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AU in the Neighborhood Newsletter

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May 2016

AU Commencement Ceremonies Scheduled for May 7, 8, and 22

KAM2016-05-01 Commencement

American University schools and colleges will hold their 2016 graduation ceremonies in Bender Arena on Saturday, May 7 and Sunday, May 8. The Washington College of Law commencement will take place on Sunday, May 22, also in Bender Arena. The university anticipates increased activity around campus, as families and friends gather for the occasion.

All parking areas on campus will be open for commencement with extra shuttle buses added from the Tenleytown metro and Washington College of Law. All participants have been encouraged to use public transportation and reminded of AU’s Good Neighbor parking policy.

AU Public Safety will assist with traffic control at several key locations including the Katzen Arts Center garage, the intersection of Nebraska and New Mexico Avenues, NW, and Ward Circle.

AU awarded its first degrees (two doctorates and one master’s degree) in 1916 at a commencement ceremony held in the university’s amphitheater. AU commencements have grown over the years as the university has become larger and more diverse. More than two thousand students from AU’s six schools and colleges participate in commencement ceremonies each year.

For additional information on AU’s 2016 commencement, please visit

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How to Contact Us

Office of Community Relations
(202) 885-2167

Public Safety
non-emergency: (202) 885-2527
emergency: (202) 885-3636
Community Incident Reporting Form

Dean of Students
(202) 885-3300

Parking & Traffic Office
(202) 885-3111

Neighbors Invited to Tour AU Arboretum

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This May, enjoy the spring weather and fresh blooms by taking a special arboretum tour of the AU campus. The tour takes place on Wednesday, May 11 from 5 to 6 p.m. (rain date: May 12), and will meet at the lobby of the School of International Service. Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable shoes.

Designed originally by Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr., America’s most noted landscape architect and the designer of the U.S. Capitol grounds and New York’s Central Park, AU’s entire campus grounds were designated officially as an arboretum in 2004. The campus currently is home to more than 2,500 trees, pocket parks, sculpture gardens, ponds and streams, rain gardens, green roofs, and even beehives.

To participate in the May 11 arboretum tour, RSVP to Andrew Huff, Director of Community Relations at (202) 885-2167 (

You also may schedule an arboretum tour throughout the year. AU’s landscape architects and staff arborists offer free tours to neighbors, garden clubs, and schools. If you are interested in planning a tour, contact Landscape Architect Michael Mastrota at (202) 885-1145 ( or Grounds Operations Coordinator Stephanie DeStefano at (202) 885-2544 (

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Community Audit Program Opens for Summer

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American University invites neighbors who plan to be in town this summer to enroll in a class during the summer semester as part of our Community Audit program.

The program offers adults ages 60 and older, who live in the 20016 zip code, the opportunity to attend university courses on a noncredit basis for a modest charge. Auditors may listen to the same lectures and work from the same texts as enrolled students. For just $100, $75 of which serve as a donation to the Alumni Association Scholarship Fund, neighbors are provided with a rewarding way to enhance professional skills, take class with popular professors, or delve into a new hobby and pursue a commitment to lifelong learning. The Alumni Association Scholarship is awarded every other year to an AU freshman legacy student.

“The community audit program is another great benefit for those who live close to the university,” said AU’s Director of Community Relations Andrew Huff. “Our neighbors have some very interesting experiences and life stories, so I believe our students and professors will learn just as much from the neighbors as our neighbors will learn from the class.”

Modeled after the Alumni Audit Program, the Community Audit program is coordinated by the Office of Alumni Relations in conjunction with the Office of Community Relations.

Registration for the summer semester is open now. For additional information, please visit or call 202-885-5962.

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AU Is Designated a Tree Campus USA University Again

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For the eighth year in a row, American University has been designated a Tree Campus USA university by the Arbor Day Foundation for its dedication to campus forestry management and environmental stewardship. AU is the only university in the District of Columbia to receive this distinction for eight years straight. AU also hosts the only university arboretum in Washington, D.C.

Representatives from the District’s Urban Forestry Administration and Department of Energy and the Environment announced the 2016 designation during the university’s 23nd annual Campus Beautification Day on April 13 when students, faculty, and staff pitched in to help beautify the campus by planting new trees, shrubs, and flowers.

To earn the Tree Campus USA distinction, the university met five required core standards of tree care and community engagement. They include the creation of a campus tree advisory committee, evidence of a campus tree-care plan, verification of dedicated annual expenditures on the campus tree-care plan, involvement in an Arbor Day observance, and the institution of a service-learning project to engage the student body.

AU Landscape Architect Michael Mastrota said, “We’re proud to be recognized as a Tree Campus USA university by the Arbor Day Foundation. To be named eight years in a row makes it all the more special. Trees are a very important part of our campus and our community. The Tree Campus USA program helps us celebrate our love of trees, but more importantly, it helps us educate the community about the many values that trees provide to our environment.”

This year, AU also joined with the District of Columbia and eleven other partners to plant an additional 3,000 trees in the District as part of the Canopy 3,000 initiative. The initiative is a public-private partnership aimed at expanding the number of trees planted on private property and public spaces throughout D.C.

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AU Welcomes "Community of Scholars"

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AU’s School of International Service looks forward to welcoming high school students on campus this summer for Community of Scholars, a rigorous college-credit program geared to rising high school juniors and seniors interested in international affairs.

