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Navigating immigration Law p. 16

Politics on exhibit at AU Museum p. 22

The Making of KPU p. 26

university magazineapril MAY 2013 university magazine

How Mark Lijek’s real-life rescue inspired a reel hit—argo

An AU insider’s perspective on next page

Ahmad Touré’s “office” is a naturally beautiful landscape where people escape the stress of their everyday lives. As a National Park Service ranger at Great Falls Park in Virginia, he gives tours, ensures the safety of visitors, and coordinates the volunteer trail crew. “There’s a little bit of desk work, but in all honesty it’s living the dream,” he says. “There’s a saying that park rangers get paid in sunsets and sunrises. It’s like working at Disney World: you’re

Previous page: photo by Trevor Clark

working at a place where people come for vacation. You’re mainly dealing with happy, smiling people who really enjoy the outdoors and nature . . . It’s great to be able to share that.”


22 WCL students prefer immigration cases that are a bit messy.

26 Four-time alumnus Jack Rasmussen helps AU Museum find its niche.

28 Politics is our sport; KPU founders Tom Block, SPA ’71, and Luiz Simmons, SIS ’70, are our MVPs.

Argonaut Mark Lijek’s, Kogod ’78, story is a Hollywood hit.

AmericaN American University magazine Vol. 63, No. 3 Vice President, Communications Teresa Flannery Assistant Vice President, creative services Kevin Grasty Editor in Chief Linda McHugh Senior Editor Adrienne Frank, SPA/MS ’08 Associate Editors Suzanne Bechamps, Mariel Davis, Ali Kahn, Mike Unger Writers Lee Fleming, Adrienne Frank, Ali Kahn, Kerry O’Leary, David Reich, Mike Unger Art Director Maria Jackson Photographer Jeffrey Watts Class Notes Traci Crockett

Ahmad Touré Kogod/BA ’09

American is published three times a year by American University. With a circulation of 118,000, American is sent to alumni and other members of the university community. Copyright©2013. An equal opportunity, affirmative action university. UP 13-003


14 Metrocentered

4 4400 Mass Ave

32 Your American Connect, engage, reminisce

Ideas, people, perspectives

Ending on a high note My team and I spent much of last year working to make the new American magazine a success. And in December, as I sat down to write my letter, I believed that we had. But I couldn’t know for sure until the new magazine got into the hands of the people we did the redesign for—you. That’s why it was so gratifying when the overwhelmingly positive responses from readers began pouring in by email, on Twitter and Facebook, and even in good old-fashioned, face-to-face conversation. The first note came from Keith Moore ’73, who admitted that he hadn’t been a regular reader before the redesign but writes that he will be now. Many of you praised the bolder photography, the new departments, the robust “Your American” section. More than 50 of you submitted answers to “Final Exam,” and a dozen readers wrote in with a name for the alumnus featured in “Eagle Tales” (we’re still searching for his identity, so keep those emails coming). You repinned photos on Pinterest and commented on our stories on Facebook. But perhaps the kindest words of all came from readers like Julie Andreeff Jensen ’95, who wrote that “this magazine makes me proud [to be] an alum.” For an alumni magazine editor, there’s no greater compliment. Thank you all so much for taking the time to tell us what you like (and don’t like) about the new magazine. We appreciate the praise, but we know there’s still plenty of work to be done to ensure that each issue captures the vitality of this university. That work, however, will not be done by me. After 15 years at AU and at the helm of American magazine, I am retiring—delighted to have had the pleasure of bringing a brand new magazine to life. My retired life will include spending many happy hours pursuing my millinery avocation. It will also bring a move: In a year or so, my husband and I will head to our beloved Cape Cod, with its miles of glorious beaches. I expect I’ll cross paths with some of you there, because those AU connections crop up everywhere. And please, keep your feedback coming to the wonderful staff here who will keep your upcoming magazine issues alive with stories, photos, and art you love.

Linda McHugh Editor in chief

Send story ideas to


HISTORY 445 The Cold War and the Spy Novel An all but invisible profession has never been more visible on the cultural radar. Espionage is in vogue, from the CIA thrillers Homeland and Argo to the International Spy Museum’s retrospective of Bond villains, Exquisitely Evil. Students delve into the topsecret intelligence world in this spring course, taught by Anton Fedyashin, director of AU’s Initiative for Russian Culture. Their mission: to examine the Cold War through the lens of such fictional thrillers as Gérard de Villiers’s Death in Santiago and Tom Clancy’s Red Storm Rising.

Next Chapter AMERICAN STUDIES 296 The Wire and American Society David Simon’s HBO series The Wire brought gritty Baltimore to millions of living rooms across the country. This course explores the depiction of urban life, focusing on police, drugs, poverty, politics, education, and the media. COMMUNICATION 326 Sports Journalism The history of sports reporting, the lure of sports heroes, and the relationship between hometown news media and local teams: this course covers all the bases.

4 American Magazine  May 2013


3 minutes on . . . Airfares Itir Karaesmen Aydin

Professor, Department of Information Technology Kogod School of Business

The milestone for pricing changes

predict demand to set their initial

For example,

Two weeks later the airline

there’s a general

may say “we’re not selling

prices. Sometimes they run the

market value


algorithm several times a day,

to fly from D.C.

seats.” That’s


because the demand forecasts

to Boston on

when it will

that, prices

they come up with can change

weekdays. Every airline may

revise its forecasts

and routes

frequently. The code stays

have the same lowest price to

and decide to reopen a fare class.

were fixed.

the same.

Boston and the same highest

If the price was $200 for the

After deregulation, the airlines

Suppose that 300 days before

price, and a few price points

30-day advance purchase, it

were free to set prices however

a flight, an airline opens up

in between, but how prices

might now be $200 without

was not the Internet; it was the

deregulation of the

airline industry in the 1970s.


they wanted.

jump from one point to

Now it’s a

another depends on how quickly

When the airline revises

airlines sell seats and how they

its demand forecast down, it

revise their forecasts.

has a lot of

The art—and the airlines’

it can reopen a fare

ability to differentiate themselves

class closer to the

from competitors—is in the

flight time.

forecasting and

My home country is

coming up with

Turkey. When I shop for flights,

the initial prices

I try to balance convenience

and fare products.

versus ticket prices. I try to

delicate balance. Carriers don’t

want to sell too many tickets at low prices (they lose revenue), but they also don’t want to set the price too high. Then seats don’t It’s not a problem that can be solved manually. Finding the final number is complicated. That’s


that airlines use for pricing comes in.

has created various fare classes, each with an attached price. There could be as few as 3, or as many as 15. There’s a

fill up.

where the

reservations. It

nonrefundable fare

that typically has the lowest price. Then there’s maybe a 21-day advance ticket purchase, another fare for 14-day advance purchases, one fare for Saturday flights, another for Sunday. Each

the 30-day advance restriction.


Let’s say no

purchase early to get

more than 10 seats are to be sold

the better deals. It doesn’t

at a 30-day advance price, with

guarantee you the lowest price,

everything else available for

but there’s a high chance that the

higher fares. If those

prices will go up

tickets don’t sell out, they go into

as the flight time

the pool of remaining seats.

gets closer.

is like a different contract.

Let’s talk #americanmag  5

In 2011 Selma Kikic, MBA ’13, left her job at JPMorgan Chase and set her sights on Europe. Her goals: grow her career in finance, meet as many key European business contacts as possible, and land a job overseas. She knew she would start by pursuing her master’s at Kogod; early in her first semester, she discovered the school’s overseas partner programs. Only the second MBA student in a decade to spend a full semester abroad, Kikic is enrolled at WHU–Otto Beisheim School of Management, a Kogod partner and top German business school. “It’s really about putting a school name on my résumé that I thought would resonate with the top firms in Europe and finally realizing my dream of learning a new language,” says Kikic. Pulling off a study abroad semester while working toward an MBA required all hands on deck, as degree requirements at both universities entail taking a series of courses in a particular order. The transfer process was carefully considered by Kikic, her advisor, and Kogod’s Global Learning Programs office. “We all worked so hard to break ground for future students,” Kikic recalls.

Ace Hardware stores are known for their customer-centric style. During a recent collaboration with Kogod MBA students, however, the business was the one getting help, not dishing it out. A team of second-year MBA students in Parthiban David’s senior strategy capstone class consulted for A Few Cool Hardware Stores, an independently owned group of seven retailers receiving support and discounted product pricing under the Ace Hardware cooperative model. The student group was one of nine teams that applied what they learned at Kogod to real business problems. The teams worked closely with their chosen businesses to identify needs, give recommendations, and develop strategic initiatives.

“Anytime you can get a fresh set of eyes looking at the challenges you face, you jump at that opportunity,” says Gina Schaefer, a principal owner of A Few Cool Hardware Stores. “It’s nice to have enthusiastic students whose only focus is your business.” The students created a marketing strategy for the underachieving Fifth Street location in Washington. “The highlights came from a couple of recommendations,” David says. “One was that, when people move into their house, the realtors give them a packet that would include a flyer or a little gift from Ace Hardware with their phone number and location on it.”


learn for life

Investigative Reporting Workshop staff Chuck Lewis and Margaret Ebrahim have teamed with Hollywood heavyweight James Cameron to produce a Showtime documentary about climate change. Years of Living Dangerously, which explores fracking, will air in early 2014.

