Current and former Alumni Board members discuss engaging in the life of university after graduation.
During 1927, the same year construction began at Mount Rushmore and Charles Lindbergh completed his first solo flight across the Atlantic, the Alumni Association of American University was created.
The organization had a total of 71 alumni. Fifty-nine students graduated that year. In 2017, the Association's 50th president, Joe Vidulich, SPA/BA '08, leads 128,000 alumni worldwide. Ninety years later, AU awards bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees to 3,000 students from eight schools and more than 150 programs.
Keeping abreast of alma mater news has always been a priority for alumni. The year the Stock Market crashed (1929), all alumni began to receive The Eagle student newspaper. Car radios had just been invented, and the first telephone booths appeared in London. Before the advent of the internet, US mail and telephone calls kept the AU community updated. Today social media connects alumni with campus developments in seconds.
Another way to engage with AU has been through philanthropy. The tradition of giving emerged after the Great Depression and World War II and grows every year. Efforts to help veteran students, establish scholarship funds, fund campus buildings and educational innovation, and mentor students are some of the ways that alumni have given back in appreciation of past opportunities.
The Alumni Association continues to provide a way to remain a part of the American University family to alumni worldwide. Once an Eagle, Always an Eagle!
- Sara Nieves-Grafals, CAS/BS '75, CAS/MA '79, CAS/PhD '80