Skip to main content

President's Video | Transcript

2014 Video Message - Academics

Neil Kerwin: I'm Neil Kerwin, president of American University. It's a good time to look back and reflect on the achievements of the past year.

Chris Matthews: So what brought you to Hardball?

President Obama: American University.

Basketball announcer: And the defensive muscle of American wins them the Patriot League championship. The American Eagles are going to the NCAA Tournament.

Priyanka Srinivasa: Congratulations class of 2014.

Neil Kerwin: This year's graduates leave us armed with the knowledge, the experience, and the drive to make a real impact on the world. A number of our graduates achieved important distinctions, and we are pleased to recognize the 17 university award winners. Our Frederick Douglass Distinguished Scholars Program, that provides outstanding academic opportunities to 20 students, highly accomplished, from underserved communities, will graduate its first class this year.

Falon Dominguez: The Frederick Douglass Distinguished Scholars Program is a four-year scholarship program for students that are dedicated to social justice. One of the best experiences I had through the program was going to Clinton Global Initiative my sophomore year. I actually found my job at Google. It's been such an amazing experience.

Neil Kerwin: American University faculty continue to make major contributions to their fields of study, their professions, and their arts. School of Public Affairs professor Howard McCurdy won the John F. Kennedy Astronautics Award from the American Astronautical Society. College of Arts and Sciences professor Laura Juliano's work on caffeine disorder has received international attention from the fields of psychology and medicine. 

Laura Juliano: Caffeine is the most commonly used behaviorally active drug in the world. Most people use caffeine without harm, without any incident, but it's also important to realize that for some people, it's not good for them. It is causing harm, and it's not as easy to give up as we'd like to believe. A research diagnosis should inspire more research on the disorder. It will guide future research to identify and to assist individuals for whom caffeine use is problematic.

Neil Kerwin: We've expanded our degree offerings with a new undergraduate degree program in neuroscience, new graduate programs in terrorism and homeland security and game design, and we also have a new online degree in public administration and policy. 

We've nearly completed our reaccreditation by the Middle States Commission, a process we engage every 10 years. The site visit team concluded that American University is a transformed institution. They were impressed that we conduct the university's business transparently and with integrity and wide participation. We agree with our colleagues from the Middle States Commission that our challenge in the future will be to sustain this high level of performance.

American University accomplished a great deal in the past year. We're looking forward to another year of hard work and success. Please stay involved, and I look forward to seeing you soon.