President Kerwin's Spring Message

This spring, 3,500 graduates leave American University already having made an impact in their fields and communities. AU continues defining itself as a laboratory for learning, with engaged students, a growing faculty pool of scholars and artists, sustainable facilities, and research collaboratories that prove AU WONKs KNOW their subjects backward and forward. Watch President Kerwin’s spring message and celebrate a productive and exciting year at AU.





School of Public Affairs Ceremony

The American University School of Public Affairs commencement ceremony featured speaker Senator Richard G. Lugar of Indiana. “I am confident that you will not be intimidated by the challenging work before you,” Lugar told the graduates. “You will affirm the accomplishment of your diploma by growing in your abilities to learn and to apply your expertise.” SPA student speakers Daniel M. Lindner (graduate) and Christopher R. Miller (undergraduate) also addressed the graduates.

Student award recipients included Emily Danielle Pfefer, winner of the University Student Award for Outstanding Scholarship at the Undergraduate Level, and Amanda Joan Merkwae, winner of the University Student Award for Outstanding Service to the University Community.

Read Senator Lugar's full speech

School of Communication Ceremony

"To the class of 2011, that dogged group who thought this day would never come, I say, 'Congratulations. This is your day. You earned it. No one can take it away from you, so celebrate it,' " CBS News host and commencement speaker Bob Schieffer said of the School of Communication's newest alumni. Schieffer received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree.

Bachelor's degree recipient Alex Priest was presented with both the prestigious President's Award and the Bruce Hughes Award. Kathryn Baxter received the Cathryn Seckler-Hudson Award and Amy Chin was awarded the Harold Johnson Award.

Student speakers included graduate speaker Ted Roach, who also received the University Award for Outstanding Scholarship at the Graduate Level, and undergraduate speaker Shanika Yapa.


Read Bob Schieffer's full speech (as prepared)

College of Arts and Sciences Ceremony

Preeminent astronomer Dr. Vera C. Rubin addressed graduates of the American University College of Arts and Sciences and was presented with an honorary doctor of science degree. Bachelor's degree recipient Lawrence D. Musante delivered the student address prior to Rubin's speech.

CAS graduate Cassandra Ricketts received both the President's Award and the Stafford H. Cassell Award as an accomplished student-athlete. Jieun Lee was honored with the University Student Award for Outstanding Scholarship at the Undergraduate Level, and Eric M. Goldstein received the University Student Award for Outstanding Service to the University Community. As winners of student achievement awards, Andrew Jonathan Welch received the Evelyn Swarthout Hayes Award, and Kurt F. Karandy II received the Charles W. Van Way Award. The ceremony also recognized retiring faculty, Profs. Esther N. Chow, Nadia Harris, Ira N. Klein, Charles R. Larson, and Charles A Tesconi, Jr.

Kogod School of Business Ceremony

"You are capable. You are confident. You are Kogod," Dean Richard M. Durand told graduates of American University's Kogod School of Business. Provost Scott Bass paid tribute to Dean Durand, who is retiring from his post at Kogod.

White House economic advisor and commencement speaker, Gene Sperling, received an honorary doctor of laws degree. "It is a mistake for any of us to judge our decisions, and certainly our lives, solely on how fate or matters beyond our control smile upon our choices," Sperling said. "At a professional and, most importantly, at a personal level, each of us must draw our inner satisfaction from the degree to which we went the extra mile to ensure we did everything humanly possible to make the right call, ex ante, that would maximize success."

Kogod/SOC graduate Alex Priest was recognized as the recipient of the President's Award and the Bruce Hughes Award. Rachel Olsavicky received the Charles C. Glover Award. Student speakers included graduate speaker Tighe Wall and undergraduate speaker Natalie Kalas.

Read Gene Sperling's full speech (as prepared)

School of International Service Ceremony

The American University School of International Service commencement ceremony featured the Honorable Aaron S. Williams, director of the Peace Corps. "Every student at the School of International Studies is an authentic reason for hope," Williams said. "And every graduate is another victory for the forces of good in this world."

SIS bachelor's degree recipient and Carlton Savage Award winner Günperi Sisman delivered the student address. Additional award recipients included Annie J. Adam, winner of the Fletcher Scholar Award, and Quinn Kathleen Pregliasco, winner of the Kinsman-Hurst Award.

Provost Scott Bass celebrated Dean Louis W. Goodman, who is retiring from the university. Dean Goodman recognized retiring Prof. John M. Richardson, Jr.

Read Aaron S. Williams' full speech (as prepared)

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