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Center for Israel Studies Receives $2 Million as part of $7 Million Gift Alan and Amy Meltzer make extraordinary gift to American University

Amy and Alan Meltzer in front of blue AU background

The College of Arts and Sciences’ Center for Israel Studies (CIS) has received $2 million as part of an extraordinary gift of $7 million to American University from Board of Trustees member Alan Meltzer and his wife, Amy.

The Meltzers also donated $5 million to Athletics, to support the AU Center for Athletic Performance. The Meltzers’ gift to Athletics stands alongside the recently announced $3 million gift from Jack Cassell, SOC/BA ’77, former Board chairman, and his wife, Denise.

An Extraordinary Investment in CIS

Both Meltzers share a strong connection to the Center for Israel Studies’ (CIS) mission to study, examine, and interpret the rich landscape of Israel as a nation and a people. In honor of the 20th anniversary of the center, they committed the $2 million to create the Alan L. Meltzer and Amy Meltzer Fellowship.

The Meltzer Fellowship will elevate the center’s already prominent scholarship and knowledge creation, and will allow CIS to establish and solidify partnerships with a wide array of Israeli luminaries. CIS is celebrated nationally as the first center of its kind, and the Meltzer Fellowship ensures its continued position as a pathbreaker.

Peter Starr, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, welcomed the Meltzers’ CIS gift as “an extraordinary investment in the mission of the Center for Israel Studies that will raise its visibility, increase its standing, and provide a lasting pillar of support by creating the Alan L. Meltzer and Amy Meltzer Fellowship. This visiting scholars program will add great depth to our programming by bringing leading minds and vast expertise to AU to explore the impact of modern Israel in today’s world.”

A Lasting Impact

The Meltzer family is devoted to American University and has repeatedly demonstrated its commitment to AU’s success. Alan Meltzer has served on the AU Board of Trustees since 2007. His experience as an AU wrestler shaped his understanding of the value of athletic competition and the community that sports can create. In 1998, the Meltzers named the Marilyn Meltzer Wrestling Room in honor of Alan’s mother to recognize the positive impact of wrestling in Alan’s own life. The Meltzers’ $5 million gift this year builds upon their previous support.

In making this commitment, Alan Meltzer said, “I attended American University on a wrestling scholarship. What I learned through AU athletics, academics, and connections with fellow Eagles has made a lasting impact on my life. Amy and I believe it is important to give back to our community. We are also incredibly proud of the important work of the Center for Israel Studies, and we are eager to see it evolve.”

“Shaping a changing world requires the dedication exemplified by the Meltzers and the hard work to transform their generosity into action,” wrote American University President Sylvia M. Burwell. “We cannot succeed without the leading members of our community helping us fulfill our vision, and continuously challenging us to seek even greater achievements. We are grateful to Alan and Amy Meltzer for their leadership, we thank them for their partnership, and we know their support will be felt by generations of Eagles to come!”