Giving

Donors Make a Difference: David Mitchell, SOC/MSPR ’77

By

Illustra­tion by
Jaylene Arnold

David Mitchell

Although channels of communication have changed dramatically since David Mitchell attended night classes in American University’s public relations program, his belief in the importance of intercultural communication remains steadfast. He has enthusiastically joined the community of alumni and friends supporting AU’s historic Change Can’t Wait campaign by investing in scholarships for journalism and political communication students.

Reflecting on his own time as a student, Mitchell says his AU education provided him with the problem-solving and communication skills to tackle real-world challenges and helped him advance his career. A Vietnam War veteran and former US Army reservist, Mitchell spent more than 50 years in the civilian and military sectors. He worked with the Department of Defense, the American Embassy in Kuwait, and the US Army Corps of Engineers, providing strategic communication expertise on national security issues. 

The Bowie, Maryland, resident enjoys bringing together people with diverse perspectives and backgrounds. As an AU adjunct, he taught graduate courses in public opinion and propaganda analysis. “It was rewarding to see students build confidence and develop their own ideas and approaches to solving issues,” he says. Today, Mitchell serves on the board of directors for World Artists Experiences, a Maryland nonprofit that partners with international embassies to sponsor cultural events and exchanges. 

As Mitchell considers the organizations that have shaped his life, AU’s School of Communication stands out. He has established a scholarship fund for SOC students with financial need to give back to the university that gave him so much. 

“Looking at my life goals and what I want to leave behind, I knew it was time to invest in the institutions that have made a difference in my life," he says. "There are lessons from my graduate program at American University that I have always kept with me, so it was very important for me to give back.”

Through a combination of outright support and an estate provision, Mitchell’s generosity will ensure that generations of AU students will have access to life-changing learning opportunities that will shape their careers and understanding of our world. “AU made me who I am today,” he continues. “I want to be sure students who follow are afforded the same opportunity. This is my legacy.” 

For information on how your charitable estate planning can create a legacy as part of American University’s Change Can’t Wait campaign, contact Seth Speyer, executive director of planned giving, at 202-885-3411 or speyer@american.edu; or visit american.edu/plannedgiving.