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AU Parents Share Why They Give

AU Parents Kathy and Frank Billanti with their daughter, Kristin '09

 Since the first students were enrolled at American University in 1914, parents have played an important role in making the university a place that stands for excellence. In the stories below, several parents share what inspires them to support AU.  Each family has a unique reason for giving, and their enthusiasm is contagious. These parents hope that by sharing their reasons for giving, they might inspire your own.

“As a child of parents that were both Holocaust survivors and growing up quite poor, I was always internally driven to succeed. Although I was a high school drop-out, I used this emotion and passion to start my business when most kids were still in school. Never having had an opportunity to enjoy a higher education, I have been able to vicariously understand and appreciate the value and benefits that an institution such as American University has had on my only child, Liza. I know that she is proud of her school and in some small way I am able to share her appreciation of her Alma Mater as my own. It gives me much personal pleasure and satisfaction to be able to give what I can to this great institution so that others can benefit from what I was not able to.”

Ely Kaplanksy
Parents of Liza, CAS/BA ’09
Supporters of: University Librarian Visionary Fund and SIS Building Fund


 “There is so much to say, especially in our case, based on our daughter’s experience of 4 wonderful  years at AU.  AU has so much to offer to students that want to receive a broad education.  Kogod, for example, is one of the top-rated institutions in the country and the staff of professors are highly educated people, very dedicated to the students. They have always been available to assist when needed.  The Advisors are always available to help the students chose their best options, in Kristin’s case, she received great advice on organizing her two study abroad  trips to Italy and  Hong Kong.  The sports clubs are organized by the students, and managed by professionals and very caring coaches.  Kristin was Captain of the Women’s Rugby team, and organizes fundraisers and cook outs for her group.  We believe this is what she will miss the most at AU.  We get to experience the excitement at AU through our daughter’s eyes, and for that we will be always thankful. In a nutshell, we give to AU because we believe AU has given our child a fine education, great opportunities for development as a professional and a person, and a unique combination of great campus life in a big, beautiful city.”

Kathy & Frank Billanti
Parents of Kristin, KSB/BSBA ’09
Supporters of: Kogod Dean’s Fund and Gospel Choir


“I transferred into American as a junior and met Andrew, who was a senior. All the wonderful times we spent at AU are now being experienced by our daughter, Alexandra, who is a current sophomore. American University is so unique with its ideal location. Its wonderful campus is definitely a hidden treasure in NW Washington. AU offers students a safe and open environment with a campus that allows students to grow while providing an education unsurpassed by a majority of our nation's schools. Andrew and I are both proud to be Alumni of the classes of 1986 and 1987 respectively. AU has grown so much since I first arrived in 1985, yet it still feels like home. We are inspired by American University which still offers one of the finest educations in the country and look forward to all the fantastic opportunities our daughter Alexandra has as a current student.”

Andrew ’86 & Julie Levine ’87
Parents of Alex, Class of 2012
Supporters of: AU Fund for Excellence, Treble in Paradise


“AU has provided our daughter with a safe and intellectually stimulating environment to discover, grow, and thrive. Right from the start, the faculty and administration gave Becka the confidence and opportunity to take full advantage of all AU has to offer, and demonstrated their real interest in her success. From the personal call with the good news of her admission, to the strong advisor resources and accessibility of professors and librarians, American is always there for Becka. We could go on and on, but the real point is that we are often moved to give to our own alma maters because of what the institutions gave to us.  In the case of AU, my husband and I are ‘paying it forward’ because of what we can already see American is doing for our daughter. It is our way of saying “Thank You” to AU for providing her with the opportunity to receive a quality education within such a nurturing environment.”

Meryl Kaynard & Gerry Wall
Parents of Becka, Class of 2011
Supporters of: CAS Dean’s Fund