March 12, 2010
Campus Community
Gary Abramson, Chair, Board of Trustees
Board of Trustees Winter 2010 Meeting Summary
The American University Board of Trustees held its winter 2010 meeting on Thursday, February 18
and Friday, February 19 on the AU campus. On February 18, meetings were held for the following
committees: Academic Affairs; Alumni Affairs and Development; Athletics; Audit; Campus Life;
Communication; Finance and Investment; and Trusteeship. The full board met on February 19.
Major business conducted at the full board meeting and coming out of the committees included the
approval of new trustee candidates who will now be forwarded to the Board of Higher Education
and Ministry of the United Methodist Church for final approval; they included student trustee and
first year law student Ronald Louis Frey; faculty trustee and Faculty Senate Vice Chair Leigh
Riddick. Eight trustees were re-elected as the class of 2010 – Gary Abramson; Gina Adams; Gary
Cohn; Pamela Deese; Marc Duber; Dan Gasby; Thomas Gottschalk; and Alan Meltzer.
Patricia Aufderheide was approved as University Professor in the School of Communication.
Honorary degrees were approved for five commencement speaker nominees; as is tradition, the full
list of speakers for the May commencement will be announced in late March. The Finance and
Investment committee reported that AU’s endowment weathered the recent financial storm and
reported a 33% return on investment for 2009; the endowment now stands at $375 million. The
third quarter FY 2010 budget report was received, with revenues strong in most categories and no
surprises in unusual expenses.
Vice President of Finance and Treasurer Don Myers led the plenary session discussion of AU’s
campus planning efforts now underway. Discussions are being held with community members and
on campus constituencies, with updates and materials provided via Web posting. The plan is based
on the objectives established in the new strategic plan; priority projects taking shape include
increased on-campus housing for up to 1,000 students, and supporting amenities such as athletics,
dining and recreational facilities; a new home for the law school; improved science facilities; and
more space for faculty and administrative staff. Including the law school, the desired student
enrollment projection could add another 10% to the current population – the bulk of those being
law and graduate students. Regarding sites – two prime sites are development of the Nebraska
Parking Lot and further development of the Tenley Campus (as the possible home of the law
school). Ongoing efforts will be to refine the focus of the plan’s priorities and assess the project
Among other topics, President Kerwin reported on the work of the strategic plan measurement
team which has chosen “tracking software” to note the plan’s progress. He also indicated that two
major gifts have been received, one from the Crown Prince of Bahrain. The fall 2010 enrollment
projections look solid – with some 400 early decision enrollees admitted. For the first time in AU
history, the admit rate will fall below 50% -- indicating the increasing selectivity of AU admissions
and the higher enrollment standards. President Kerwin said the steady gains in both applications
and enrollments is almost counter intuitive given the recent state of the economy and the situation
faced by peer institutions; nevertheless, a number of initiatives have contributed to AU’s recent
success, including expanded regional outreach; increases in campus visit opportunities; better use of
technology; strategic use of financial aid/merit aid; and the admissions evaluation process.
Upon recommendation from the Academic Affairs Committee, resolutions were made and
approved and which established a new Master of Arts in Political Communication; Doctor of
Philosophy in Clinical Psychology; and Doctor of Philosophy in Behavior, Cognition, and
From the Alumni Affairs and Development Committee -- the “campaign for AnewAU” stands at
$197.3 million as of January 31; remains on track for completion by April 30, 2010; and plans are to
celebrate the campaign’s completion at the October President’s Circle Dinner. Once completed,
there are no current plans for a large comprehensive campaign but instead, the focus will be on
targeted campaigns – such as the ones envisioned for the School of Communication, Washington
College of Law, and WAMU 88.5.
Highlights from athletics included the overall 3.3 fall GPA for AU student athletes, and the success
of the women’s basketball team inspires hope of post season tournament play. The board also
approved the amendment to the bylaws which transitioned the Athletics Committee’s status from
“ad hoc” to “standing.”
The Campus Life Committee reported on strategies to mitigate risky behaviors; and the
Communications Committee reported on the status of the branding project.
The meeting adjourned at 2:35 p.m. The next meeting will be May 13 and May 14.