdisciplinary interaction, integrates the sciences into campus life, and equips students and faculty for success.

Science is the fastest growing area of undergraduate study at AU. Furthermore, because modern challenges are highly complex, requiring input from multiple disciplines within every school of American University–from the Kogod School of Business to the School of Communication–there are vital issues that are rooted in the need for strong science. Science is at the center of confronting issues ranging from biological and chemical terrorism, disease, hunger, and climate change, to name but a few. Our world is increasingly interdependent causes and solutions in the sciences are affecting decisions about policy, economics, communications, law, and diplomacy. AU faculty and students in all disciplines will be better positioned to tackle the issues of our day with the strengthened science opportunities created by the new Hall of Science.

External grant funding for scientific research at AU has increased 81.4 percent over the past seven years, evidence of the university's commitment to relevant, innovative scholarship. In part because of such grants, AU rose to the R2 research category in the Carnegie Classification, a prestigious comparative framework that analyzes universities based on the level of their research activity. Yet American University scientists are attempting to undertake advanced twenty-first-century research in early twentieth-century facilities. If AU has achieved so much with limited infrastructure, just imagine what our students and faculty can realize in a truly exceptional, functional building.

Designed to support current research, the Hall of Science is planned with flexibility to accommodate the ever-changing directions of future scientific discovery. The new building will transform the ways AU teaches, learns, and conducts collaborative research across disciplines. Faculty members have been involved in the planning of the building from the start.

The new facility's greatest innovation is its focus on connecting people. Knowing that interdisciplinary teamwork is ever more important to scientists' ability to address great questions of our time, and to secure external grants that will enable additional pioneering research, the building design encourages students and faculty to join together and collaborate. In the new Hall of Science, faculty will be organized by functional lab groupings, rather than along traditional department lines. Lab groupings will increase opportunities for cross-disciplinary research while improving operating efficiency. Each lab grouping will have a core facility with instrumentation shared by its members, eliminating redundancies in equipment and allowing faculty to better anticipate future instrument needs.

AU's science faculty pride themselves on being both excellent researchers and outstanding teachers. The Hall of Science design includes optimal learning spaces that are modern and flexible to support advanced studies. Its upgraded facilities also position AU for more grant-funded opportunities as researchers utilize more advanced labs, increase interdepartmental collaborations, and have the infrastructure to feed their intellectual curiosity and concepts. The Hall of Science will help retain our current educators by allowing them the space and materials necessary to expand their research, while also attracting new and varied talent from the scientific community.

In summary, investing in the sciences at American University by creating a modern collaborative facility will stir growth and accomplishment. The new building will:

  • Attract a new caliber of students and faculty members;

  • Enhance the student experience;

  • Encourage experts from multiple fields to work side by side on innovative problem-solving;

  • Allow AU to launch new academic programs in the sciences;

  • Serve as a significant hub for discovery;

  • Promote communication, collaboration, and shared exploration of key issues across disciplines to address some of the most pressing concerns of our time.

Securing the funds for the state-of-the-art facility will transform the university, advance scientific discovery, and expand opportunity. Fundraising is currently underway to secure a modern facility that is as innovative as the scholarship undertaken within its walls.

To learn more about plans for the Hall of Science, or to become more involved, please contact Elizabeth Harless, Assistant Dean for Development of the College of Arts and Sciences at harless@american.edu or 202-885-5900.

To make a gift to the sciences at AU or the Hall of Science, please visit american.edu/giving.