Campaign may improve academics

The second installment in a non-sequential series dissecting the "A New AU" campaign unveiled on Oct. 16

AU hopes to attract better students and faculty as it raises money for these factions as part of the "A New AU" campaign. The campaign hopes to raise $45 million for scholarships and department and program chairs and professorships, according to the "A New AU" Web site.

One of the priorities of the campaign is to bolster endowments. The $10 million proposed to go toward the strengthening of chairs and professorships will ensure that AU's faculty is composed of individuals who are esteemed in their fields, said David Carrera, senior director of development for divisional programs.

"Faculty members have a profound effect on the quality of an institution," Carrera said. "The strengthening of this area allows us to attract distinctive experts from other areas, as well as maintain the esteemed faculty that we have."

Making faculty members chairs allows AU to reward some of its highest achieving faculty who it wants to retain, he said. It also allows AU to attract scholars of international acclaim, which will improve the quality of the institution as well.

Money for the strengthening of endowments will go toward scholarships as well. AU expects that $25 million will be raised for scholarships, easing the financial burden of students, said Tracey Vranich, senior director of development for annual campaigns. More than 5,000 students need some form of financial aid, and this amount will benefit the vast majority of students, she said.

"We want to attract the best and the brightest students," Vranich said. "We need to offer more financial aid because more students will be able to attend AU and receive great educations. The more students who benefit may choose AU over Harvard or Georgetown, which will increase the esteem of our institution."

"A New AU" is one of the most ambitious fund-raising campaigns that AU has endeavored. AU hopes to raise $200 million to improve the quality of various areas of the University as outlined on the project's Web site (www.american.edu/anewau).

Both Carrera and Vranich are confident the campaign will reach its goal of $200 million.

"This is a process that will take awhile to achieve," Carrera said. "It's like a marathon in the way that we can't sprint through it, but it is absolutely going to happen"

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