Dear AU Community,
You are almost there! After a semester of learning opportunities, effectively managing the evolving COVID conditions, and community achievements, classes are about to conclude, and exams will begin next week. Good luck to all, especially our graduating students who we cannot wait to celebrate during our May commencement ceremonies. I hope you saw the powerhouse lineup of seven outstanding commencement speakers coming to our campus next month.
This semester featured the ongoing impact of American University’s exceptional scholarship and experiential learning. Our faculty received more than $40 million in award funding to date in the 2021-22 fiscal year, with two months still to go. Some notable examples include a $6.4 million grant to CAS professor Katie Holton to study dietary interventions for US veterans suffering from Gulf War Illness and multiple grants from DC Public Schools to the School of Education to study critical topics including early childhood literacy. In one of many instances where AU is at the epicenter of our changing world, we are shaping the future of cyber society. In just the last few weeks, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen delivered her first in-depth remarks on cryptocurrency at a Kogod School of Business event, SPA launched a new graduate certificate in cyber policy and management, and a team of SIS and WCL students won the Atlantic Council’s 10th annual Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge.
We also continue building and strengthening our community in many ways. Furthering our pursuit of inclusive excellence, SOC held its inaugural Inclusive Excellence Week featuring documentary screenings and community events, and an April 27 PCDI event will celebrate AU receiving the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education 2022 Institutional Transformation for Inclusive Excellence Award. And as we look to the future of the university, the DC Zoning Commission issued the final approval order for our 10-year Campus Plan and the Change Can’t Wait campaign hosted a Washington, DC, regional event with more than 250 alumni and supporters.
Watching our community in purposeful action in these and other ways is invigorating (you can see more examples in the recently released 2021 Year in Review). It also demonstrates just how hard our students, faculty, and staff work every day. While we all put forth our best efforts in these concluding weeks of the semester, I hope you can also find time for breaks this summer or whenever it is best for you. It is vital to recharge, recognize your many achievements, and honor the values we hold dear. To that end, I want to remind you that starting this summer the university will celebrate the Juneteenth holiday. As June 19 falls on Sunday this year, the university will close in observance on Monday, June 20. This important holiday is an opportunity to reflect on our inclusive excellence journey and continue learning about the issues—past and present—that inform the work that is still come for our community and our society.
Thank you for your dedication throughout this semester. While there have been challenges, you’ve met them with determination and grace. I hope you will keep that perspective as we finish strong, continue our momentum, and celebrate another year of changemaking at American University.