There are few AU alumni more dedicated than Chip Griffin, SPA/BA ’94. Griffin gives back to American University in myriad ways. He is currently vice president of the AU Alumni Board, a member of the School of Public Affairs Dean’s Advisory Council, and donor of an endowed scholarship for SPA students from New England, making him one of the youngest SPA alumni to make such a generous donation.
Griffin recently left his position as chief digital officer of DCI Group, a public affairs firm in D.C., to return to CustomScoop, a New Hampshire-based media monitoring service, which he founded in 2000. A successful entrepreneur and digital media guru, Griffin has been on the forefront of new media communications. At CustomScoop, he helps clients navigate in a twenty-four hour news cycle age of instant information by searching for media coverage relevant to each client’s interests, streamlining the news they receive.
Griffin’s post-graduate involvement with AU began nearly ten years ago when he gave his time as an admissions volunteer and started donating funds. It snowballed from there. Soon Griffin was a member of the School of Public Affairs Dean’s Advisory Council; he endowed a $100,000 scholarship for New England students in SPA; and in 2009, he joined the AU Alumni Board, on which he now serves as vice president.
“When I went to American… I was fortunate enough to be able to go on a full scholarship. I looked back at the academic scholarship I had, and I’ve been successful now with some of my companies, so it’s time that I start giving back. It struck me as a particularly worthy cause to give back to the institution that got me my start both professionally and personally – I met my wife at AU as well,” Griffin explains. He works hard for AU while also succeeding professionally, exuding seemingly boundless energy.
When he was a student, starting with his first semester, Griffin worked 40 hour weeks on Capitol Hill in addition to a full course load, describing his time at AU as “busy around the clock…three years with no sleep.” He has especially fond memories of Kennedy Political Union events, recalling a time when Manhattan Project scientist Edward Teller spoke: “It was amazing to have a conversation with someone who figured so prominently not just in U.S. history but world history. And that was typical of the kind of experience AU students have had for decades… It’s one of those things you can’t get anywhere else, and it’s a key part of the AU experience.”
As Alumni Board vice president, Griffin is encouraged by the progress the university has made in reaching out to alumni. He believes “the alumni community is like a family: we can help find each other jobs, provide internships for existing students, and provide recommendations on everything from where to go on vacation to potential employment. These are all things that alumni can do for each other. We all have a natural connection, and we should take advantage of it.”