You are here: American University President Announcements AU Receives $3 Million Gift to Launch New Era in Athletics

American University
Washington, DC

Memorandum September 23, 2019

AU Community
Sylvia M. Burwell, President
AU Receives $7 Million Gift Boosts Both Eagles’ Athletics and AU’s Unique Scholarship

Today, I am proud to mark another distinguished moment in our Changemakers journey and announce that American University has received $7 million in leadership gifts from Board of Trustees member Alan Meltzer and his wife, Amy. This generosity joins recent commitments that are creating unparalleled new opportunities for our university.

The Meltzers have pledged $7 million to AU; $5 million to support the Center for Athletic Performance, and $2 million to create the Alan L. Meltzer and Amy Meltzer Fellowship in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Center for Israel Studies. Their philanthropy empowers our work to advance our strategic priorities and better serve our community. 

The Meltzers’ gift to Athletics stands alongside the recently announced $3 million gift from Jack Cassell, SOC/BA ’77, former Board chairman, and his wife, Denise. Together, these gifts mark the start of planning for a new state-of-the-art facility that will dramatically enhance athletic capabilities for our entire community, increase access to recreational facilities for students, and support our dedicated student-athletes and Patriot League champion teams. 

Director of Athletics and Recreation, Dr. Billy Walker, expressed our excitement for this new chapter, saying, “We’re so very thankful to Alan and Amy Meltzer for their tremendously generous gift in support of the Center for Athletic Performance. Alan and Amy’s gift will support all sixteen of our varsity programs as well as the entire university community. Alan has a history of extraordinary generosity to athletics, spearheading efforts to support our wrestling program for decades. As a former AU student-athlete himself, Alan has once again demonstrated his remarkable character and leadership with this exceptional gift. We have reached a point in AU Athletics’ history where the Meltzers’ gift will help elevate our facilities for a new generation of Eagles.” 

The Meltzer family is devoted to American University and has repeatedly demonstrated its commitment to our success. Alan Meltzer has served on the AU Board of Trustees since 2007. His own experience as an AU wrestler shaped his understanding of the value of athletic competition and the community that sports can create. In 1998, the Meltzers named the Marilyn Meltzer Wrestling Room in honor of Alan’s mother to recognize the positive impact of wrestling in Alan’s own life. The Meltzers’ $5 million gift this year builds upon their support and ensures the continuation and success of AU’s wrestling program, while also providing a foundation of philanthropic support for the entire Athletics department. 

In making this commitment, Alan Meltzer shared, “I attended American University on a wrestling scholarship. What I learned through AU athletics, academics, and connections with fellow Eagles has made a lasting impact on my life. Amy and I believe it is important to give back to our community. We are also incredibly proud of the important work of the Center for Israel Studies, and we are eager to see it evolve.” 

Both Alan and Amy share a strong connection to the Center for Israel Studies’ (CIS) mission to study, examine, and interpret the rich landscape of Israel as a nation and a people. In honor of the 20th anniversary of the center, the Meltzers committed $2 million to create the Alan L. Meltzer and Amy Meltzer Fellowship. The Meltzer Fellowship will elevate the center’s already prominent scholarship and knowledge creation, and will allow CIS to establish and solidify partnerships with a wide array of Israeli luminaries. CIS is celebrated nationally as the first center of its kind. The Meltzer Fellowship ensures its continued position as a path-breaker. 

Peter Starr, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, welcomed the Meltzers’ CIS gift as “an extraordinary investment in the mission of the Center for Israel Studies that will raise its visibility, increase its standing, and provide a lasting pillar of support by creating the Alan L. Meltzer and Amy Meltzer Fellowship. This visiting scholars program will add great depth to our programming by bringing leading minds and vast expertise to AU to explore the impact of modern Israel in today’s world.”

Shaping a changing world requires the dedication exemplified by the Meltzers and the hard work to transform their generosity into action. We cannot succeed without the leading members of our community helping us fulfill our vision, and continuously challenging us to seek even greater achievements. We are grateful to Alan and Amy Meltzer for their leadership, we thank them for their partnership, and we know their support will be felt by generations of Eagles to come!