Joe Vidulich named AU’s Alumni Association president
Vidulich hopes to connect students to alumni resources
As Joe Vidulich begins his two year term as the new president of the American University Alumni Association, promoting inclusion and strengthening the link between students and alumni are his top priorities, he said.
The University’s Alumni Association is a group of active alumni who represent AU’s 120,000 graduates. The association connects former classmates, informs alumni of campus activities and allows people to volunteer and donate to their alma mater.
Vidulich, who graduated from AU in 2008 and served as the board’s vice president for the past two years, said that as president, he wants to focus on making sure students know about the support system alumni can provide for them. Vidulich will be replacing Andrea Agathoklis Murino, who finished her two year term as president.
“There is a vast network of people that stand ready to help [students] succeed,” Vidulich said. “If you need help, if you're out of work, if you need your first job, there are people who have come before you. It doesn't matter if you're political, a scientist, or you are a practitioner of the arts. There is someone in AU’s long history that has been there, that has done that and is willing to lend a hand.”
Vidulich said that it is important to create an inclusive and welcoming atmosphere within the entire AU community. While differing political opinions can sometimes divide alumni and current students, he wants to embrace different beliefs in order to work together.
“We need to make sure we’re celebrating inclusivity and diversity at the same time by working with the Black Alumni Alliance, Latino Alumni Alliance and the Pride Alliance,” Vidulich said. “We can find ways to celebrate AU in our own special way, but also together.”
Being active in campus organizations is nothing new to Vidulich, who said that during his time at AU, he was a Resident Assistant and was involved in greek life, the Residence Hall Association and AU College Republicans. He also served as the Student Government president from 2007-2008.
One of Vidulich’s most notable achievements at American University was creating the AU Blue Crew in 2006. This organization, whose goal is to generate more support for American University’s athletics, has grown to be one of the University’s largest student groups. Vidulich said he started the group because he believed athletes weren't being recognized for their hard work, a sentiment that he thinks has changed since the organization gained popularity.
“Students had a new appreciation for these students and fellow peers who were out there for them,” Vidulich said.
After graduating in 2008 with his bachelor's degree in political science, Vidulich said he continued to support his alma mater by joining the Alumni Association of which he has been an active member since 2010. He has also supported students through his involvement with internships and guest lecturing in the School of Public Affairs. Now, Vidulich works as the manager for State and Local Relations at Capital One.
“AU has given me so much, and I knew from the very beginning that I wanted to make sure I was giving back to it,” Vidulich said.
Vidulich also said that he is looking forward to the University’s next chapter under Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who was announced as the new president on Jan. 26, succeeding President Neil Kerwin.
“Secretary Burwell is emblematic of AU’s mission,” Vidulich said. “Her story is what every American University student aspires to be.”
He also noted that it was time for AU to have a woman be president.
“I’m looking forward to getting to meet with her and connecting her with other alumni to talk to her about how alumni can help move the University forward for years to come,” Vidulich said.
However, Vidulich is somewhat disappointed that an American University alumni will not be president anymore. He said that it is beneficial to have an AU alum in the office of the presidency. President Kerwin was an American University alum who graduated in 1971, while Secretary Burwell attended Harvard and Oxford.
“Now that we don't have the benefit of having an alumni as the president of the institution, I think its calls on all alumni to go out there and be more visible and give back more of their time and their talent to make sure we welcome and embrace Burwell, but also to help other alumni,” Vidulich said.