Each semester, nearly 150 AU grads go back to school, auditing a course for $100 ($75 of which goes to the Alumni Association Scholarship Endowment). Alumni choose from hundreds of courses designed to help them hone professional skills, explore new interests, and stay connected to campus. Learn more at

6 American Magazine  may 2013

Photo of Lauren Alexander by Merri Lisa Trigilio


Urinetown. Tartuffe. Thoroughly Modern Millie. Orpheus Descending. Oklahoma! Since the first curtain was raised on March 27, 2003, hundreds of actors, singers, dancers, and musicians have showcased their talents at the 300-seat Harold and Sylvia Greenberg Theatre. Over the last decade, the theatre, which sits on bustling Wisconsin Avenue, has established itself as one of northwest Washington’s premier venues, staging 10 major productions each year, from classics by Tennessee Williams and William

Sachel Seabrook, a master’s student in the School of Communication, twirled across the dance floor with one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen at the Commander in Chief’s Ball at the Washington Convention Center, one of only two balls attended by the Obamas. “To experience this inauguration, to be a part of history, to be in this city and meet generations of Americans who all believe in moving this country forward—it’s truly magical,” says Seabrook.

Talk about a golden ticket. When a friend’s friend couldn’t attend an inaugural ball on January 21, senior Lauren Alexander found herself with one of the most coveted tickets in town. “I knew I couldn’t pass on this opportunity. The highlight of the evening was people watching; the

other attendees looked dashing,” says the public communication major, who draped herself in pearls and purple chiffon for the glamorous gala at the Omni Shoreham, a swanky downtown D.C. hotel. Alexander wasn’t the only student slipping into sparkling heels for the evening.

Shakespeare to original works by AU faculty and students. To celebrate the theatre’s anniversary, AU reprised Cabaret, its first musical. A celebratory toast followed the production, directed by Gail Humphries Mardirosian. “We asked Mrs. Greenberg for a list of her favorite musicals, and Cabaret was one of her choices,” says Greg Anderson, the theatre’s facilities and production manager. “It’s the show that opened the Greenberg Theatre 10 years ago, so we decided it would be a nice circle to celebrate the 10th year with Cabaret.”

Public health is rapidly becoming one of the hottest disciplines in higher education, and AU is responding by offering a host of new programs. Students can earn their bachelor’s degree in three years in one of those programs, a proposition that proved so popular that 70 people applied for 15 slots in its first year. The university also is offering a minor, a bachelor of arts degree, and a bachelor of science degree. “People are realizing the importance of how health impacts other sectors, which is driving the interest in public health,” says Blake Bennett, assistant director of the Public Health Scholars program. “It is interdisciplinary by nature. The causes, cures, and preventative actions necessary to eliminate diseases extend beyond biological complexity. AU’s public health programs were designed with this is mind.” Like students in AU’s other three-year bachelor’s degree programs, the Public Health Scholars live together on the same floor of the same residence hall. “I hope to be a doctor with Doctors Without Borders,” says freshman Quinn Hirsch. “I have always wanted to be a doctor and I adore community service. I felt like studying public health was a great combination of the two. This program is amazing, and I am having a fantastic time living and learning with others who share my passion.”


100,000 STRONG FOUNDATION Finds home at SIS

Lagan Sebert, SOC/MA ’08, documents his pop singer sister’s rise to fame in the MTV show Ke$ha: My Crazy, Beautiful Life. The six-part series, which debuted in April, follows the “Tik Tok” singer as she records her new album and travels the globe.

The 100,000 Strong Foundation, a new State Department initiative to encourage more American students to master Mandarin and study abroad in China, will be housed at AU’s School of International Service. The partnership, which aims to strengthen economic and cultural ties between the U.S. and China, was announced by former secretary of state Hillary Clinton in January. Let’s talk #americanmag  7


In middle school, Christine Hooyman wrote an essay about her dream vacation: “a voyage to Tanzania, where I would help build a school before going on safari.” “It seems inevitable that I would become a Peace Corps volunteer,” says Hooyman, SPA/MA ’10. The Chicago native has spent the last 18 months in Nyamagabe District in Rwanda’s southern province, working in a community health center that serves 25,000 villagers, many of whom are HIVpositive. She created two youth camps, where kids learn about reproductive health and develop leadership skills. “Informally, my job is also to be an ambassador for America . . . from cooking tacos with my neighbors to learning how to harvest fresh beans to teaching children how to play hopscotch,” she says.

Proud History AU has a tradition of turning out Peace Corps volunteers like Hooyman, whose wanderlust and desire to serve meshes with the agency’s mission. The university ranks second on the Peace Corps’s list of top volunteer-producing medium-sized schools. Nearly 900 alumni have volunteered since 1961. And thanks to a new partnership between AU and the Peace Corps, returned volunteers can choose from eight master’s degrees within the School of International Service at reduced rates. Through the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program, students receive 6 credit hours of remitted tuition. 8 American Magazine  May 2013



Earned go-kart license at the Malibu Grand Prix in Dallas.


Recalls watching Formula 1 (the world’s preeminent racing circuit) on TV and riding on the Autobahn at 140 mph in his father’s Mercedes.

Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers: The Story of Success offers a formula for success—being born at the right place and time and investing at least 10,000 hours in pursuit of your goal. It’s about being focused and impassioned and pursuing a dream. Meet one of AU’s outliers: auto racing wonk Nur Ali, SIS/BA ’98.


Became a Jeff Gordon fan.


At 12 he went with his father to parking lots to drive. “I sat on his lap and steered.”


Graduated from SIS. Told his father “it’s time to race” and attended a racing school in Ohio. Drove competitively for the first time in a Skip Barber Southern Series race in Sebring, Florida.


Born in Karachi, Pakistan.



1983 Family moved to Fort Worth, Texas. Learned English. Watched NASCAR. Dale Earnhardt Sr. was his favorite driver.

Moved to

1999–2005 Rented tracks 1994


Watched auto racing on TV. Drove his Mercedes coupe on the D.C. Beltway “to get my fix.”

in Texas and Oklahoma to practice, driving “until the sun went down.”

Graduated from high school with dreams of becoming a race car driver. Father insisted he earn a college degree first.


Raced in 12 countries. Best finish was a top 10 in Durban, South Africa, in his V8, Indy-style, open-wheel car.

2005 Became driver for the (now defunct)

Pakistani A1 Grand Prix World Cup of Motorsport team. Promoted the team in Lahore, Pakistan, with then president Musharraf.

2007 Transitioned from open-wheel racing to stock-car racing. 2009

Suffered worst crash, at Daytona.


Debuted in the ARCA Racing Series at Daytona International Speedway.

1998–1999 Wrote to hundreds of corporate sponsors and was routinely rejected. The family recruited locals as crew members and bought two race cars, including an open-wheel Star Mazda.

2012 Finished 33rd in his first NASCAR event, the Nationwide Series Kansas Lottery 300, becoming the first Pakistani American to compete in the top racing circuit in the U.S.


Local Budweiser distributor became his first major sponsor.


Competing in the ARCA series and working toward his ultimate goal: driving in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series. Let’s talk #americanmag  9


USAF’s Walker to soar with the Eagles as AU’s 14th AD Billy Walker grew up on the main street of Hartland, Wisconsin, a small town of lakes and farms about 30 miles west of Milwaukee that “looks exactly like it sounds.” Named AU’s 14th director of athletics and recreation in February, Walker played baseball and soccer and wrestled in high school, where he dreamed of a career as a coach or physical education teacher. But his drive, intelligence, and leadership abilities took him to much loftier heights. As a freshman at the U.S. Air Force Academy, the undersized Walker walked onto the wrestling team, competing at 118 pounds. “Every single day I said, ‘You’re one bad practice away from getting cut, so don’t let it be today,’” he says. Four years later he captained the team. Walker chose a career as a helicopter pilot, logging nearly 3,000 hours of flight time. He routinely whisked VIPs and foreign dignitaries around Washington in a UH-1N Huey (pictured) and rose through the

“I had never been in a plane until the day I got on one to come to [the Air Force Academy]. I remember thinking ‘This is kind of weird. Hopefully I’m not scared to fly.’”

ranks to colonel. He served as deputy commander of the 89th Operations Group at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, which provides priority airlift to the country’s highest-ranking officials. In 2001 he was appointed by President George W. Bush as the first permanent professor of athletics and physical education at the Air Force Academy, where he stayed as deputy director of athletics until coming to AU in April. “It was a tough decision, but the right decision,” Walker says of leaving. “American is a university whose values and philosophy fit mine perfectly. The emphasis is on academics, while at the same time fielding a robust Division I program, but not compromising on those academic standards at all. “I believe intercollegiate athletics is one component of a comprehensive educational program developing the whole person. I’m adamant that athletics must complement the academic mission, not overwhelm it.” There’s still a hint of Wisconsin in Walker’s voice, and there’s unquestionably the same look of determination in his eyes that took him from a small town in dairy country to prestigious positions in—and above—the nation’s capital.

Making a splash

Mat success

Shooting to the top

Sophomore diver Melissa Parker and junior swimmer Bobby Ballance had a winning winter. Parker won two medals at the Patriot League Championships, while Ballance was AU’s leading point scorer in the pool. Both also were named to the all-academic teams.

Redshirt junior Daniel Mitchell won his second straight wrestling tournament on February 24 in Richmond, Virginia, taking home the National Collegiate Open title at 197 pounds.

Junior guard Alexis Dobbs was named Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the second consecutive time. A public health major, she has a 3.83 GPA. Dobbs is a twotime Academic All-Patriot League selection, Dean’s List honoree, and Patriot League Academic Honor Roll recipient.

