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Alumni Success Story

Carleen Keating

I'm from Suburban Maryland, an area called Bradbury Heights, which borders the District at Southern Avenue. My husband, Nick (Nicholas Keating, SIS BA '63 MA '64), was born on the same street, but on the District side about a mile away.

In 1964 I received my BA in Art History at American University. I actually started out as a studio major but moved to Art History for pragmatic purposes. I did not attend AU my first two years of college. I started at Principia College in Elsah, IL, which is where my parents wanted me to go because we were Christian Scientists. I enjoyed Principia, but my father decided it was too expensive, so I enrolled at AU (My Brother-In-Law graduated from AU in Public Administration a number of years before).  Believe it or not, AU was very inexpensive then. When I transferred to AU I went straight through without a break and finished my classes in August of '63 and received my BA in June of 1964. I had many great teachers at American, but the most inspiring was Professor Andrew Keck in the Department of Art History.

After graduating from American, I went immediately to George Washington University because American did not have a graduate program in Art History at the time. During my second year I became a teaching assistant.  After GW, I went to the National Gallery of Art and worked in the Education Department as a Senior Staff Lecturer. Within a few years, I became Assistant to the Curator of Education and was responsible for training the volunteer docents who staffed the Children's Program. I was at the NGA almost eight years. When I left, I started painting again, which, of course, was what I really wanted to do.

Nick and I moved to California in 1988, and I began Art Consulting off and on through 1995. I returned to making art almost full time and have been exhibiting at Triangle Gallery in San Francisco.

For the past three years, while Nick has been President and CEO of Network Equipment Technologies in Fremont, CA, our lives have become increasingly complicated. Our main residence is in San Francisco, but, because of the long drive to Fremont, we have rented an apartment in Palo Alto so that Nick could be closer to his office. In addition, we have a house in Napa Valley. When I'm not engaged in property management issues, I continue to paint.

Nick and I will have been married 45 years this year. We met at American in the Mary Graydon Center cafeteria. There was a long table where a number of the students in SIS sat, and Nick was one of them. They congregated there at lunchtime or for coffee, and for some reason, which I cannot recall now, there were three or four of us art students who ended up at that table, and that is where I met Nick. This was definitely the highlight of my time at AU.

When I was at AU the Watkins Building was still pretty new, but I saw over the years just how inadequate the facilities had become for the arts. I became involved again when I learned there was going to be a museum at American, thanks to the generosity of the Katzens. I joined the first Arts Advisory Committee and have been supporting the American University Museum ever since. When Nick flies out for American University Board meetings, I try to come as often as possible to see the various shows at the museum. I have always found the exhibitions artistically and intellectually stimulating.