You are here: American University President Announcements May 12, 2022

AU Memo Letterhead

Dear AU Community,

Accomplishment. Relief. An understandable need for sleep. Fulfillment. Just some of the emotions felt across our community as we conclude spring 2022. We saw all of them on display, along with some boisterous and well-deserved family pride, during the outstanding commencement ceremonies this weekend. And I know we’ll see it again in our upcoming celebrations for WCL and the classes of 2020 and 2021. Honoring the incredible passion and impressive achievements of our graduates as they cross the Bender Arena stage is one of the highlights of the year. To our graduates—we are so proud of you for reaching this most special moment. You earned it through hard work and resiliency. And you made American University better because you constantly found ways to redefine yourself and this community in pursuit of meaningful purpose that will be a cornerstone of your life.

Commencement brings full circle the journey that each AU changemaker begins with the decision to join this community. Last week, we profiled a group of exemplary 2022 graduates whose remarkable stories reflect not only how the AU experience shapes each one of us, but also how we each add to the fabric of the AU community. Every graduate has a story like this, one forged by determination and supported by the AU community through shared experiences, a resilient set of values, and a motivation to answer the critical callings of our time. It is this community that sustains us through disruptions, cheers us in successes, and is always with us because of the bonds created at American University.

This weekend’s commencement speakers—World Trade Organization director-general Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, climate change leader Gina McCarthy, NFL broadcaster James Brown, economist and New York Times bestselling author Dambisa Moyo, and MSNBC host Symone Sanders—illuminated this unique aspect of the AU experience in their messages of hope and calls to action. In a time where our ever-changing world presents seemingly constant challenges, we need AU changemakers more than ever. And our graduates are uniquely prepared because of their characters, knowledge and vision gained through an AU education, and steadfast determination to make the change that can’t wait! Congratulations again to all our graduates.

While commencement is certainly a high point, it is not the only cause for celebration this month. On Wednesday, the 2022 AU Alumni Awards honored five trailblazing alumni who built on their AU experience to give back to their communities through service. And I can’t wait to celebrate the group of SOC students and faculty who were part of the Washington Post team that received the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for their coverage of the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol. This kind of experiential learning, led by our faculty who are not only experts in their fields but also working on the leading edge of today’s most pressing issues, truly defines the AU experience. Finally, commencement would not have been such a memorable time for our students and families without the dedicated work of our staff, from managing the extensive operation in Bender Arena to making our beautiful campus shine (even in the rain). These are more examples of how the AU community stands together and supports one another throughout life’s most important and purposeful times.

With summer upon us, I hope your days fill with exciting adventures, opportunities to recharge, and the time with friends and family that means so much to us. Whether you are a graduate moving to the next exciting chapter in life, a student preparing for another year of learning and growth, one of our more than 140,000 changemaking alumni, or a faculty or staff member continuing the invaluable work that moves the university forward, I want to salute all your successes throughout this year and thank you for your dedication to American University.

I will send periodic updates through the summer as we prepare for a fall semester that continues the groundbreaking research by our faculty, innovative work by our staff, and inspiring pursuits by our students. To Eagles everywhere, have a wonderful summer.