Memorandum January 13, 2021
- AU Community
- Sylvia M. Burwell, President
- Doug Kudravetz, Chief Financial Officer, Vice President and Treasurer
For more than 35 years, Doug Kudravetz has been a pillar of the American University community and an integral part of our growth and success. Over the past year, Doug and I have been discussing his intention to retire. Thankfully, he agreed to continue his vital work during the first stages of the pandemic, helping us effectively manage our finances through difficult times. Now, after three decades of service, Doug will retire in June 2021. He has been a dedicated partner and friend, and I cannot thank him enough for his commitment to the university and wise counsel.
Doug’s stewardship of university finances has been the foundation of so many of AU’s achievements and our ongoing strategic vision. His support for investments and innovation brought new opportunities for students, faculty, and staff. His careful management resulted in the lowest tuition increase on record in the last budget cycle and dedicating an additional $13 million to financial aid in 2020. Doug has skillfully managed our endowment to new highs, growing its value nearly 50 percent during his time as CFO, and led the transition to an investment portfolio without fossil fuel holdings. He also managed and restructured the university’s debt portfolio, which will serve AU well into the future.
As we navigated unprecedented fiscal challenges due to COVID-19, Doug’s long-term vision and in-the-moment resourcefulness were vital to securing our financial well-being and positioning AU to thrive as the nation and the world emerge from the pandemic. Thanks to sound budgetary planning over many years, Doug was able to deploy reserves and endowment income streams to fill significant portions of our financial shortfall. He also collaborated with colleagues across the university to identify additional cost savings that enabled us to limit the impacts on our people.
Doug oversaw the multi-year effort that resulted in AU becoming the first university in the country to become carbon neutral, including securing a 20-year power purchase agreement that delivers 50 percent of our electric needs from solar fields in North Carolina. In addition, the recent completion of the campus-wide low-temperature hot water infrastructure project reduced our carbon footprint by 50 percent.
A key architect of our campus’ transformation, Doug oversaw the construction of state-of-the-art facilities including the new Hall of Science, the East Campus complex including the Don Myers Technology and Innovation Building, and the Washington College of Law–Tenley Campus. He was also primarily responsible for securing the gift of the 350-acre Airlie Center in Warrenton Virginia. Doug played a key role in the development of our recently submitted 2021 Campus Plan, co-chairing the AU Neighborhood Partnership that was a critical component of our engagement with our neighbors. And Doug helped develop a heightened risk management program and the necessary support to ensure we maintain a comprehensive safe and secure campus environment.
Doug joined American University in 1985. Throughout his career, he served as associate vice president of finance and assistant treasurer, assistant vice president of finance, and director of internal audit. He assumed the position of Chief Financial Officer, Vice President and Treasurer in July 2014. He has been a stalwart advocate for students, working with campus leaders to make the budget process more transparent and serving as a resource to help our community actively participate in the university’s financial matters.
Thanks to Doug’s work and the dedication of his team, our financial position is strong and will continue to support our strategic priorities as we commence the search for a new CFO. A small and diverse search advisory committee will work with a search firm to help guide the search, including conducting initial candidate interviews. Additional stakeholders representing the different components of the AU community will conduct further interviews with candidates who have been selected to move forward in the process. Ultimately, final candidates will meet with me, the cabinet, members of the Board of Trustees, and other key community leaders.
Finally, Doug has been an amazing member of our leadership team. He is a true colleague, always willing to listen and help others achieve their goals. All of us at American University are grateful to Doug for his professionalism and partnership. Please join me in thanking Doug for his unwavering dedication, exemplary service, and many contributions to our community. We wish him all the best as he enjoys retirement with his family.