10 American Magazine  MAY 2013


If you are reading this story in the print magazine, you’re likely comprehending it differently from someone scanning it online. Whether one medium is superior to the other is up for debate; that they’re poles apart is not. College of Arts and Sciences professor Naomi Baron is exploring both worlds in her forthcoming book, Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World. “The real issue is whether the ways we are reading on screens are altering our notion of what it means to read in the first place,”

says Baron, executive director of the Center for Teaching, Research, and Learning. “Without passing judgment about whether one should read in one format over another, what’s clear is the amount of reading we’re going to do, the seriousness with which we take our reading, is going to change. Our notion of education is going to change, and our notion of what reading is about will alter as well.” Among Baron’s primary concerns about e-readers is how easily users can become distracted.

“The fact that on screens we don’t read long, connected text is leading people to write differently, and once they write differently, mainly in shorter texts, our expectations as readers are going to change,” she says. “So it becomes this snake chasing its own tail phenomenon, whereby we’re going to change the notion of what it means to read and also to write. If you write longer prose, are people going to read it?” Baron’s book will be about 90,000 words. “I hope it will be interesting, but the number of people willing to read 90,000 words is shrinking,” she says. This story is 282 words. Did you read them all?

Pause, rewind, listen—to a prerecorded lecture while tackling an assignment. Interact live with a classmate four time zones away. Right-click to raise your hand for discussion. This is the milieu of a new online master’s degree in international relations set to launch at the School of International Service in May. The first top-tier graduate program of its kind nationally, it will offer concentrations in sustainable international development or global security and conflict resolution. The pioneering two-year program will use a familiar social networking platform to create scheduled Brady Bunch–style discussions in which 15 students appear on the screen via web cams. “Sections may have students in them from several continents with multiple experiences and points of view,” explains program director and SIS professor Stephen Silvia. Students will do self-paced readings and course work between the live discussions—a format that encourages participation and echoes, through technology, the complex world of international affairs. It’s a twenty-first-century program designed for busy adults. Learn more at IRonline.



trayless = Way less waste

Biologist Christopher Tudge is in crab heaven after fellow researchers named a new species of crustacean for him. Areopaguristes tudgei, a hermit crab that Tudge discovered off the coast of Belize in 2010, joins more than 3 million other known species.

SOC documentarian Brigid Maher explores the changing face of midwifery in The Mama Sherpas. Funded by a Humanities Council of Washington, D.C., grant and slated for release in 2015, the film follows Washington midwives and their patients.

Going “trayless” in the AU dining hall led to a 32 percent reduction in food waste and a 27 percent reduction in dish use, according to a new study by environmental scientist Kiho Kim and Stevia Morawski, CAS/BS ’12. Let’s talk #americanmag  11


Fothergilla Eastern Redbud

AU Has an arboretum? Indeed. The campus of American University is the arboretum and the arboretum is the campus, every inch of 84 cultivated acres. It wasn’t always a garden spot. When landscape architect Paul Davis arrived at AU, he was struck by how inhospitable the campus looked. “Evidently someone disliked flowers,” he recalls. In 1997 the university made campus beautification a goal in its strategic plan. The challenge fell to three men: one operations specialist, Mark Feist, now assistant director of facilities management; and two landscape architects, Mike Mastrota and Davis. They introduced a bold palette of plants and color, marking the start of the journey from Kansas to Oz. Today, each season showcases a mix of plantings, native and nonnative, common and exotic: in spring and summer, the flowering of cherry and redbud and masses of perennials; in fall, the burnishing of maple and ginkgo and oak; in winter, the evergreen of cypress and cedar.

In Celebration This year marks the 10th anniversary of the AU Arboretum and Gardens. Through a dedicated effort, the campus is being transformed, reflecting AU’s commitment to an enhanced educational experience, to community, and above all, to responsible stewardship. A commemorative book will be released this summer. Watch for information at arboretum. 12 American Magazine  May 2013

Red Oak

Bald CYpress


Crepe Myrtle


Butterfly Bush

Eastern White Pine

Red Japanese Maple


Chokeberry Cherry


Fifty years ago President John F. Kennedy delivered one of his most famous speeches, using AU’s 1963 commencement to call on the Soviet Union to join the United States in a nuclear weapons test ban as a step toward world peace.


What makes Kennedy’s speech so important, even today?


Its rhetoric and content. You see the signature things Ted Sorensen, Kennedy’s speechwriter, always did: alliteration, repetition, wit, artfully chosen quotes, antithesis—repetition used to show contrast. He says, “We want peace not in our time, but peace in all time.” But the most unusual thing? JFK doesn’t demonize the Soviet Union. Remember: Americans thought Russia was the enemy. As kids we used to practice ducking under our desks at school in case they lobbed a nuclear missile into New York. At AU Kennedy asks the crowd to walk in Russian footsteps—to remember how much they suffered in World War II. That’s much more sympathy towards the enemy than presidents usually feel free to say. He even implies there’s blame on both sides. Except for the specific step—announcing our unilateral halt to atmospheric testing—JFK didn’t outline all the views he wanted before Sorensen got to work. Sorensen clearly had lots of leeway. This is one case where the speechwriter gets credit not just for language but for some ideas. Later Sorensen could write that when JFK spoke at AU, he sat behind him “thrilled . . . to hear principles so fully consistent with my own.” Listen to Kennedy’s speech at

Robert Lehrman

“There’s a much more rounded view of human nature than presidents usually feel free to say. The kinds of things Sorensen did in the speech influenced the way people wrote speeches afterwards.”

School of Communication professor and speechwriter for dozens of political figures, including former vice president Al Gore

Let’s talk #americanmag  13

live- Chris O’Brien,

AU director of sustainability Keeps bees in the yard of his Victorian house

Commute- Lauren Ober, SPA/BA ’00 Bikes from neighboring Mount Pleasant to Columbia Heights Metro

An urban playground. A laboratory for learning. A professional hub. A vibrant collection of neighborhoods— and neighbors. Washington’s got it all. And for our alumni, students, and faculty, Metro is their ticket to ride, connect, and explore AU’s backyard.

play- Daour Diawara, Kogod/BSBA ’05 Plays soccer at Harriet Tubman Elementary School on 13th Street

work - Farhang Erfani, AU philosophy professor Owns Le Caprice D.C. Café and Bakery on 14th Street

LEARN- Vanessa Moyonero, SPA/BA ’15

Interns at D.C. Mayor’s Office on Latino Affairs, which works with local business owners Let’s talk #americanmag  15

illustration by James Steinberg

–––––––––– By David Reich

it was summer 2012. Manuel Santos, a lawful permanent resident of the United States, was returning from his native El Salvador, where he’d traveled to attend a funeral. Passing through passport control at Dulles, he was asked to step aside and led to the airport’s immigration office. That’s where his nightmare began. Manuel Santos had held a green card since 1990. The married father of two U.S.-citizen sons, one of them recently enrolled at a university, he was gainfully employed as a construction worker and had promised to help pay his son’s tuition. Yet somehow, he learned, he was in trouble with the law, serious trouble that would likely result in his permanent removal from the country where he’d lived for 28 years. Had he committed a major felony, the kind of crime that makes the papers and can result in a decade or more of prison? A more run-of-the-mill kind of felony? No, he had not done either of these. But he did present a danger to society—or did he? On the one hand, he had racked up four drunken driving convictions, an offense that could have led to property damage and grave bodily harm. On the other, he had long since given up drinking, and his most recent DUI arrest dated back to 2004. Drunken driving in itself isn’t grounds for removal from the country, but Santos had done enough time for DUI that it had triggered a provision of immigration law subjecting him to deportation. While U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) decided what to do with him, he was remanded to the Farmville Detention Center, an immigration jail in rural southern Virginia.

Let’s talk #americanmag  17

–––––––––––– Unlike defendants in criminal cases, respondents—the legal term for noncitizens in immigration proceedings—have no constitutional right to counsel. Lacking the resources

to hire a lawyer, 60 percent of detained immigrants represent themselves, according to a Cardozo School of Law study of immigration cases in New York. They argue their cases as best they can, which is to say not terribly well. Few have native command of English or knowledge of American legal customs. Moreover, immigration law has many subtleties and complications, making it a hard practice area even for people with law degrees. Unsurprisingly, then, respondents who represent themselves fare substantially worse than those represented by legal counsel. According to the Cardozo study, 18 percent of detained immigrants represented by counsel enjoy a favorable outcome in their cases, compared to 3 percent of those who go to court without representation. In that regard, at least, Santos was one of the lucky ones. While sitting out at Farmville, he came to the attention of a nonprofit immigrant rights organization, which referred him to the Immigrant Justice Clinic (IJC) at American University Washington College of Law (WCL). The IJC, which assigns law students to a range of civil matters involving immigrant clients, chooses its cases carefully but according to unusual criteria. “We look for cases that are a little bit messy,” explains Jayesh Rathod, the AU law professor who directs the clinic. “Many law firms, for political reasons, hesitate to take on pro bono clients with legal difficulties in their past. They prefer easy cases with clients that are nice and huggable. At the clinic we prioritize cases that aren’t easily absorbed elsewhere. As we teach our students, immigrants’ lives can be complicated, but they still deserve legal representation.” In complex immigration cases, students may do better than full-fledged lawyers anyway. Compared to most lawyers, especially those at the nonprofit groups that offer legal services to immigrants, they have more time for research and to witness interviews. (So far this academic year, the IJC has seen favorable outcomes, or appears to be on track for

18 American Magazine  MAY 2013

“We look for cases that are a little bit messy. Many law firms, for political reasons, hesitate to take on pro bono clients with legal difficulties. We prioritize cases that aren’t easily absorbed elsewhere. Immigrants’ lives can be complicated, but they still deserve legal representation.” —Jayesh Rathod, professor and director of WCL immigration clinic

favorable outcomes, in 63 out of 65 cases; the two losses are currently under appeal.) Messy cases offer the added benefit of being deeply educational. Students come into the clinic, Rathod says, “with a particular narrative—a client that’s victimized and sweet and perfect, and ‘I’m going to rescue him.’ They have to learn to take imperfect clients and find a way to present their case.” If the clinic was seeking an imperfect client, Manuel Santos fit the bill. While he may not have merited deportation, his story contained messy elements, even beyond the repeat DUIs, that would likely come to light at trial.

