Former Alumni Board members discuss engaging in the life of university after graduation.
In 1927, the same year that the first electronic TV image was transmitted 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. Now, the American University Alumni Board leads more than 145,000 alumni worldwide. Ninety-five years later, AU awards bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees each year to 3,000 students attending eight schools in more than 150 programs.
Keeping abreast of alma mater news has always been a priority for alumni. After the Stock Market crashed in 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 email, social media, and text messages connect alumni with campus developments in short order.
Another way AU has engaged with alumni is 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