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American Today

On Campus

Holiday Wishes from American University

By Adrienne Frank

a snowy quad with the words:

Watch the video

President Neil Kerwin’s first video holiday card is green, mighty festive, and delivers viewers wishes from faculty, students, alumni, and staff—wishes for world peace, a job offer, a trip to the big dance.

Like Saint Nick on Christmas Eve, the e-card is circling the globe this week, spreading holiday cheer from 4400 Massachusetts Avenue to more than 100,000 alumni, parents, and friends. That’s 20 times more people than AU’s traditional print holiday greeting.

Matt Fredericks, director of university video, and School of Communication grad students Christopher Richmond and Puja Bhalerao produced the three-minute high def video, combing some four hours of footage. “People let their personality shine through,” Fredericks said, “a lot of them brought their own props and really had fun with it.”

AU’s viral stars, many of them plucked from over 100 people who answered an open call last month, were shot on green screen then, back in his Anderson Hall studio, Fredericks added snow and inserted 40 different backgrounds.

The trio of video creators also used Photoshop, After Effects, and Final Cut to add 100 different effects per “wish.” 

The video card “cost virtually nothing… and underscores AU’s commitment to sustainability,” said Deborah Wiltrout, senior marketing director. Her wish? “We hope everyone enjoys it and passes it along, from friend to friend and alum to alum.”