–––––––––––– Every autumn, the IJC welcomes 16 students, virtually all in their third year of law school, who will staff the clinic for the coming academic year. Early on, Rathod asks

them to interview one another about their backgrounds. As it turns out, the vast majority come from families with immigration in their recent past. The grandparents of Aimee Mayer ’13, for instance, survived the Holocaust by fleeing to the Philippines where they remained before gaining admission to the United States in the late 1950s. Bernardo Rodriguez ’08—an alumnus of the IJC’s predecessor, the immigration section of the law school’s International Human Rights Clinic—came as a child from Guatemala, where his family had been threatened by both sides in that country’s civil war. Shiwali Patel ’10, the U.S.-born daughter of immigrants from India, remembers immigrant aunts and uncles who worked in restaurants. “I saw them come home with injuries,” she says. “They had accents that

people made fun of. I was young and didn’t know what to do about it.” Daniel Gonzalez ’13, one of two student lawyers on the Santos case, came to the U.S. as a young boy, when his parents sought relief from a stagnant Mexican economy. Steffi Johansen ’13, his co-counsel in the Santos case, has an American father and a Mexican mother. As a toddler, she was cared for by a Salvadoran nanny whom Johansen’s mother sponsored for U.S. citizenship—“my first experience with immigration law,” she jokes. Students at the clinic have “a strong sense of wanting to give back to their community,” says Rathod, “especially given the recent hostility to immigrants.” And immigration law possesses attractions beyond ethnic solidarity. Raul Garcia ’13, who recently argued an asylum claim for a torture victim from West Africa, cites the high stakes in immigration cases. “When you talk to clients about what country they’re going to live in,” he says, “and sometimes whether they will have to face torture, that puts lots of pressure on you. But it also makes you thrive because you never have to look for motivators.” Immigrants, Johansen says, “are a vulnerable population, and they often don’t have the money for lawyers, yet they might be looking at a lifelong sentence of not being able to live in the country that’s probably been their home for years. These are the people who need me the most.” Immigration practice, adds Mayer, “is more meaningful to me than who gets the most money out of a deal.” Aside from idealistic motives, there’s also the fact that, while it isn’t the most glamorous or lucrative practice area, immigration offers opportunity in a time when recent law school grads struggle to find work. “The U.S. is a

magnet for immigrants,” Garcia says, “and that means lots of work for lawyers.” And immigration reform, should it be enacted, won’t change that greatly. Indeed, Rathod foresees “a huge spike” in cases as immigrants rush to apply for lawful status.

–––––––––––– Detainees in immigration cases increasingly are held at facilities like Farmville that were sited in remote, economically struggling areas as a sort of stealth jobs program. One disturbing side effect: in a measure to save transportation costs, detainees with cases at certain immigration courts—including the Arlington, Virginia, court where the Santos case was tried—don’t testify in person but from jail via closed circuit television. Thus, Manuel Santos appeared in court as a grainy image on a sports bar–size screen that sat along a side wall. In that sense, he was almost an afterthought at the trial that would decide his future. Farmville’s remoteness—a four-hour-plus drive from Washington and almost as far from the Santos house in Winchester, Virginia—also meant the student lawyers Johansen and Gonzalez had to conduct most meetings with Santos by videoconference. And they met with him repeatedly, including five or more times by video and three times in person. “We visited him at Farmville the first time,” says Johansen, “so that he could have some comfort that there’s real people working on his case. Immigration cases require personal detail, so we almost have to apologize to clients for the questions that we ask. But it makes [the encounter] easier if the client can put a face with the questions.” The students spent two more days in Farmville just before the Santos trial, preparing their client to testify. “We worked with him for over 10 hours,” said Johansen the evening she returned. “We just practiced, practiced, practiced.” In readying their case, the student lawyers also found a clinical psychologist to evaluate Santos; a sworn statement, filed by the psychologist with the Arlington court, depicted Santos as truly rehabilitated, with little likelihood of offending again. This would be a pivotal question at trial. While conceding that the government could legally deport their client, Johansen and

Gonzalez would be asking the judge to provide relief from deportation based on the likelihood that Santos’s removal from the country increased the danger he would relapse into alcoholism; that his removal from the country would cause hardship for his wife, a legal U.S. resident, and their sons, both U.S. citizens; and most importantly that, having sobered up, he no longer threatened public safety. Finally, the student lawyers interviewed Santos’s wife and sons, four sisters, and a cousin. They also prepared the wife, one son, and the cousin for trial testimony, a lengthy, painstaking process. They went through “many, many rounds of mooting, where they and . . . the witnesses go through simulations of what might happen,” says Anita Sinha, practitioner in residence at WCL, who helps Jayesh Rathod run the clinic. “And then we debrief.”

–––––––––––– The IJC uses simulations not just to prepare for trials but as part of its everyday pedagogy. One January morning,

for example, teams of student lawyers faced off against each other in three of the clinic’s conference rooms, locked in the heated negotiation of a hypothetical wage dispute between a West African immigrant, who claimed to have been a domestic employee, and the family she worked for, who claimed she was a long-term house guest whose work was a voluntary contribution to the household. (The scenario, cooked up by the instructors, was based closely on Rathod’s experience representing immigrant clients, he says.) After cases involving immigration matters, which make up 60 percent of the clinic’s docket, wage-and-hour claims like the one in the simulation have been the clinic’s mainstay. A real-life wage-and-hour dispute took up much of the discussion time

in the clinic seminar that day. Sitting in a circle, a dozen law students, along with Rathod and Sinha, hashed over the case of a worker who was suing a former employer for back wages. Prodded by a question from Rathod, his student lawyers discussed approaches to settlement. Other students began to offer suggestions: research the size of settlements in similar cases and run the figures by the client; ask the client to describe his work and use that information to lead him toward an appropriate number. A second question from Rathod (“How much is he motivated by the money and how much by something else?”) touched off another round of brainstorming in the seminar room. In posing questions instead of providing answers, Rathod was working in his preferred mode: gently guiding the students but insisting that they make decisions themselves. “Most of the time I agree with their decisions, but even when I don’t and it’s not fatal, it’s important to let them make the call,” he says. Empowering students to decide crucial matters teaches what Rathod identifies as the hardest part of legal practice: making independent judgments in the face of uncertainty. It also builds selfassurance. “I gained confidence,” says clinic alumna Gillian Chadwick ’09, “and I learned how important it is for a lawyer to project confidence in every aspect of representation, whether with a client or an adversary.” For a fledgling lawyer, the power to make high-stakes decisions can be daunting as well as exhilarating. “It’s like being pushed into the deep end of the pool when you haven’t learned to swim,” says Gonzalez. “So far I’ve at least learned to float.” He adds: “One thing I’ve learned about myself from the clinic is that I’m able to be pushed into situations where I have no experience and can still figure out how to help my clients.”

“Immigrants are a vulnerable population, and they often don’t have the money for lawyers, yet they might be looking at a lifelong sentence of not being able to live in the country that’s probably been their home for years.” —Steffi Johansen ’13, WCL immigration clinic student and co-counsel on the Santos case

Let’s talk #americanmag  19

–––––––––––– The Arlington, Virginia, immigration court occupies the second floor of a shiny but otherwise nondescript building in the Crystal City area, just across the river from Reagan Airport. Courtroom 6 is a windowless, unadorned space with a judge’s bench, a witness chair, two tables for lawyers, three rows of wooden benches for spectators, and, of course, the TV screen. On January 30, the trial date for In re: Manuel Santos, the legal name for Santos’s elaborate plea for mercy, Rathod and the student lawyers arrived an hour early and stood in the harshly lit corridor outside the courtroom, reassuring their witnesses, who had arrived even earlier (“We have a strong case,” Rathod told them in Spanish). Around 8:45 a.m., shortly after Rathod and the student lawyers filed into the courtroom, Santos popped up on the screen, a blurry balding figure fidgeting in a white T-shirt. Johansen and Gonzalez unpacked the case files and laid them on their table. The ICE lawyer entered and stood near her own table, shuffling papers. As the spectator’s area filled up with Santos family members, a translator entered through a door behind the bench, and finally the judge appeared. Before the trial, Rathod had expressed some comfort that Santos had drawn Judge John M. Bryant. He called Bryant “very fair” and more forgiving than some others about respondents’ prior conduct. The trial started just after 9 a.m., and the ICE lawyer came out punching. “We’re worried,” she said in a brief opening, “about [Santos’s] staying in the United States, given his propensity to get behind the wheel.” Granting his importance to his family, she nevertheless put the blame for his troubles squarely on him. “It’s always bad,” she said, “when a father gets himself in this position.” She also raised one of the case’s complications: the respondent’s two arrests in 2009 for driving without a license. “There are mitigating circumstances to the driving violations that we’re prepared to argue,” Gonzalez interjected. Judge Bryant, a fatherly veteran of the immigration bench, said those violations were of secondary interest anyway, because they didn’t involve the use of alcohol. “Take a deep breath,” he told the students. “You’re doing fine.” More troubling for them than the issues raised by the ICE attorney was something

20 American Magazine  MAY 2013

“We like to teach the importance of narrative to lawyering. You have to have your argument in place but also a good story, because often [immigration] cases are about competing story lines.” —Jayesh Rathod

the judge said early on: “The court must be absolutely, unconditionally convinced of [Santos’s] reformation program. He needs to tell me his plan—not just that he’s going to go to AA but chapter and verse.” In fact, as Johansen later admitted, Santos didn’t quite have a plan. He’d attended Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon meetings for several years after his last DUI and had maintained his sobriety, with support from family, even after he stopped attending—and that was pretty much it. As the lawyer assigned to take Manuel Santos’s testimony, she would have to figure out a way to work around this inconvenient fact.

