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Gary M. Abramson, Chairman of the AU Board of Trustees
February 8, 2008
The Board of Trustees of American University, fulfilling one of the most significant responsibilities with which it has been charged by an act of Congress of the United States of America, has chosen you, Corneilus Kerwin, to be the 14th president of American University. Those who founded American University saw higher education as a dynamic force which must be responsive to the world around it and must at the same time help to shape its future.
Those founders recognized that human aspirations, human needs and human potential are ever-changing. They knew that their concerns in the nineteenth century would not be those of the twentieth century, nor centuries to come. But they were convinced, that the challenges of any age can be met meaningfully by women and men who are provided with insights from the accumulated knowledge and wisdom of history, and from their own times, and who are endowed with an understanding of commitment to enduring human values.
To assist in the formation of such women and men is the greatest contribution that any university can make to the world… And that is the primary goal of American University. More than 100 years later, our goals still remain lofty. You begin your tenure at a period in our nation's, indeed our world's, history when lofty ideals and their relationship to our daily conduct are undergoing renewed scrutiny and debate. In this time of great challenge, we look to you to lead this university--our university--with concern for these high ideals and also for the needs of the campus, the community, the nation and the world.
We all pledge to you our support in this endeavor. Today, Friday February 8, 2008, the Board of Trustees in the presence of the faculty, administration, staff, students, parents, alumnae and alumni, international, national and local officials; educational and professional associations; representatives of other colleges and universities; your family and your friends, today we are proud to install you officially, as the 14th president of American University.
Will faculty trustee Jonathan Loesberg and student trustee Mark Tomik please join me at the podium?
We present you now with two symbols of this office: first, this copy of the original act of incorporation and by-laws of American University . These are the legal documents that established the university and by whose terms you have been elected its chief executive officer.
In addition, I invest you with this presidential medallion. It bears the seal of the university, and symbolizes the authority of your office and the trust placed in you this day.