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American University

AU Chancellors and Presidents

Over American University's history, 22 men have presided over the faculty and students as the school leader, whether as chancellor or president, "acting" or "actual." Beginning with John Fletcher Hurst in 1891, the founder of American University (AU), the first fifty years of AU leaders was dominated by men of the cloth who put the Methodist religion first. The first fifty years of AU's life was dominated not only by religion, but also immense fundraising for school expansion.

In 1940, the title of "chancellor" was changed to "president," as it remains today. Over the next thirty-five years, American University gradually moved away from its Methodist roots to focus more on politics and public affairs, reflected in the changing resumés of its leaders and the activism of its students. In 1968, AU elected its first non-Methodist president, George Williams.

The last 35 years of AU history have continued to focus on public policy and activism. While there ahve been a number of short-term presidents as of late, AU's most recent president, Cornelius Kerwin, has arguably been with AU longer than his official term; he is the first alumnus to held the title of president. 

Take a look at the men who helped make AU what it is today. You may even recognize some the chancellors' and presidents' names on AU buildings today!