–––––––––––– Johansen began with questions about Santos’s childhood in El Salvador, crafted to elicit his life story in the

most sympathetic light. “One of the themes we like to teach in the clinic is the importance of narrative to lawyering,” Rathod had said before the trial. “You have to have your argument in place but also a good story, because often [immigration] cases are about competing story lines. Our story is how this guy had problems and broke through, and the government story is going to be different.” Johansen asked about Santos’s family life, including beatings that his mother suffered at the hands of his alcoholic father. “I tried to defend her,” Santos recounted through the translator, “but I was 13 years old and very little.” At 14 he left home in the midsized city of San Miguel for the capital, San Salvador, where he scraped by as a manual laborer. At this point, the judge nudged the trial along, asking Johansen to move beyond the distant past. After that, Santos spoke about the birth of his elder son, in 1990, smiling faintly for the first time since his image had come up on the TV screen. But Johansen soon moved him back to age 14, when he first started

drinking. “It made me feel a little better,” he said. “I was trying to forget. I also felt more courage being alone in the street. I didn’t realize how much harm it would cause.” Then, by way of preemption, Johansen touched briefly on one of the case’s messier features: the three daughters whom Santos, in his years of drinking, had fathered with women not his wife. Johansen inquired, knowing full well the answer, had he helped support the daughters? Yes, he said, despite his alcoholism, he knew he was responsible for all his children. Had he ever received a child-support order? No, because he already supported his children voluntarily. Reviewing his more recent history, she asked what he had learned about alcoholism during his multiple incarcerations. “There’s no pill to stop drinking,” he replied. “Just your willpower and the help of God.” He then recounted his experiences with AA. She discussed his ongoing mentorship of other alcoholics—material she hoped would help make up for his recent nonattendance at AA meetings. She had moved on to the 2009 driving issues when Judge Bryant, presumably having heard enough, abruptly told Johansen, “I’m going to ask you to suspend and let [the ICE lawyer] cross-examine.”

–––––––––––– In contrast to Johansen’s assured examination of her client, the crossexamination started clumsily, with the

ICE lawyer harping on trivia, such as Santos’s failure to pay taxes on the pittance he had earned from prison work details. She drew some blood, however, when she got to Santos’s AA record: why he had stopped attending meetings (he claimed there were none in Winchester); whether he had any of the “coins” that AA gives its members to betoken their years of sobriety (yes, they were somewhere around the house, he didn’t

know exactly where); whether he had proof of his attendance at meetings in the past (no, because he’d never imagined he would need it); and whether he had had an AA sponsor (no, but he had sponsored others). After this grilling, the judge called a recess, but Johansen wasn’t ready for any such thing. Because the judge had cut off her direct examination, she had never arrived at what had been planned as the emotional high point of Manuel Santos’s testimony, and she wasn’t going to pass up a chance to get there. “Your Honor, I request a redirect,” she said, audaciously. Looking doubtful, Judge Bryant glanced at the clock (it was nearly 11), but he told Johansen to proceed. She started with questions designed to undo the damage of the ICE lawyer’s cross-examination (“When you can’t find an AA meeting, who supports your sobriety?” “My wife and my whole family. And the memory of my ordeal.”). Then she moved to the topic she hadn’t gotten to earlier: Santos’s financial support for his college student son. “I feel bad to be here,” Santos said, tearing up, “because I want to give my son opportunity. I want him to grow and be something different from what I’ve been.” If Santos were deported, who would pay his son’s tuition? “No one. He may have to quit.” Santos ended his testimony by pleading with the judge to let him help his family and

“Take a deep breath,” [the judge] told the students. “You’re doing fine.” promising never to drink again and not to drive again until he got his license back. It was now up to Gonzalez to take the testimony of Manuel’s wife of 23 years. He walked her confidently through the early days of her and Manuel’s marriage, changes in Manuel for the worse and then the better, the 84-hour per week work schedule she had had to maintain since he had been taken to Farmville, how his deportation might affect her. Early on, she began to weep, and Gonzalez asked permission to approach her with a box of tissues. The judge granted permission, but soon he began interrupting Gonzalez’s questioning to lecture her in his

“We’re not just applying hypothetical facts to a portion of the law that we’re studying. Rather, we’re encountering real-life people with real-life problems.” —Daniel Gonzalez ’13, WCL immigration clinic student and co-counsel on the Santos case

fatherly way, asking her to promise that she’d study to become a U.S. citizen and go to AA meetings with her husband, should the judge spare him from deportation. The ICE lawyer chimed in with her own lecture, asking the wife if she’d keep the car keys from Manuel until he had a license and drive him to AA if he needed a ride. At this point it was clear to Gonzalez and others in the room that the case would be decided in Santos’s favor. The wife testified for another 10 or 20 minutes, until the judge interrupted her again and said he was going to grant relief. After that, it was tissues all around.

–––––––––––– More and more law schools are offering their students the kind of clinical experience that Daniel Gonzalez and Steffi Johansen are getting in the IJc. A year working at a

clinic, as Gonzalez puts it, “allows students to go beyond the books. We’re not just applying hypothetical facts to a portion of the law that we’re studying at the time. Rather, we’re encountering real-life people with real-life problems.” In the absence of clinical experience, legal education is like saying “we’re going to spend three years teaching you the rules of basketball and not let you play for those three years, and then we’re going to send you out into the world to play basketball,” says Robert Dinerstein, professor of law and associate dean for experiential education. That’s why, at some point during their legal education, half the students at WCL spend time working in one of the school’s 10 clinics and why many of the others are placed in externships at government agencies, courts, and nonprofit organizations. While law clinics proliferate across the land, AU’s clinics have an edge, as recognized by U.S. News and World Report, which for the last five years has ranked WCL second in the country in clinical legal education.

Several things may have gone into the ranking, Dinerstein says: the autonomy given student lawyers, the written scholarship that has emerged from the clinics, the clinics’ high profile at conferences, the fact that at AU clinical professors are treated exactly like other law school faculty. Rathod also mentions AU’s “wonderful institutional support for the clinics. At many other law schools, the clinics rely on external funding. Law professors like me have to spend time raising money. I can’t imagine how I could do that and teach and direct the clinic, too.” A big reason for the boom in clinical legal education is simply that it gives law school graduates a leg up in their job search. Alumnus Bernardo Rodriguez ’08 says that working at the clinic “gave me confidence with respect to taking the bar exam and interviewing for jobs. . . . My boss at my first job out of law school told me that my background at the clinic was one of the things she focused on when she decided to hire me.” In a similar vein, alumna Gillian Chadwick ’09, supervising attorney at a Washington nonprofit that provides legal services to immigrants, says, “I work in a field where practical experience counts for a lot, and there’s not a lot of time and resources for training. I now hire lawyers, and I’m looking for someone who’s done something.” Dinerstein puts it this way: “When I get a call for a job reference, it makes a big difference whether I say, ‘Diane got an A in one of my classes and speaks well in the classroom’ or ‘She worked on this case, and here’s what she did.’” For information about WCL’s Clinical Program, visit Watch a video about the program’s experiential learning opportunities, featuring the diverse stories of six student participants; visit

Let’s talk #americanmag  21

By Lee Fleming

Jack Rasmussen—director and curator of the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center since it opened in 2005—is an AU alum several times over, with master’s degrees in painting, arts management, and anthropology and a PhD in anthropological linguistics. A former director of di Rosa Preserve in Napa, California, his long association with the D.C. arts community informs his insider’s take on the big picture.

Grisha Bruskin, H-Hour, 2013

American: When you came to Washington to direct and curate this new museum eight years ago, how did you begin? Rasmussen: I was allowed a tremendous amount of freedom. The challenge was to figure out a way the museum could be relevant to the university and to Washington. It was a real opportunity to look at what was needed in the city, what was not being done in the city, and how we could reinforce the strengths that the university already offered.

What did you discover? Museums were not showing Washington art except on very rare occasions. For me, having worked in community-based organizations, it’s important to have local artists on your side. They support you, they talk to their friends, the friends come, and all this makes it possible to have a scene people want to participate in.

The political aspect—or its lack. The Smithsonian couldn’t show political art. The Corcoran [Gallery of Art] had burned its fingers on it. We were in the unique position of being part of an academic institution with academic freedom of speech. Also, the university emphasizes students’ political involvement. That broader university focus worked nicely with that side of our programming.

Building awareness of the museum in the city was important. What else struck you?

