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Memorandum October 30, 2017

American University Community
Sylvia M. Burwell, President
Appointment of Chief of Staff and Counselor to the President

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Seth Grossman as Chief of Staff and Counselor to the President, effective December 4, 2017. Seth comes to us from the University of California System, where he serves as Chief of Staff to the UC President and as a lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law.

A member of the President’s Cabinet, Seth will report directly to me and work closely with our senior leadership team to advance the institution’s goals. He will ensure that we are aligned and strategically focused; oversee a variety of cross-cutting projects and initiatives; serve as a liaison with AU stakeholders and constituents; and coordinate the staff in the Office of the President and manage communications, systems, and policies.

At the University of California, Seth was President Janet Napolitano’s top executive in the administration and operation of the UC system with 10 campuses, five medical centers, three affiliated national laboratories, more than 264,000 students, 209,000 faculty and staff, and an operating budget of more than $31 billion. While managing UC’s senior executive team, he worked closely with UC faculty, student, and staff leaders on a wide range of academic, administrative, policy, and strategic planning matters; oversaw the Office of General Counsel; collaborated with the UC Board of Regents on governance reform; developed UC’s Public Service Law Fellowship Program; chaired UC’s Global Food Initiative; and led UC crisis response efforts. He also led the creation of UC’s first system-wide Title IX office.

Prior to his service at the University of California, Seth was Deputy General Counsel and Counselor to the Secretary at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, where, among other responsibilities, he helped to lead the development of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Earlier in his career, he served in other government positions with the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and also worked in private practice. He earned his BA summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania and JD from Yale Law School. He was a law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, as well as for Judge Guido Calabresi of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Seth is a native of the Washington, DC, area.

With Seth’s appointment as Chief of Staff, I’m pleased that David Taylor will continue to serve as a member of the President’s Cabinet as Secretary of the Board of Trustees and Special Counsel. David’s focus on and support for the Board will be critical as the trustees play increasingly important roles in our fundraising and strategic planning. In addition, David will maintain several administrative responsibilities, including oversight of WAMU 88.5 FM and leading AU campus plan and neighborhood relations efforts.

Please join me in congratulating David Taylor on his new role and welcoming Seth Grossman to American University as the newest member of AU’s senior leadership team.