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Meet the President

Cornelius M. Kerwin


Dr. Cornelius M. Kerwin became American University’s 14th president in September 2007. He leads an institution of about 13,000 students, 1,300 teaching and administrative faculty, and 2,500 staff in the nation’s capital; oversees a $593 million operating budget and $575 million endowment.

Dr. Kerwin joined AU in 1975 and holds a faculty appointment in the School of Public Affairs, Department of Public Administration. He was dean of the School of Public Affairs from 1988 to 1997; provost from 1997 to 2005; and acting—then interim—president of American University from 2005 to 2007.

A nationally recognized specialist in public policy and the regulatory process, Dr. Kerwin is actively engaged in research and periodically teaches courses in administrative process, policy implementation, and American government. He founded AU’s Center for the Study of Rulemaking and is the author of Rulemaking: How Government Agencies Write Law and Make Policy and co-author of How Washington Works: The Executive’s Guide to Government.

Dr. Kerwin is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration; a former president of the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration; and founding chair of the Section on Public Law and Administration of the American Society for Public Administration. He received degrees from American University (BA), the University of Rhode Island (MA, political science), and Johns Hopkins University (PhD, political science).

Dr. Kerwin served as a member of the board of directors of the American Council on Education (ACE) from 2012 to 2015 and on the board of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) from February 2012 to February 2014. He is a member of the Greater Washington Board of Trade and the DC Chamber of Commerce; he chaired the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area Board of Trustees (2013-15) and the Patriot League Council of Presidents (academic years 2013-14 and 2014-15).

Before retiring in 2007, Dr. Kerwin's wife, Ann (BA 1971), was the director of Human Resources at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, one of the nation's oldest museums.


Learn more about AU's transformation under President Kerwin's leadership.


July 2016

Meet Ann Kerwin

AU alumna, parent, and donor

Read More

Strategic Plan

AU's strategic plan, Leadership for a Changing World, outlines goals and objectives for the next decade at American University. Visit for more information. ( login required for some documents)

Read the Strategic Plan

View objectives, years 7 & 8