Washington is also an international city. How did you plan to respond to that? Let’s talk #americanmag  23

At the time, no one was showing contemporary international art. Occasionally the Hirshhorn would bring someone in, but basically what you saw, and still see, is what’s going on in New York. The museums and curators aren’t looking at what artists in different countries are doing unless it reinforces their idea of what is happening in the art world now. Artists who aren’t in line with that vision are basically of no interest to them. But for me, art from other places is most interesting when it could not have been done anywhere else.

visible venue and that letting us program meant that their shows would be taken seriously. Also, this university [may be] the most international in the world. It has more than 140 countries represented in the student body. It’s located at the top of Embassy Row. There’s enormous awareness of AU on the part of the diplomatic community, and of course there’s our great School of International Service. Increasing our concentration on international art fit nicely with the story American was telling about itself.

Do you have a formula The emphasis in the for deciding what goes beginning seemed to be in the space? on D.C. artists rather than In a way. I keep my schedule in a database program, and I color-code everything: red for international. Has your university related, green for Washington, programming evolved? purple for international, and yellow for West You start out with what you know. I really didn’t get to the international for a couple of years. We first needed to establish relationships with embassies and governments and foundations, where I could convince them what I want to show will be best for them. Then we got to a point where people could see this was a very

You featured Washington artist Susan Yanero, who is new to the public. How did you find her? She and I got our MFAs around the same time, so I knew her work from back then. It was very painterly though rough—very much in the manner of [AU art professor] Robert D’Arista but not trying for his elegance. [Former AU art professor] Alan Feltus also really liked her work. He was the one who said, hey, you really ought to show her. So I went to her studio. 24 American Magazine  MAY 2013

Coast. So when I lay out the shows, I can see that I am doing something with [art from] Washington, with art from other countries, and so on. You have to think your way through the space and how each show flows into the next, because if you don’t think it through and guide viewers, they will assume you had a reason and try to figure it out.

What are the challenges attached to directing a university museum? I use what I interpret to be AU’s strong points to coincide with what I want to do. They fit together. I can’t think of too many things I couldn’t do. But like any museum, you want to have an audience. I suppose if I did things that wouldn’t have an audience, I’d probably be shown the door.

What was your thinking behind the two powerful, even controversial, recent shows: H-Hour and CRUDE? Those were two shows no one else could get away with. Some people thought they were too noisy, too political. But I think they point out how much we had and have in common. [Grisha] Bruskin’s H-Hour is about the Soviet Union in 1960. His images are taken from civil defense posters that were saying Americans were going to poison the water

and use biological and chemical weapons on them. I especially like that kind of poetic reinterpretation of another time juxtaposed against [Andrei] Molodkin’s CRUDE, which looks at capitalism and oil now—and how much our two cultures are alike.

How do you work with embassies or governments to find artists like these? It differs. For example, I’m going to Russia in May partly because I showed the Russians. The Likhachev Foundation is sending me. So I’ll look at artists; visit galleries, museums, and curators; and put together an idea of what I’d like to do. Last year I went to India, and I’m working with people there. The idea is to either find a curator you want to work with or do it yourself. You don’t want a show that is canned and being circulated. Generally, though, the embassies make the introductions—then you work out the kind of show you want to do, the budget, and negotiate what the government will do. We don’t raise anywhere near enough money for the kind of programming we do. Governments pick up the tab for transportation, printing, all that.

Susan Yanero, Helicopter, 2012

“The challenge was to figure out a way the museum could be relevant to the university and to Washington.” Is foreign governments’ financial support something you can count on? Yes, now we’re at the point where they want to work with us. And there are other donors: the Molodkin show, for example—a Russian oligarch paid for everything.

We are not academic, focused on faculty and students the way many university museums are. But we do collaborate. Right now, they tell me who will be the visiting artists next year. I’ll research them and say, let’s do a show on this one. Or we’ll say, we’re thinking of bringing this person—is this someone you’d be interested in as a visiting artist? That way we work together from the beginning: the artists can come and teach and have a show up at the same time.

The museum has been What cross-programming getting lots of press. Are happens between you being approached university departments more often now about and the museum? taking shows and artists You want to take advantage of the expertise available on campus—although when we from elsewhere? put a show together, it’s regardless of extraaesthetic considerations. We’ll ask, how can we involve people more? But the theory is, a strong program generates interest, not the other way around. The School of International Service and the law school have done symposia that went with shows. And one of [our] next exhibits features work inspired by [Argentine writer Jorge Luis] Borges. A faculty member in the literature department had heard about it and put me in touch with an organizer. We’ll be teaching classes around the show.

How do you collaborate with the art department, which shares the Katzen Arts Center?

Definitely. The museum is the only venue here that can do politically charged shows. And because I have an interest in West Coast artists, especially the Beat Generation, I hear about shows like that. Art from the coast doesn’t seem to travel very well, but it’s great work and needs to get exposure here. I just got offered a show of Diebenkorn drawings from the 1950s and ’60s that have never been shown anywhere before. I’m really excited, though of course I’ll have to look into it a bit more.

Spring 2013 Exhibitions April 6–May 26 Lee Haner: Mischief Painting Borges: Art Interpreting Literature Timothy App: The Aesthetics of Precision, Forty-five Years of Painting Saturation Point: Nudashank Presents Jordan Bernier, David Armacost, Jamie Felton, and Alex Da Corte Crossing the Bifrost: MFA Thesis Exhibition Let’s talk #americanmag  25


Tom Block ’71 and Luiz Simmons ’70 Built KPU

By Adrienne Frank Elizabeth Edwards

Muhammad Ali

Helen Thomas

Colin Powell


Andy Rooney

Leslie Stahl

Cesar Chavez

Bill Clinton

Bob Dole

Mikhail Gorbachev

Gloria Steinem

Desmond Tutu

Joe Biden

Shirley Chisholm

Barry Goldwater

Coretta Scott King

26 American Magazine  MAY 2013

A Pulitzer Prize–winning photograph of a Viet Cong officer’s assassination swayed U.S. public opinion against the war in Vietnam. Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was gunned down on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. Riots erupted in more than 100 cities in the wake of King’s death, devastating entire communities and causing $27 million in damage in D.C. alone. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1968. Student sit-ins from Howard U. to UNC made national headlines. It was an unprecedented time to be living and learning in Washington, where debates about civil rights, women’s rights, and the Vietnam War raged as hot as the fires on 14th and U Streets in Northwest D.C. And Tom Block—like throngs of students before him and generations of political wonks after— came to AU to be in the middle of it all. What the Cincinnati native found, however, puzzled him: AU was more island than epicenter. “AU seemed to be isolated from the political culture of Washington,” says Block, SPA/BA ’71. “I was surprised that, with everything going on in our own backyard, there had never been a real initiative to bring speakers to campus.” So when friend and Student Association president Luiz Simmons, SIS/BA ’70, WCL/ JD ’74, floated the idea of a speakers bureau, Block—a self-described mediocre student who was more interested in the DNC and the GOP than his GPA—jumped. Together, they formed

the Kennedy Political Union (KPU): an organization that would bring AU students faceto-face with some of the most compelling and controversial activists, politicos, journalists, and religious leaders of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Over nearly a half century, KPU has become synonymous with the AU experience Block had been craving. “Many of us who went to school at AU in the ’60s frankly suffered from an inferiority complex. There was a sense that AU could be a lot better than it was,” says Simmons. “My hope was that we could raise the reputation of the university in some small way. We wanted to bring speakers to campus to raise new issues and questions and contribute to a national discourse.”


hen Block and Simmons (now a Democratic member of the Maryland House of Delegates) began mapping out their speakers bureau that summer, they didn’t have to look far into AU’s history for a name. Five years earlier, at AU’s commencement on June 10, 1963, President John F. Kennedy gave an eloquent speech of lasting consequence: “A Strategy of Peace.” Delivered at the height of the Cold War, Kennedy announced the development of a nuclear test ban treaty and vowed that the U.S. would suspend atmospheric nuclear tests—as long as other nations followed suit. In the speech, Kennedy also called on the graduates gathered in the hot sun at Reeves Field to reexamine their attitudes toward peace, the Soviet Union, and the Cold War, famously remarking: “If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can make the world safe for diversity.” “That speech symbolized politics and the power of young people,” says Block, who served as KPU director from 1968 to 1970. “It was the thing for which AU was most well known.” Robert F. Kennedy had been assassinated on the campaign trail in June 1968, and Block recalls “a great deal of fondness around the Kennedy brand. It all added up to KPU.” To honor the organization’s namesake, Theodore (Ted) Sorensen, an aide to both Kennedy brothers, was invited to deliver the inaugural KPU speech, on September 16, 1968. Attacking the “politics of silence,” the legendary speechwriter criticized presidential candidates Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey for failing to disclose their



