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AU in the Neighborhood Newsletter

January 2010 Newsletter

January 2010

Be part of all the exciting opportunities planned for 2010 at AU.

News about AU

We wish all our neighbors a Happy New Year and look forward to seeing you on campus for lots of activities and events in 2010.  We held our second annual holiday reception for neighbors last month at the Katzen Arts Center and were treated to some outstanding student performances by the men's a capella group On a Sensual Note and to cabaret songs by a group of performing arts students.

As spring semester classes begin January 11, the campus is once again brimming with energy and activity. We're proud to announce that AU President Neil Kerwin has been named a "Washingtonian of the Year" by the Washingtonian Magazine in an article titled "Doing the university proud."  Dr. Kerwin, former Dean of the School of Public Affairs, will talk about "Regulation in the Obama Era" on Thursday, January 14, at 10 a.m. in the Abramson Family Recital Hall in the Katzen Arts Center. The lecture is free and open to the public as part of the 2010 Lecture Series sponsored by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at AU.  

We are also looking forward with great anticipation to the completion of our new School of International Service building in May. And stayed tuned for details about an exciting new partnership between AU and The Smithsonian Associates that will bring their programs to our campus for our neighbors to attend.

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A New Neighborhood Park

Student sitting on a park bench

AU has donated benches for a new neighborhood park at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and 47th Street, NW. The Spring Valley Triangle Park was created by neighbors to provide a community space at the entry to Spring Valley and to serve as a barrier for residents from traffic on Massachusetts Avenue. Neighbor Sarah Shapley, a former ANC Commissioner, organized the park's creation and is the sponsor with Casey Trees for the donation of 14 trees that line the perimeter of the park.  "We're looking forward to having a celebration of the park for all of the neighbors and dog walkers, and to planting more bushes and bulbs to enhance the park," Shapley says. "We could not have completed the design of the park and the benches without AU's donation."

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AU Web site Wins More Awards

American University launches new Web 2.0 site.

(Photo: Jeff Watts)

Check out AU's redesigned Web site  The Web site has just won two more awards: The Web Marketing Association presented its award for "Outstanding Achievement in Web Development" to AU for the Best Education Web site.  The Web site also received the Bronze Award in the 2010 CASE II Accolades Awards.  The AU Web site has a separate Community Relations page with lots of useful information for neighbors.  To access the Community Relations Web page, click on Discover AU on the top left-hand side of the home page and then click on Community Relations in the left-hand navigation list. If there is Community Relations-related information that you would like us to include, contact Penny Pagano at (202) 885-2167.

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Host a Dinner with AU Students

Group of people sitting around a set table with chefs standing in background

With the start of spring semester classes on Monday, January 11, we are going to explore a new idea for AU students and neighbors to get to know each other better.  Are you interested in hosting a "home-cooked" dinner for some AU students? Our students say they would like to meet more neighbors and alums in the area.  And one thing we've learned from students is that when you are far away from home, you are always hungry for a home-cooked meal.  Or perhaps a few neighbors could join together for a "pot-luck" dinner with some students and faculty.  Neighbors have already some interest and we plan to schedule our first dinner soon.  If you are interested, please contact Penny Pagano, Director of Community and Local Government Relations at (202)885-2167.

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Cheer for Miss DC

Miss D.C. 2009, Jennifer Corey '09

Jennifer Corey '09, singing the national anthem this summer at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.

Join us to cheer on AU alum Jennifer Corey, 22, who is Miss DC 2009, as she competes in the Miss America Pageant later this month on TV.  An opera singer and 1999 cum laude graduate, Jen has been singing since she was a young child.  She now works for the Washington National Opera in education and community programs and is pursuing a master's in opera performance.  Last summer, she sang the national anthem at a Washington Nationals game. The Miss America Pageant will be broadcast live on Saturday, January 30 on TLC at 8 p.m. EST.

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AU Alums Can Audit Classes

Attendees at an Osher Lifelong learning event

Many AU alums live near the university campus.  Did you know that as a graduate of AU, you can audit one non-tutorial class per semester for $100 (plus course fees)?  AU's Alumni Audit Program supports the Alumni Association Scholarship by donating $75 of your $100 registration fee to the scholarship's endowment.  A scholarship is awarded every other year to an AU freshman legacy student.  If you are interested in attending a class, check the registrar's schedule of classes to see if they are listed as "open."  Some academic departments may require alums to receive approval before they can enroll. For more information, contact Dan Beardslee at (202) 885-5962. You also can visit the Learning Opportunities page on the Alumni Web Site. and click on Alumni at the top of the page and then Learning Opportunities, or click here.

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Looking for a place for an event? How about AU's Kay Spiritual Life Center.

The top of Kay Spiritual Life Center Kay Flame

Are you looking for space for a wedding, bar/bat mitzvah, concert or lecture? The Kay Spiritual Center, located on AU's quad, is available for rent for private, non-university affiliated events during the non-academic school year from mid-May to mid-August.  The circular building with the 16-foot high impressionist flame—that students fondly call the "cupcake"—includes a chapel that accommodates 300 people and a lower-level lounge and kitchen which can hold 100 people.  For more information, go to

During the academic year, 25 faith communities call Kay home, and neighbors are invited to attend various services.  Kay has chaplains who are Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, Hindu, Baha'i, Muslim, Unitarian, Universalist, and Sikh. University Chaplain Joe Eldridge also welcomes neighbors to attend programs like the Table Talk lunch discussions hosted by Kay during the academic year that "probe the moral dimensions of the great social, political, and economic issues confronting the city, nation, and planet."

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Washington College of Law

Jamin Raskin, professor of law

Consumer activist and environmentalist Ralph Nader teams up with prominent conservative constitutional lawyer Bruce Fein on Monday, January 11, from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. at AU's Washington College of Law in Spring Valley to challenge the legal profession for ignoring "a chronic multi-faceted Constitutional crisis in America."  The program will be moderated by Professor Jamin Raskin, Director of the Program on Law and Government.  The program is free to the public, but registration is required.  The law school is located at 4801 Massachusetts Ave., NW.  To attend this event, please call (202) 274-4075 or send an e-mail to  

Here is some interesting history about WCL that you may not know.  WCL, a part of AU since 1949, was the first law school in the world to be founded by women.  Incorporated in the District of Columbia in 1896 by two pioneering women— Ellen Spencer Mussey and Emma Gillett—at a time when women were generally excluded from the legal profession, it was the first law school to have a woman dean and the first to graduate an all-female law school class.  The founders, who worked tirelessly on legislation pertaining to women's rights, instilled in the law school a progressive spirit of standing up for justice—a goal which continues today.  For more news and information about what's happening at WCL, go to  

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New Exhibits at the AU Museum


The AU Museum opens its Winter 2010 exhibitions later this month, featuring a number of artists:

  • Tom Green: Past and Present (Jan. 23 to March 14) explores the career of this legendary figure in the DC art world. Alan Feltus and Lani Irwin: Personal Interiors (Jan. 30 to March 14) features work by these two artists long associated with the AU Art Department that reveal relationships of the figure in still, intimate spaces.
  • Robert Devers: Cult of the Hand (Jan. 30 to March 14) explores the cultural influence of an American artist living in Mexico and Italy.
  • Cream: Washington Project for the Arts Art Auction Exhibition (Jan. 30 to March 6) features works by member artists and national contemporary artists that will be auctioned at the WPA's auction gala on March 6. Auction proceeds benefit WPA programs and exhibitions. For more information on the auction, go to
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January Calendar of Events

Check out the January Calendar of Events

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