Op/ed: Don Myers made AU a better place
This week, Don Myers, AU’s Chief Financial Officer, Vice President and Treasurer, died after a long battle with cancer. His contribution to AU was nothing short of legendary and throughout his tenure he was a champion for students and for a better AU. For the beautiful national arboretum campus we live and learn on to AU’s unparalleled financial management and stability, AU and its students owe Don Myers an incredible debt of gratitude.
Myers had an incredible impact. When he started as CFO, our endowment was merely $5 million. It is now more than $500 million. AU now has one of the best managed budgets in higher education. During the Great Recession, AU did not falter financially, as so many colleges and universities did, in large part due to the culture of financial management that Don Myers cultivated here. AU is now undergoing a massive physical transformation that will provide new space for living and learning at AU, part of the Campus Plan that Don Myers oversaw.
My first interaction with Don Myers was watching him defend the importance of college affordability during the consideration of the University budget at the Board of Trustees Finance and Investment Committee. His work as co-chair of the University Budget committee led to a historic $1.5 million increase in financial aid. That’s nothing short of a testament to his legacy fighting for financial accessibility at AU. He was a strong champion of student interests and firmly believed in making AU financially accessible for all students.
Throughout my work as a student representative – first on the Board of Trustees Finance and Investment Committee and now as Student Trustee-Elect – he would always be there with a smile on his face, ready to explain financial statements and ask for my input. As the Board returns for its February meeting next month, I will greatly miss hearing him talk about AU’s financial stability and ever-growing endowment.
It is hard for me to imagine AU without Don Myers and I will surely remember his service to the University every time I see our beautiful campus and the ongoing construction or discuss financial accessibility. Though we can quantify many of the great things that Don Myers did at AU in trees planted, dollars of financial aid, or endowment growth, he leaves an unquantifiable legacy of service.
Joe Ste.Marie is a junior in the School of Public Affairs.