Luiz you’re 21, you never think, ‘I’m going to create a legacy’.” —Tom Block

positions on Vietnam. The address, held at the Woods-Brown Amphitheater, garnered three standing ovations. “We knew we were onto something,” says Block. “It was an idea whose time had come.” hat first year was a whirlwind. Adam Clayton Powell, the first African American New Yorker elected to Congress, got stuck in an elevator between the second and third floors of Mary Graydon Center. Conservative author William F. Buckley, when booed by some of the 1,600 students in attendance at his lecture, shot back at the hecklers: “If you invite me here, you should let me speak.” Black Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver delivered his last speech at AU before fleeing the U.S. and seeking exile in Cuba and Algeria. With eight lectures under their belts, Block and Simmons mastered the business side of a speakers bureau—honoraria, contracts, and event logistics. After borrowing $25,000 from other student groups to get off the ground, they secured a permanent budget line. “There was some controversy in the beginning, because all the money from student activity fees went to concerts,” recalls Simmons. “We were taking money away from Sly and the Family Stone.” The pair also changed the format, moving from a panel discussion to a lecture followed by a Q&A session. (KPU still refuses to book any speaker who won’t take questions from the audience.) Booking conservative lecturers proved to be a problem, however. “We went as far left as we could go with Eldridge Cleaver,” who was charged with the attempted murder of Oakland police


officers in 1968, the year he spoke at AU. “But when we tried to go to the far right, we had problems,” says Block. “We wanted to bring Spiro Agnew to campus—it never happened.” According to current Student Activities director Karen Gerlach, who’s worked with KPU since 1997, the organization has struck a better balance in recent years. “Back in the ’70s and ’80s, it was mostly white, male speakers—because that’s who was in power. Today, they bring a much wider perspective in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, and political ideologies,” says Gerlach. “From Bill Clinton to Coretta Scott King to Paul Ryan, KPU’s brought an amazing range of change makers to AU. Politics is our sport here, so we get more attendance at lectures than at carnivals on the quad. KPU has become one of the jewels in the crown of Student Government.”


ctors, athletes, authors, and a pair of astronauts. Presidents, prime ministers, secretaries of state, and two Kennedys (Sen. Edward Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.). KPU’s lineup from the past 45 years includes some of the most powerful and prolific figures in world history (see page 26). “When you’re 21, you never think, ‘I’m going to create a legacy,’ says Block, who retired in 2008 as global head of government relations for JPMorgan Chase and now splits his time between West Palm Beach, Florida, and Louisville, Kentucky, where he serves as secretary of the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest. “It was just a fun thing to do. “I loved Student Government, I loved politics. I came to AU to have a good time, and this was my definition of a good time.” For years now, Block, a KPU alumni board member, has treated the incoming student director to dinner and stories of the organization’s founding. Alex Kreger, SPA/ BA ’13, who has been director for the past two years, says she’s tickled to be a part of KPU’s rich history. “Our speakers inspire, educate, and encourage students to do something meaningful with their lives,” says Kreger. “The fact that I play a role in bringing those change makers to campus is humbling and incredibly satisfying. “This is why students come to AU.”

Let’s talk #americanmag  27

Mark Lijek, Kogod/MBA ’78, departed for Iran

in early July 1979. Several decades later his story, or a highly embellished variant of it, has ended up in an Academy Award-winning

political thriller.

ran was not the best place for an American to go in 1979, much less a foreign service officer like Lijek. In mid-January, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the proAmerican dictator, fled the country steps ahead of a revolution, leaving a dangerous power vacuum that nationalists, Marxists, and Islamists all vied to fill. Much of the political agitation took a violently antiAmerican tone. The staff of the Embassy of the United States, where Lijek would work for the next four months, was now little more than a skeleton crew, having been trimmed by some 300 members after Valentine’s Day, when demonstrators briefly took the embassy over before being cleared out by Iranian authorities. Yet, even with this unpromising scenario, the posting in Iran fulfilled a longtime ambition

for Mark Lijek. Ever since high school, he had wanted to serve as a diplomat in an exotic overseas locale. Granted, he’d been hoping for someplace more tranquil—possibly in Latin America, where he might employ his college Spanish. But when no such opportunity was offered to his class of foreign service trainees, he went to Iran with few misgivings. While preparing for the posting, he and other junior officers slated for Tehran attended weekly brown-bag lunches at the State Department with an area specialist named Henry Precht. Precht “was very optimistic,” Lijek recalls, “and had great hopes that Iran could turn into a moderate secular democracy. We were the new guys, and who were we to question him?” For Precht and his colleagues on the Iran desk, even the Valentine’s Day surprise could almost be seen as a favorable sign, proving that when demonstrators went too far, the Iranian government would rein them in. During final preparations for Iran, Lijek did get a hint that all might not be well there: he and his fellow junior officers were shown a training film about how to behave if taken hostage. But the real shock came when he got to Tehran. He could hardly help but notice the Iranian guard tower just outside the walls of the 26-acre embassy compound. “The guard did not bother us most of the time,” he writes in his memoir of the experience, The House Guests. “Once in a while, though, he would chamber a round and take aim at one of us as we walked past.” Lijek also took in, with some alarm, the almost daily demonstrations and the heavily armed band of komiteh, or revolutionary committee, members—young, ill-trained supporters of the Islamist leader Ayatollah Khomeini who had installed themselves on the embassy grounds on the pretext of providing security. It didn’t add to his comfort to learn that balconies at the chancery, the main embassy building, held concrete boxes filled with sand to block small arms fire. (And not without reason. That summer, a rocketpropelled grenade attack by persons unknown blew out a window in the consulate.) Still, by early September, the komiteh were gone from the embassy grounds, and Iranian politics had entered a period of relative calm. Lijek’s wife, Cora Amburn-Lijek, who had stayed behind in the United States, was offered a job at the Tehran consulate, and he didn’t discourage her from taking it.

Things might have stayed calm but for a fatal decision by then president Jimmy Carter. In October, under pressure from American supporters of the shah, such as former secretary of state Henry Kissinger and banker David Rockefeller, Carter admitted the ex-dictator to the United States for cancer treatment, much to the outrage of official Iran. Graffiti and posters invoking the death of America and Carter were soon plastered all over the embassy walls, and Khomeini delivered a blistering speech calling on his countrymen to repel U.S. plots. “The Iranians,” says Lijek, “with their conspiratorial view of history and their excessive opinion of the CIA’s capabilities, believed that [the shah’s admission to the United States] was preparation for a coup to put him back in power.” (This belief, though misguided, had some historical grounding. The shah had come to power in 1953 through a CIA-engineered coup d’état against Mohammed Mossadegh, the democratically elected president.) On November 4, the U.S. chargé d’affaires responded to the threatening atmosphere by repairing to Iran’s foreign ministry to demand that more security personnel be posted outside the embassy walls. As it turned out, he went a day too late. That morning, while he met with Iranian officials, Islamist university students—infiltrated, Lijek says, by Revolutionary Guard paramilitaries—poured over the walls into the embassy compound, an incident that serves as the starting point for Argo, the Ben Affleck–directed film that dramatizes the story of Lijek and several embassy colleagues and their rescue by the CIA. While most of the invaders focused their attention on the chancery, one or two tried to penetrate the consulate, where both Lijek and his wife were working. Eventually, the consulate staff were dismissed, told to leave by an entrance that opened on a city street. In doing so, they avoided the fate of the embassy hostages—and invited a fate less onerous but considerably more complicated. or the next week—a period the Argo screenplay barely alludes to—the Lijeks and three colleagues, who had also escaped the hostage takers, moved from one insecure hiding place to the next. They stayed in five locations in total: two apartments; two houses, including the home of an embassy hostage; and, ironically, the offices of an Let’s talk #americanmag  29

Christopher Denham, center, and Clea DuVall, far right, play the Lijeks in Argo, which nabbed Best Picture honors at the 2013 Academy Awards.

30 American Magazine  MAY 2013

Argo is a product of the screenwriter’s imagination, Lijek says, as is the scene that shows them scurrying to hide in a crawlspace under Taylor’s house.) While they had a few scares at the Taylor and Sheardown residences—the suspicion that a domestic servant had divined their true identities, a helicopter passing overhead while one of them sunbathed in the yard—they mainly spent their days playing board games and sleeping late. “I read a lot and drank a lot,” Lijek recalls. “I hate to say it, but . . . I probably drink more than I would otherwise, because I acquired this habit of the preprandial drink. Of course, in those days we also had after-dinner drinks with John Sheardown. That was the highlight of the day: he would give us the [embassy] scuttlebutt” on Iranian domestic politics and what they portended for efforts to negotiate a hostage release. Which was not very much, as it turned out.

Photo by Claire Folger/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Iran-America friendship group. Finally, concerned that the authorities were only a step or two behind them, one of the escapees, Bob Anders, called in a favor from a friend at the Canadian embassy. Could the escapees bunk with John Sheardown and his wife? In the screenplay of Argo, all five escapees (and one more who joined them a few days later) stay with Ken Taylor, the flamboyant Canadian ambassador. In real life, only two stayed at Taylor’s house, while the Lijeks and two others spent the next few months at Sheardown’s. This alteration of the facts in the service of narrative tidiness is a sore point for Lijek, who complains that John Sheardown did not get credit for the risks he took, although he has been honored in books about the time. After the angst of their first week in hiding, life with the Canadians seemed routine, even boring, to Lijek and the others. (The discord among escapees that adds dramatic tension to

