Since its founding in 1893, American University has benefited greatly from the devotion, service, intellectual contributions, ethical behavior, and philanthropy of many thousands of faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends.
In a very real sense, they also are "trustees" of the institutions by virtue of their dedication, affection, and generosity that help to ensure that the University will faithfully serve this and future generations. Those of us who have been chosen to serve as fiduciary trustees for a period of time—to safeguard the University's assets and to foster its capacity to serve others—enthusiastically and without reservation accept the following additional responsibilities as evidence of the commitment of each trustee. Read the Trustees' Statement of Commitment.
Announcing New Members of the Board of Trustees
As we begin the spring semester, I am pleased to announce two new members of the American University Board of Trustees. In late 2020, we unanimously approved Maria Otero and Wes Bush to the Trustee Class of 2024. With outstanding careers in government service, the corporate world, and the philanthropic sector, and strong ties to the AU community, Maria and Wes will bring invaluable insights and leadership as we continue the university’s momentum and growth. Their appointments continue to broaden the skills and backgrounds among our trustees, which is critical to supporting our strategic plan and advancing our mission.
Trustee Gifts Enhance the AU Student Experience
President Burwell announced a recent gift from the Bender Foundation, Inc., which will support the development of the Center for Athletic Performance (CAP), and gifts from trustee Stephanie M. Bennett-Smith, which will support and rename the AU Athletics’ Eagles Leadership Academy. The CAP will elevate recreation, fitness, competitive opportunities, and wellness for all AU students, as an integral part of student thriving. The Bender Foundation, Inc. gift adds to commitments from trustees Jack Cassell and Alan Meltzer which launched the CAP into its planning phase last year.
November 2020 Meeting Summary
The late fall meeting of the American University Board of Trustees was an opportunity to review the university’s progress in responding to the demands of COVID-19 while also focusing on the critical planning underway to ramp up our activity for spring 2021 and beyond. We hosted a Zoom luncheon with faculty and heard about their engagements with students and innovations in learning and instruction. Following an update from President Burwell, the trustees engaged in a discussion of how to balance financial needs for both the current environment and advance long-term planning and investments. Vice Presidents Matt Bennett and Courtney Surls presented AU brand and fundraising campaign concepts. In addition, the Board welcomed new campus representatives and heard updates from the student, staff, and faculty constituencies. The information and participation from the campus representatives is incredibly valuable to the trustees, and their perspectives help shape our consideration of critical issues.