American University's School of International Service Breaks Ground on ‘Green’ Building

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The state-of-the-art building is scheduled to open to students and faculty in fall 2009.

For more than 50 years AU's School of International Service has been educating young men and women for international service -- a distinctive trait of this school and our entire university

American University's School of International Service (SIS), the nation’s largest school of international affairs, broke ground today on a new 70,000-square-foot environmentally-friendly building. The state-of-the-art building is scheduled to open to students and faculty in fall 2009.

Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI) delivered the groundbreaking address, which paralleled and commemorated the groundbreaking address made in 1957 by President Dwight David Eisenhower for the school’s original building. Inouye, the third most senior member of the U.S. Senate, is chairman of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee and is vice chairman of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission.

“For more than 50 years AU's School of International Service has been educating young men and women for international service -- a distinctive trait of this school and our entire university,” said American University President Neil Kerwin. “With a new green home for our scholars, students, and academic programs, we re-dedicate ourselves to this mission to offer the finest in teaching and research to educate the next generation of global leaders. Upon completion, the School of International Service will have a home that is more in keeping with its mission, stature and influence.”

The new structure, designed by renowned “green” architect William McDonough with William McDonough & Partners, will bring faculty currently housed in eight buildings across campus into one space. It has been designed to reduce energy consumption and minimize construction waste, and the architects are fashioning spaces that will protect public health by using natural lighting, nontoxic materials and climate controls that ensure the quality of indoor air. Thirty of American University’s buildings are registered for LEED accreditation, the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. These efforts are part of a larger university-wide green campaign that includes initiatives in transportation, grounds, water, energy and waste management.

The School of International Service was founded as a result of Dwight Eisenhower’s observation in 1956 that the United States needed to increase its capacity to train young men and women to “wage peace” around the world. The ceremony to launch the original building on Sunday, June 9, 1957, concluded AU’s spring commencement with Eisenhower arriving from the White House to receive an honorary degree. Eisenhower noted the “significant step” represented by “establishing this school for preparing young men and women for international service.” Today, SIS serves more than 2,500 students from every state and 150 countries.

“Thanks to the dedication of our students and faculty, and the involvement of our alumni and friends, the School of International Service will be a vibrant center for teaching, learning and research that reflects today’s socially-conscious students who are striving to create an environment of global peace,” said SIS Dean Goodman, who is American University’s longest-serving dean. “Our new home will go a long way toward inspiring our community to reach new levels of global responsibility and public understanding.”

The first complete building construction at AU since the Katzen Arts Center opened to the public in summer 2005, this construction project fulfills one of several goals for the university’s $200 million capital campaign, AnewAU. Having raised nearly $150 million already, by the time the campaign concludes, more than half of the academic units will receive new or renovated buildings. An extension to the Kogod School of Business is currently in progress and a renovation of the McKinley building, the future home of the School of Communication, is set to begin sometime next year.

Located in Washington, D.C., American University (http://www.american.edu) is a leader in global education, enrolling a diverse student body from throughout the U.S. and nearly 150 countries and providing opportunities for academic excellence, public service, and internships in the nation's capital and around the world.

Contact: Maralee Csellar or Jon Hussey, AU Media Relations, (202) 885-5950

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Maralee Csellar