President Neil Kerwin: I’m Neil Kerwin, president of American University. As spring arrives, we’re getting ready to celebrate the achievements of our graduates at our 127th commencement. The class of 2013 leaves us prepared to face the challenges in their lives and in the world around them.
We want to especially congratulate our award winners and scholarship and fellowship recipients. They exemplify the best in academic achievement and service.
Stephen Bronskill: I feel so lucky to have been part of an incredible campus community of public servants, and working to make the world a better place through social justice.
Kerwin: Among our scholarship recipients I want to especially congratulate Deon Jones, a recipient of the 2013 Truman Scholarship. In addition to interning at the White House and being one of the youngest elected officials in the United States, he served American University well and his surrounding community well on the Advisory Neighborhood Commission.
Our graduates continue American University’s long tradition of extending learning beyond our classrooms. Eighty-eight percent of our graduates pursued internships while they were with us, and fully 58% studied abroad.
Our students continue to be among the most politically active in the nation. They continued that tradition by deep involvement with this year’s inaugural activities.
Cost and affordability remain important issues for students and their families. We take it very seriously at American University. Our latest tuition increase is the lowest on record, and we’ve increased financial aid both generally, and in several important categories.
I’m standing on the site where 50 years ago John Kennedy delivered the 1963 commencement address to American University’s graduates. His speech was titled, “A Strategy for Peace,” where he laid out a plan for nuclear disarmament and peace with the Soviet Union. This year, through a series of events, we’re commemorating that great speech.
We’re in the process of carrying out the university’s historic campus plan. That plan provides for the facilities needed by our faculty, our students, and our staff to carry out this university’s important educational mission. We recently named our newest residential facility Cassell Hall, thanks to a generous gift from Jack Cassell and his family. Work continues on the renovation of the McKinley Building as a new home for our School of Communication, an addition to Nebraska Hall as a residential facility, and renovation of a facility at 4401 Connecticut Avenue that will house WAMU, the American University radio station, the division of communication and marketing, and development and alumni relations.
In March we welcomed Dr. William Walker as our new director of athletics and recreation. Billy Walker joins us from the United States Air Force Academy, where he developed a very strong reputation for assisting student-athletes in accomplishing their academic and athletic goals. We’re confident that Billy Walker will accomplish those same goals here at American University.
We’re continuing our partnership with the Washington Nationals, and we hope you’ll join us Labor Day weekend at an event to celebrate AU at Nationals Park.
I’d like to thank you for making this another memorable semester at American University, and as always, I look forward to hearing from you.