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President's Message | Reports & Announcements


January 23, 2015

 TO: AU Community
 FROM: Neil Kerwin, President
 SUBJECT: Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations Tom Minar



With appreciation for his tremendous leadership and productive tenure at American University, I want to inform you that Dr. Thomas Minar, vice president of development and alumni relations, will be leaving AU to become Franklin College’s next president, effective July 1, 2015.

Tom has been a transformative leader for American University, building the infrastructure for and professionalizing our alumni and development operations across the institution and dramatically improving our performance in all aspects of the critical work led by the Office of Development and Alumni Relations.

Since he arrived in October 2008, alumni engagement has risen dramatically. Attendance at events has increased fourfold, a result of an enhanced alumni weekend and robust growth in service, mentorship, social networking, and career enhancement programs. Alumni are participating in more recognized alumni chapters, and leaders are engaged in a reinvigorated Alumni Board and in new and more active dean’s advisory councils across the university. A program to engage alumni in the critical work of student recruitment was created, and the Alumni Admissions Volunteer Program—now 600 volunteers strong—connected with 5,100 prospective students last year alone. In addition, more students are connecting with alumni while enrolled, at events ranging from convocation to senior barbecues.

Tom worked to cultivate a greater culture of philanthropy at AU, raising our performance and expectations along with our community’s appreciation of the importance of private giving. Over a period of five years, total dollars for gifts and pledges nearly doubled to $32 million annually, and cash revenues increased 68 percent to $26.3 million annually—much of it during a challenging economic time span.

During Tom’s tenure, a number of significant gifts were made to advance our strategic plan goals, including seven-figure naming gifts for Cassell Hall; the Malsi Doyle and Michael Forman Theater; the Lehrman Chair in Russian History and Culture; the Gary D. Cohn Goldman Sachs Chair in Finance; the Abramson Family Founders Room; the Martin H. Steiner Scholarship; and the Alper Initiative for Washington Art at the American University Museum. In addition, Board of Trustees chair Jeff Sine made a generous gift to establish AU Reach and the Community-Based Research Scholars Program to benefit AU students.

Tom has emerged as a leader in American higher education, bringing credit and recognition to AU, particularly through his work with the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

American University has greatly benefited from Tom Minar’s leadership, talent, commitment, and friendship. Please join me in congratulating him as he prepares to leave AU on or about May 15 and in wishing him well as he becomes the new president of Franklin College.

Details on a national vice presidential search will be forthcoming.

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