You are here: American University President Announcements April 20, 2020

AU Memo Letterhead

Dear AU Community, 

Our comprehensive response to COVID-19 for our community and our campus saw a number of important decisions last Friday. I know some of these difficult steps ask a great deal from you, on top of the challenging times everyone is facing. These days test our resolve, and our hearts go out to everyone struggling with the personal loss caused by this terrible virus. Please always know that your AU family is with you. Thank you for your efforts, sacrifices, and ongoing commitments, which are critical to our long-term approach to this crisis and advancing our educational mission. 

It is that mission I want to focus on in this week’s message – specifically, our students, the many journeys they are on today, and the ones soon to come. The rapidly approaching conclusion of the spring semester brings students finishing projects, preparing for exams, and receiving well-deserved recognition for their hard work. We also are excited about the growing number of future Eagles who are planning to join our community in the fall. 

Two of our seniors were honored with exceptional awards last week, recognizing their outstanding academic and professional achievements during their AU journeys. Mitchell Lenneville, a senior in SPA’s three-year accelerated Politics, Policy and Law (PPL) bachelor’s degree program, was named a 2020 Truman Scholar. The premier graduate scholarship for aspiring public service leaders in the United States, the Truman Scholarship provides $30,000 for recipients to continue their studies. 

Kogod senior Jacob Tracey was named Undergraduate Student Employee of the Year for Washington DC by NEASEA (the regional affiliate of the National Student Employment Association.) Jacob works in Bender Library's music collections. He competed with nominees from other DC universities and demonstrated excellence across the award’s criteria in communication, digital technology, problem solving, work ethic, intercultural fluency, leadership and teamwork. 

Congratulations to Mitchell and Jacob! You embody the purpose and dedication of AU changemakers, and we look forward to watching where you go next. 

To all our students, thank you for your continued hard work. I know this semester has been anything but what you expected, however, you confronted the challenge head on and created innovative ways to thrive and, in the AU spirit, to help others. 

Celebrating the achievements of Eagles who are completing their AU journey goes hand in hand with welcoming the many new students and families who will soon join the AU community. To help our new students and families prepare for their AU experience in the fall, while at the same time addressing the challenges of COVID-19, this year’s new student orientation will be comprised of a 10-12 week interactive and engaging virtual experience beginning in mid-May and continuing through early August. Our virtual orientation offers access to university resources and departments, connects new students with orientation leaders, and creates opportunities to meet virtually with fellow new Eagles throughout the summer. Orientation registration opens today. If you have any questions, please visit the orientation website or email

COVID-19 has created new paths for all of us, but what is so inspiring and heartening is that Eagles have not deviated from their purpose. You may have adapted, shifted your steps, and found new ways to get from point A to point B, but you never take your eyes off the goal. Making the most of our ever-changing journey is what defines a changemaker. 

Be safe and be well.