Fall 2010 President's Message (November 17, 2010)
I’m Neil Kerwin, president of American University. Fall semester is in its last weeks, so I’d like to tell you about some important things happening on campus.
The class of 2014 is one of our strongest. Four out of five students finished in the top ten percent of their high school class. They’re an exceptional group who will thrive in this academically demanding atmosphere.
But numbers don’t fully convey the quality of student we’re attracting. In August, 614 freshmen spent a week giving back to our Washington community through the Freshman Service Experience.
AU students learn from deeply committed and renowned, scholar-teachers, and practitioners who are wonks in their fields.
Dr. Kiho Kim and colleagues in SIS and SOC led a research trip to the Galapagos Islands to teach students about sustainability and ecotourism. Using cameras, snorkel gear, and a semester’s worth of knowledge, they created powerful messages to inform environmental policy makers and the public.
The Comparative Urban Research Initiative is the brainchild of Professor Daniel Esser. It provides faculty with a forum to learn about their colleagues’ work, and sparks discussions about future collaborations. Its first workshop included topics ranging from Chinese Investments in African cities to HIV risk in Washington.
Just two days ago Ambassadors from around the world visited campus to hear Professor James Thurber, director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, share election analysis and implications for the US and abroad. Campus continues to be a place where compelling personalities and influential leaders seek to visit.
This vibrant academic culture has a pronounced impact on our students. In this year’s National Survey on Student Engagement, AU scored significantly higher than many other institutions on active and collaborative learning and faculty-student interaction. Our students are much more likely than their peers to intern, participate in co curricular activities, learn a foreign language, and study abroad.
Both on the field and in the classroom our student-athletes continue to excel.
This fall’s student- athletes have notched sixty semesters on the dean’s list and one hundred Patriot League academic honor roll selections.
The nationally-ranked field hockey team played its way into the NCAA tournament, and the volleyball team won its ninth regular season conference title.
Both our men’s and women’s basketball teams were picked to win the League in preseason polls.
Our institution could not have reached these heights without the contributions of our alumni. In October, more than 2,000 parents, alumni, and friends returned to campus for an event-filled All-American Weekend.
AU’s future is brighter than ever thanks to AnewAU. The capital campaign eclipsed our two hundred million dollar goal. To each and every donor, we thank you.
It’s been an exciting and successful semester. I urge you to stay engaged. Feel free to email me. I welcome your thoughts and look forward to seeing you around campus.