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AU in the Neighborhood Newsletter

AU Chorus


As the fall semester classes end and final exams begin, campus life quiets down for the holidays and our winter break. Looking back over the recent months, AU President Neil Kerwin shares some semester highlights in his fall video message. This month, there are music and dance events, along with men’s and women’s basketball games for our neighbors to enjoy. Take a break from the hectic holiday pace and stroll the exhibits at the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, and stop by the museum store for unique gifts. Our university offices will be closed this year from December 23 through January 1. We wish our neighbors happy holidays, a joyful season shared with family and friends, and a happy New Year.

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AU Chorus Presents A Holiday "Noel" Concert

Celebrate the holidays at 8 p.m. on Friday, December 2 and Saturday, December 3, with a musical evening featuring the AU Chorus in concert, as they celebrate the joy and mysteries of the Christmas season. The program features works including Poulenc’s Quatre motets pour le temps de Noel, along with Paulus’ Three Nativity Carols, and Charpentier’s Messe de minuit performed by the chorus and a student chamber orchestra. At the Abramson Family Recital Hall in the Katzen Arts Center. Tickets: $15; $10 seniors. Katzen box office: 202-885-2787.

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Holiday Reception for AU alums

AU alums are invited to join AU President Neil Kerwin and his wife Ann for a festive holiday open house on Wednesday, December 14 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the President’s house at 4835 Glenbrook Road, N.W. Enjoy live entertainment and the opportunity to mingle with fellow alumni, parents, and friends. For information, call Rebecca Vander Linde at 202-885-5968. RSVP to attend.

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Volunteer and Shop the AU Museum

Would you like to learn more and be part of the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center? Our volunteers provide information to museum visitors, guide tours, organize and assist with events and community outreach, and enjoy programs from lectures to studio visits. It’s a great way to learn more about the museum and its exhibits and meet others in the community. Volunteers also have free parking at the Katzen and reciprocal admission to several other institutions. For more information, visit or call Ann Miller-Lee at 202-885-3656. Also, while you are doing your holiday shopping, be sure to stop by the AU Museum Store for its unique selection of gifts, from jewelry and purses to picture frames and art. Hours: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and one hour before performing arts events at Katzen Arts Center. All holiday items are 40 percent off on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

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Men’s and Women’s Basketball Schedules

Men's Basketball Team

Join us at Bender Arena for home basketball games this month. Our men’s team plays UMBC (Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m.), St Joseph’s (Dec. 4 at 8 p.m.), and Hampton (Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m.). Our women’s team is on the home court for Maryland (Dec. 4 at 1 p.m.), Loyola (Dec. 21 at 7 p.m.), Quinnipiac (Dec. 28 at 7 p.m.), and Western Michigan (Dec. 30 at 7 p.m.). For tickets, call 202-885-TIXX. Mark your calendars for AU Friends Day on Saturday, January 7, at 2 p.m. for our men’s Patriot League opener against Colgate. All end zone tickets in Bender Arena will be $5 (regularly $10) if you reserve your tickets using the code “AU Friends” at checkout at 202-885-TIXX.

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Library Receives Collection of William Causey

AU’s Bender Library has acquired a collection of more than 1,900 fiction and non-fiction works, some dating back to 1790, thanks to a donation from William F. Causey SPA/BA ’71. His collection includes first editions with personal inscriptions to him, along with the first printing of Hamlet in the United States and a rare first-edition copy of J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. “The power of the Causey Collection is that it is building the rare books collection of tomorrow, today,” said University Librarian Bill Mayer. Causey’s connection to the library began in the 1970s as a student and student body president. “It’s critical to support the library at any university, either by contributing financially, serving on a board, donating material, whatever it is. I think it’s important to do that because it’s such a critical function of the university, and I am just happy that I can do that,” Causey said.

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New Director of Public Safety

We would like to share with our neighbors the appointment of Daniel R. Nichols as AU’s new Director of Public Safety. He joins the university after 27 years with the United States Capitol Police. Most recently, he was Assistant Chief of Police/Chief of Operations, directing protection of the U.S. Congress, the Capitol, House and Senate Office buildings, Library of Congress, employees, and visitors. He holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Management from John Hopkins University. Our Public Safety oversees campus safety, parking and traffic services, and access to campus gates for neighbors. It also is where neighbors should report any concerns involving students at 202-885-2527. We are planning opportunities for neighbors to meet Dan.

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History Professor Uses Oral History to Examine Homelessness

AU history professor Daniel Kerr has spent two decades delving into issues of homelessness in the U.S. Childhood memories of impoverished neighborhoods in his hometown of Cleveland kindled an early interest in alleviating homelessness. After college, he lived in New York City and joined the squatters’ movement, aiding efforts to prevent evictions from several buildings. Back in Cleveland for graduate studies, he continued to work with the homeless and collect their stories with a video camera. His nearly 200 interviews of homeless people were shared in shelters and community meetings. Researching the history of the modern shelter system spurred him to write a new book Derelict Paradise: Homelessness and Urban Development in Cleveland, Ohio. Kerr believes the problems he observed in Cleveland exist around the country. He says, “Understanding the history of homelessness can help us figure out how to change this part of our society on a systematic level and move forward.”