The program, which began in 2008, offers three course selections – Worlds Apart, Worlds Together: Conflict, Culture and Cooperation; Diplomacy and Dictators: U.S. Foreign Policy in an Uncertain World; and Justice and Sustainability: Global Environmental Politics in the 21st Century. The courses, taught by SIS faculty, will feature seminar-style discussion and hands-on simulations.

While not in class, students will attend briefings at agencies and non-profits, experiencing what it might be like to study and work in the nation’s capital. Last year, students visited the U.S. Department of State, the World Bank, the Saudi and Canadian embassies, and the United States Institute for Peace. They also participated in community service projects at Capital Area Food Bank and St. Luke’s Mission Center.

The Community of Scholars program is unique in its hybrid format, as the first week of courses is taught online while the remaining two weeks are taught in a traditional classroom setting on campus. During the first week, students access lectures, podcasts, and other instructional material from home and engage with their professors and peers via AU’s Blackboard. Most students move into AU’s residence halls for the final two weeks, although many local students commute from home.

One goal of the program is to introduce students to career opportunities in international affairs. Guest speakers in the past have included SIS Diplomat in Residence Ambassador Sally Shelton-Colby, SIS professor and journalist Colman McCarthy, and recent SIS alumni, who discussed their careers in international relations. David Fletcher, career advisor at SIS, organized the alumni panel and also led a workshop on resume writing.

AU also welcomes students interested in international affairs to consider applying to the program. To be eligible, students must be at least a junior or senior by fall 2016. Students may apply online on the Community of Scholar’s website. For more information, contact Page Hogan at or 202-885-2442, or visit the Community of Scholars website.

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2016-17 Basketball Season Ticket Deposits Now Accepted

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The best seats in Bender Arena for the 2016-17 basketball season are just a phone call away. Call the AU Athletics ticket office at 202-885-TIXX today to place your $50 deposit for 2016-17 season tickets to see the AU Eagles basketball team’s aim to return to the NCAA Tournament. Season tickets are the only way to secure the best sideline-reserved, chair-back seats, all season long.

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Calendar of Events

Southern Constellations

May 1 – May 29, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Katzen Museum Third Floor Exhibition

Southern Constellations is the third exhibition in Transformer’s four-part Do You Know Where Your Art Comes From? series, presented over two years in the AU Museum. Curated by Victoria Reis, executive & artistic director of Transformer, in collaboration with Tim Doud, associate professor of art and coordinator of the Visiting Artist Program at AU, this exhibition highlights the work of Elsewhere, a living museum and residency program set in a three-story former thrift store in Greensboro, NC. It profiles the works of six artists and highlights their curatorial initiative to extend experimental practices and creative networks in the South.

Twisted Teenage Plot

May 1 – May 29, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Katzen Museum First Floor Exhibition

Coinciding with a retrospective of Kevin MacDonald, the Alper Initiative for Washington Art presents Twisted Teenage Plot. Besides being an excellent artist, MacDonald also played in bands, most notably Twisted Teenage Plot. The Alper Initiative exhibition will showcase visual artists who played in bands in Washington in the late 1970s and early ‘80s, including Dick Bangham, Michael Baron, Jay Burch, Kim Kane, Clark Vinson Fox (aka Michael Clark), Steve Ludlum, Michael McCall, JW Mahoney, Michael Reidy, Robin Rose, Judith Watkins Tartt, and Joe White. Sound recordings, posters, videos, and memorabilia also will be featured. The exhibition will run in the AU Museum until May 29. A gallery talk will take place on April 2.

William Dunlap: Look At It – Think About It

May 1 – May 29, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Katzen Museum Second Floor Exhibition

Jack Cowart, former Deputy Director/Chief Curator of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, said of William Dunlap’s art, "Narrative is tricky business. Yet the telling of universal stories through art can bind us together and bring new, enhanced areas of self-understanding. William Dunlap’s assemblages of elements taken from his life, our lives, and the world around us reflect his sensuous and infectiously energetic view of life." Dunlap’s exhibition will run through May 29.

Yoga In The Galleries

May 4, 10 a.m.

Katzen Museum

Led by certified Kripalu Yoga teacher Eva Blutinger, this yoga class provides mental clarity and relaxation in the peaceful surroundings of art. Participants are required to bring mats. $10 per class and free for museum members. Cash, credit, or check accepted:

School of Communication Commencement Ceremony

May 7, 9 – 10 a.m.

Bender Arena

Kogod School of Business Commencement Ceremony

May 7, 2 – 4 p.m.

Bender Arena

Kogod Commencement Reception

May 7, 3:30 – 5 p.m.

Massachusetts Ave. Lawn

School of International Service Commencement Ceremony

May 7, 7 – 9:30

Bender Arena

School of Public Affairs Commencement Ceremony

May 8, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Bender Arena

College of Arts & Sciences Commencement Ceremony

May 8, 3 – 5:30 p.m.

Bender Arena

Gallery Talk for Kevin MacDonald: The Tension of a Suspended Moment

May 21, 6 p.m.

Katzen AU Museum

Lee Fleming, Ben Forgey, and Jack Rasmussen invite friends and fans of Kevin MacDonald to join them in a discussion of one of Washington's most important, critically acclaimed artists. Stick around after the talk for a jam session featuring special guest artists in conjunction with the Twisted Teenage Plot exhibition.

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