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A letter from President Burwell

Dear AU Alumni,

Yesterday, we shared with you AU’s decision to conduct all classes online for the remainder of the semester, to cancel all study abroad programs, and to expand telework for our staff in response to the COVID-19 situation. These decisions were difficult ones, made with the health, safety, and well-being of our students and community foremost in our minds. We know that you too are affected.
In response, you reached out to us to offer support and encouragement—you asked us how you can help our students. We are incredibly grateful and proud to be a part of this wonderful and strong Eagle community.
These significant changes have real logistical and financial implications for our students. Some students will have lost wages from jobs they can no longer attend. Others will find the cost of transportation home to be an unanticipated financial burden. The university is working to support our students and their families: prorating housing costs, assisting with travel for students with high financial need, providing mental health services, and providing onsite support for those who cannot return home due to extraordinary circumstances. We are committed to doing all that we can to reduce hardship in these trying times.
The added support of our extended community can amplify these efforts. Alumni play an important role in ensuring our students’ continued success. Time and again, AU alumni demonstrate that Eagles look out for one another. After all, it’s in our DNA to take action.
There are several ways you can help right now:
• If you are interested in providing mentorship or career support to enrolled students, or participating in admissions work with prospective students, please contact
• You can also provide immediate financial support. In response to this rapidly evolving situation, the university has established a Student Emergency Relief Fund. Gifts to this fund allow the Office of Campus Life and the Office of Financial Aid to quickly and effectively assist students who need help as a result of these changing circumstances. Here’s how to give.
• You can join the members of the AU Alumni Board and many others in sharing words of encouragement on social media. Your words make a difference, and I encourage you to join the conversation.
You can read more about the steps AU is taking to protect the health of our community in my memo or by visiting AU’s COVID-19 resource page.
These are extraordinary circumstances for AU and for the world, but there may be no other group of alumni more ready to act. Once an Eagle, always an Eagle!
Thank you,
Sylvia M. Burwell
President, American University