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AU Professor Donates Sound Effects Collection

SOC Greg Smith

Our days are made up of a cacophony of sounds which come and go. However, for Greg Smith, AU School of Communication adjunct professor, and recent graduate MA/MFA ’10, sound effects became his career. A sound engineer for 25 years, he recorded hundreds of sound effects while working on films including Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, Jurassic Park, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. To this collection, he added myriad everyday sounds as well as exotic ones from travels around the world. As part of his master’s thesis, Smith reviewed 800 hours of effects amassed in his career. The result was a collection of 1,450 sound effects that he has donated to AU’s Bender Library to form the foundation of the Greg Smith Sound Effects Collection. The collection is open and free for all filmmakers to use.

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OLLI Speaker Series

Olli attendees at a lecture

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at AU offers lots of courses for our retired neighbors to enjoy. Visit for more information about the variety of classes available in the spring semester. OLLI, now celebrating its 30th year, also offers a Speaker Series on Tuesdays that is free and open to the public from 12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. at the Temple Baptist Church at 3850 Nebraska Avenue., N.W. with parking available at AU’s Katzen Arts Center or the Nebraska parking lot. On Tuesday, December 6, Art Downey will talk about his recently published book Civil War Lawyers: Constitutional Questions, Courtroom Dramas and the Men Behind Them.

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Calendar of Events

Thursday, December 1 at 7:30 p.m. AU men’s basketball team plays University of Maryland, Baltimore Campus. Bender Arena.

Friday, December 2 and Saturday, December 3 at 8 p.m. The AU Chorus presents Noel, a concert celebrating the joy and mysteries of the Christmas season. Featured works include Poulenc’s Quatre motets pour le temps de Noel, Paulus’ Three Nativity Carols, and Charpentier’s Messe de minuit, and will feature the chorus alongside a student chamber orchestra. Conductor is Laura Petravage. Abramson Family Recital Hall in the Katzen Arts Center. Tickets: $15, $10 seniors. Free parking is available under the Katzen building.

Saturday, December 3 at 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. The AU Gospel Choir presents A Celebration of Christmas, featuring performances of seasonal Gospel music and some favorite carols. Free and open to the public. Kay Chapel on campus. Free parking is available under the Katzen Arts Center or at the Nebraska Avenue parking lot.

Sunday, December 4 at 1 p.m. AU Women’s Basketball team plays University of Maryland. Bender Arena.

Sunday, December 4 at 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. American University Dance: Winter Dance Informal. Free and open to the public at the Abramson Family Recital Hall in the Katzen Arts Center. Free parking is available under the Katzen Arts Center.

Sunday, December 4 at 8 p.m. AU men’s basketball team plays St. Joseph’s. Bender Arena.

Tuesday, December 6 at 7 p.m. DC premiere screening of the documentary film, LIA, by Israeli director Taly Goldenberg about the life of Lia Van Leer, legendary founder of the Israel Film Archive and the Jerusalem Film Festival. Post-film discussion. Wechsler Theater on the third floor of Mary Graydon Center. Co-sponsored by the Washington Jewish Film Festival, Embassy of Israel, American University Center for Israel Studies, and the America Israel Cultural Foundation. RSVP required for tickets. Contact Laura Cutler at Free parking is available at the Nebraska Avenue parking lot.

Tuesday, December 12 at 7:30 p.m. AU men’s basketball team plays Hampton University. Bender Arena.

Tuesday, December 13 at 7 p.m. Join us for a sneak preview of the film EcoViews: Balancing the Bay, a documentary by students in environmental and wildlife production. The film will air next spring on Maryland Public Television during Chesapeake Bay Week. The film follows individuals who are trying actively and passionately to restore balance to the ecosystems of the Chesapeake Bay. Professor Sandy Cannon-Brown and her students will be present to introduce the film and answer questions. Free and open to the public. Wechsler Theatre on the third floor of Mary Graydon Center. Sponsored by the Center for Environmental Filmmaking.

Wednesday, December 21 at 7 p.m. AU women’s basketball team plays Loyola (MD). Bender Arena.

Wednesday, December 28 at 7 p.m. AU women’s basketball team plays Quinnipiac. Bender Arena.

Friday, December 30 at 7 p.m. AU women’s basketball team plays Western Michigan. Bender Arena.

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For event details and a full list of all upcoming events, see the University Events Calendar.

For a listing of upcoming events for AU alumni, please visit the Alumni Events Calendar.