You are here: American University Board of Trustees January 22, 2021 Memo

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Memorandum January 22, 2021

AU Community
Marc N. Duber, Chair, Board of Trustees
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.

Maria Otero served as U.S. Undersecretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights under Secretary Hillary Clinton from 2009 to 2013. She oversaw US foreign relations on the global spectrum of civilian security issues, including population, refugees, human trafficking, narcotics, global criminal justice and countering violent extremism. Otero was the highest-ranking Latino official at the State Department and the first Latina Under Secretary in its history. She also served as President Barack Obama’s Special Representative for Tibetan Issues.

Born in La Paz, Bolivia, Otero was formerly president and chief executive officer of ACCION International, a leader in microfinance and economic development working in 26 countries. She is recognized as a leading expert on inclusive economic growth, women’s issues, and international development. She has served on boards of directors including The Kresge Foundation, the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, and Oxfam America. In 2000, President William Clinton appointed Otero to the board of the United States Institute of Peace, where she served for eight years. In 2006 she was appointed by Secretary General Kofi Annan to the United Nations Advisors Group on Inclusive Financial Sectors. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Otero’s husband, Joseph Eldridge (SIS/MA ’81), served as AU’s longtime university chaplain (1997-2016), founded AU’s Alternative Breaks program, and holds an adjunct appointment as a distinguished practitioner in residence in the School of International Service.

Wes Bush is the former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Northrop Grumman Corporation. He previously served as the company’s Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer, and President of its Space Technology sector. Before the acquisition of TRW by Northrop Grumman in 2002, Bush served as President and Chief Executive Officer for TRW’s UK-based global Aeronautical Systems and as Vice President of TRW Ventures. He joined TRW as a systems engineer in 1987 in its space business.  

Bush serves on the boards of directors at Cisco, General Motors, and Dow, as well as the boards of several nonprofit organizations including the MIT Corporation, Conservation International, the Inova Health System, the Greater Washington Partnership, and the Darden School Foundation. With the Greater Washington Partnership, Bush is the inaugural chair of the Capital CoLab, a program to expand employment opportunities in the digital economy where AU is a founding partner. He is also a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

In January 2019, Bush joined AU’s Sine Institute of Policy and Politics as a distinguished lecturer. In addition, he and his wife Natalie, through their Golden Paws Foundation, established the Ruby King Bush Scholarship fund in February 2020. The fund provides financial aid and programmatic support to the AU/DCPS Teacher Pipeline Project, including the full cost of attendance for an undergraduate student in the program.

Please join us in welcoming Maria and Wes to the Board of Trustees and thanking them for their commitment to American University.