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.
September 2020 Retreat Summary
The Board of Trustees met via Zoom for its annual retreat on September 10. The retreat is an opportunity to explore the larger trends and significant issues shaping higher education and AU's future. Discussions took on greater urgency as we considered the impact of COVID-19 and the path for AU to emerge stronger after the pandemic, and the critical work of addressing systemic racism within AU and throughout higher education. The Board of Trustees engaged with two distinguished experts in these areas—Dr. Tiffany Jones, senior director of higher education policy at The Education Trust, and Dr. Ted Mitchell, president of the American Council on Education. In its business meeting, the board approved bylaw amendments to establish a new Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and approved Anusha Mannam (WCL 2L) as student trustee-elect for 2020-21. President Burwell and Chief Financial Officer Doug Kudravetz provided an update on the university budget, the impact from COVID-19, and potential actions to address financial shortfalls.
AU Divests Public Fossil Free Investments from Endowment
On Earth Day (April 22, 2020), American University announced that it has divested all public fossil fuel investments from its endowment. AU has had no direct investments in fossil fuel funds for several years. In a series of transactions over the last few months, the Board of Trustees eliminated the remaining $12.9 million of fossil fuel exposure within the public endowment portfolio. This action was executed through the sale of $350 million in commingled and index funds.