You are here: American University President Announcements January 17, 2023

AU Memo Letterhead

Dear AU Community,

Across campus today, AU Eagles are heading to their first class of the semester (following last week’s start at WCL and online). It is a moment of hope and anticipation for what the semester will bring. It is also a vibrant illustration of our community in motion, with students, staff, and faculty greeting each other, sharing stories from winter break, and talking about classes, internships, and projects for the semester.

We talk about community so much at AU because it is in our DNA. One of my favorite ways to build community is what we see on days like today. Community is action and interaction. It is built on the conversations we have. It is strengthened by the choices we make—to attend an event, to learn, and to pursue a purpose. It gives back when we help each other and when we make a difference in the world around us. It is empowered by our shared respect, trust, and accountability.

This community is a spark that ignites my imagination each semester. All of you are changemakers in action, and I could spend all day (and I often do) talking about what this community makes possible. Let me give just a few examples happening right now.

The men’s basketball team is having a strong season. After several road games, they are back in Bender Arena Wednesday night. Check out this incredible piece by Washington Post columnist John Feinstein (the expert on Patriot League basketball), who called AU the best college basketball team in DC! Feinstein attended a recent game where we hosted local students and families as part of elementary school day and had the largest crowd at Bender Arena in 14 years. This engagement with our broader DC community is another way the AU community takes action and builds connection.

The MLK Day of Service took place yesterday, with community members fanning out across the city to support organizations Hortons Kids, Alliance for Black Men, Martha’s Table, and KidPower DC, among others. The Burwell family was proud to join the work at the SAMU First Response center. The AU community is so dedicated to service and giving back, and there are more opportunities at the upcoming Spring 2023 Community Partner Fair on January 18 (tomorrow!).

As the semester opens, there are so many opportunities for engagement and learning created by our community. For example, February 1 promises to be a banner day. First, at 1 p.m. all six of this spring’s Sine Institute Fellows will be on campus for an event cohosted with the Kennedy Political Union. Later that evening, we will have our next regional Change Can’t Wait event in Miami, featuring expert insights from faculty members Caty Borum and Cynthia Miller-Idriss. And speaking of our faculty, I hope you watch the seven new Change Can’t Wait videos about impactful scholarship in areas including higher education, race and representation in the media, sports, law, quantum information theory (I learned a lot!), and more. 

I could keep going, with student clubs having their first meetings of the semester (check out the Winter Involvement Fair) and staff and faculty affinity groups coming together in support of our teams. Like I said, this community takes action in so many ways, and I could not be prouder to be a part of it.

Have a great semester.