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Op-ed: A special thank you to former AU President Kerwin

The American University Alumni Board expresses thanks to the former president for his leadership

Op-ed: A special thank you to former AU President Kerwin

Neil Kerwin, Joe Vidulich, Karim Marshall, Dorothy Mejia and Alexis Bawden at Kerwin's inauguration as AU's 14th president in February 2008.

Over the last several decades, a quiet steady hand has left a mark on our idyllic campus in Northwest Washington, guiding the lives of thousands of young people passing through to success and with hopes of achieving the impossible. For ten years now, as our university president, Dr. Neil Kerwin, SPA/BA ’71, has led AU to new heights in its goal to educate, inspire, and through its students and alumni, leave a lasting positive impact not just locally, but globally.

AU, now more than ever in its history, is recognized the world over as a top-tier institution. Demand for undergraduate admission has never been greater – nor more selective. The admit rate is almost 20 percent lower than just two years ago. As a testament to American University’s commitment to academic rigor, now just one in four students is admitted.

In addition, thanks to an intense focus on scholarship and research, AU joined respected institutions such as the College of William and Mary and Dartmouth College in the R2 research classification, as granted by the Carnegie Commission.

The university has expanded its facilities by an astonishing 1.5 million square feet. Some of the most recent facilities include our new law school campus at the Tenleytown Metro station and the soon to be completed residence halls and Don Myers Technology and Innovation Building on the east side of campus.

Our endowment — which has grown by more than 100 percent in the past 10 years — combined with our improved bond ratings are a testament to the university’s financial discipline. This thoughtful fiscal management has given AU the ability to offer more financial aid, fund more scholarships and initiate exciting new programs that are supportive of our strategic plan.

American University is undoubtedly better because of the leadership of Neil Kerwin.

President Kerwin enabled us to think differently about ourselves and our university. He challenged us to dream higher and loftier, to demand more of ourselves, and to commit to a career of service and purpose. Although his tenure is ending, his belief in AU’s bright future will become his legacy and a guidepost for future AU leaders.

Dr. Kerwin has been a transformative leader for American University, and on behalf of our 125,000 global alumni, we thank you, Neil, for your unrelenting work to improve our alma mater and through doing so, the world around us.

Joe Vidulich, SPA/BA ’08, is the president of the American University Alumni Board.