By early January, having given up hope of an early release, the escapees were thinking of escape again—this time, from Iran. Among other good reasons, the Iranians were combing through the embassy’s records, painstakingly reassembled from scraps left behind in the shredding room, and they soon would find out about the six missing staffers, after which the manhunt would begin in earnest. The escapees asked Ken Taylor to convey their thinking to Washington, and a week or so later, he inquired as to how they’d feel about leaving under American passports. They nixed the idea as excessively risky, but they couldn’t help thinking that Taylor’s question implied an active plan to get them out. CIA agent Tony Mendez, played in the movie by Affleck himself, arrived two weeks later with the plan. Actually three plans. Mendez, an “exfiltration” man—he specialized in moving people quietly out of hostile countries—assembled the six escapees and offered them three exfiltration options, all using commercial air transport: in the first, they would travel as Canadians working in the oil extraction business; in the second, as nutritionists from a Canadian university; and in the third, as a location-scouting team for a Canadian-funded Hollywood science fiction movie, also titled Argo. “It was immediately obvious the Hollywood option was much more developed,” Lijek writes in his 2012 memoir. “The CIA had gone so far as to purchase a script and set up a dummy production company. . . . We had a copy of the script, artist storyboards, and a copy of the Hollywood Reporter issue with a full-page ad announcing the formation of the production company.” The escapees voted for the movie idea. They spent the next day learning their new identities (Lijek, rechristened Joseph Earl Harris, was transportation coordinator for the fake movie; Cora was the scriptwriter Teresa Harris) and submitting to practice interviews with Mendez, answering his rapid-fire queries in their best imitation Canadian English. The episode in Argo where the faux film crew touches off a near riot while scouting locations in Tehran’s bazaar? Never happened, Lijek says. They never scouted a location; they just prepared to explain why if questioned about it at the airport. After an intensive day of rehearsing their identities, they spent a last restless night on Iranian soil, then put on maple leaf lapel pins

supplied by Mendez and gathered up their new Canadian passports. A few hours later they were airborne. Tony Mendez’s plan, as Lijek writes, “went off without a hitch.” Like the film’s bazaar episode, the suspenseful scenes where the escapees have to bluff their way past skeptical guards at airport checkpoints were made up out of whole cloth; so was the climactic, pulseelevating car chase where Revolutionary Guards pursue the departing jet down a runway. Presumably, the screenwriter added these touches to punch up Argo’s drama, and judging from the movie’s wildly favorable reception, he seems to have succeeded. n 2011, 31 years after posing as a Hollywood insider, Mark Lijek got inside a real movie production, consulting for the Affleck version of Argo. Mainly this consisted of talking on the phone with Christopher Denham, the actor who plays Lijek in the movie, answering questions about his state of mind during his months of hiding out. Lijek also spent a day on set, witnessing some two dozen takes of one short scene in which an embassy staffer runs for the shredder, pushing a cart of documents. “I couldn’t see any difference between the takes, but clearly Affleck wasn’t getting what he wanted,” Lijek says. “I realized acting was harder than I had thought—to have to repeat

Shortly after they fled Iran, the Lijeks and the fellow escapees met with President Jimmy Carter at the White House.

that scene over and over and bring freshness and energy to each take.” When the movie premiered, he and Cora attended. He found parts of the film tough to watch. The scenes between Denham and Clea DuVall, who plays the part of Cora, recalled the guilt he felt for not exhorting Cora to stay behind while he finished his tour at the Tehran embassy. Neither did he get much joy out of watching the takeover episode, in which embassy personnel are blindfolded and handcuffed. On the other hand, he says, that scene and another that depicts the mock execution of an embassy hostage serve as a useful reminder that such abuses occurred, an answer to historical revisionists who claim that the hostages were treated well. For all the liberties the movie takes with day-today facts, according to Lijek, it gets the basic outlines of the history right. Anthony Quainton, an AU diplomat in residence, also finds some historical value in Argo. “I’ve not used it as a teaching device, partly because it’s quite long,” Quainton says, “but it does expose people to events that they didn’t know about or have completely forgotten. . . . It’s good to remember the history because we are an ahistorical country, and the Iranians don’t forget their relations with the U.S.” Quainton, who served as U.S. ambassador to Nicaragua, Kuwait, the Central African Republic, and Peru, also likes the film’s portrayal of the real dangers faced by diplomats. On the other hand, he worries that it “so demonizes Iranians that it makes it hard to think about how we can relate to the Iranian revolution and the hostage crisis.” In its eagerness to ratchet up dramatic tension, Argo presents all “Iranians as violent fanatics,” agrees history professor Pedram Partovi, and it misses the chance to reconsider U.S.-Iran relations at a time of heightened tensions and on-and-off negotiations over the Iranian nuclear program. Contrary to much recent commentary, Partovi says, negotiations with Iran can work. “Direct negotiations with the Iranians were crucial to

the successful resolution of the hostage crisis. This is a message we don’t get in the film,” he points out. “The CIA mission was organized in part to make sure that the discovery of the [escapees] would not derail those negotiations.” History, he argues, involves not just facts but interpretation, and Argo offers a “triumphalist,” one-sided American interpretation of the events it dramatizes. nce they were back on American soil, the escapees received enormous attention, try as they did to keep a low profile and answer reporters’ questions vaguely so as not to compromise the CIA’s methods. But with the return of the hostages early in 1981, that attention began to fade. Largely ignored by media, Mark Lijek remained in the foreign service until age 46, when he took an early retirement for health and family reasons. He and Cora now live in Washington State. His Iranian travails have made him philosophical about adversity. “In situations where I can’t see many good options,” Lijek says, “I always tell myself, ‘At least you’re not in Tehran.’” For most of his foreign service career, he did administrative work, overseeing everything from embassy security to office supplies. His service in Iran bought him some leeway when it came to subsequent assignments. He got the kind of postings he had always imagined, in friendly, interesting places like Warsaw, Berlin, Kathmandu, and Hong Kong. Given all that cultural and geographical variety, can Lijek name the high point of his career? He mentions trekking in Nepal, arriving in Berlin a few days after the Wall came down, getting to meet Polish relatives during his time with the Warsaw embassy. But those experiences, however gratifying, pale beside one other. “Honestly, the high point was Iran,” he says.

Let’s talk #americanmag  31

Best friends and roommates Cara Markowitz, CAS/BA ‘07, and Jaclyn Pulice, SOC/BA ‘07, show off their tickets to the inaugural parade—their first—on January 21, 2013.

1950s Stanley Grogan, SOC/BS ’50, SOC/MA ’55, made four presentations, published in two books, at an annual seminar in New Delhi in 2012. As vice chairman of the International Institute of Security and Safety Management, he has given many seminars in Europe and Asia. He is also a veteran of the armed forces. Martin Ries, CAS/BA ’50, had his painting Mystic Landscape and the Unexplained Fog of Ions on display at the Linden Centre for Contemporary Arts in St. Kilda, Melbourne, Australia. The work was bought at auction from the Rochester Contemporary Art Center’s 6x6x12 exhibition.

1960s Barbara Berman Rothman, CAS/BA ’61, traveled many miles for a reunion lunch at the Jersey Shore in Long Branch on July 10, 2012, with Ro (Rosalie) Strauss Rubinfeld; Dee (Deanna) Mintzer Frankel; Bobbi (Barbara) Kaplan Moskowitz, CAS/BA ’61; Bobbi (Roberta) Marcus Melnick, CAS/BA ’61; and Maxine Gevinson Altman, CAS/BA ’61. The all-blond group had not been together for over 50 years, and they spent a wonderful afternoon filled with remembrances of AU, old boyfriends, work, children, grandchildren, and husbands.

Arnold Danielson, CAS/BA ’62, self-published a book, A Traveler’s History of the Cote d’Azur. He is a former banking executive and financial industry consultant. He and his wife split their time in retirement between homes in Maryland and France.


TIME CAPSULES Top tune “Tossin’ and Turnin’,” Bobby Lewis Top grossing flick 101 Dalmatians In the news East Germany erects Berlin Wall; Alan Shepard becomes first American in space At the helm Mike Rappoport was 1960–1961 College Council president; he’s now retired from Arizona’s Salt River Project, one of the nation’s largest public water and electric utilities.

John De Pauw, SIS/MA ’64, SIS/ PhD ’77, earned a second PhD from Trinity University in 2012. A teacher and author, he received a BA in political science from Swarthmore College. Alison Owings, SOC/BA ’66, published her third work of nonfiction, Indian Voices: Listening to Native Americans. Tom Brown, CAS/BA ’68, has been promoted to senior-level

I recently led a nationwide study of the future vulnerability of water supply systems in the U.S. We found that climate change, not population and economic growth, will be the major cause of additional water shortages in the coming decades.” —Tom Brown, CAS/BA ’68, senior-level scientist with the U.S. Forest Service scientist with the U.S. Forest Service, an honor that only 19 of nearly 500 agency scientists have attained. A research economist at the Rocky Mountain Research Station in Fort Collins, Colorado, he was recommended for this “super scientist” position by a national science panel, approved by the Secretary of Agriculture, and qualified by meeting a series of exacting requirements.

Elizabeth Young, CAS/MA ’68, published two books in 2011: Do You See Him Now?, a mysteryromance (Infinity Publishing), and FUGO, an international thriller (Divertir Publishing). In retirement, she continues to write and teach.

Sherrill Cannon, CAS/BA ’69, received her 12th literary award in 2011–2012 for her four rhyming children’s books, Lonnie Scheps, Gimme-Jimmy, your friends in Kogod/BS ’68, The Magic the loop. Send has moved to Word, Peter and your updates to Houston, Texas, the Whimperclassnotes@ to accept a new Whineys, appointment and Santa’s as senior vice Birthday Gift. president of SinomaxShe is sponsoring a USA, a multinational fundraiser for the Cure JM manufacturer and marketer Foundation at of memory foam bedding and Fifty percent of the profits from accessories.  the books go to Cure JM.

KEEP  33

class notes

1970s Frazier O’Leary, CAS/BA ’70, is the new president of the PEN/ Faulkner Foundation. Luiz Simmons, SIS/BA ‘70, WCL/ JD ‘74, and Tom Block, SPA/BA ‘71, reflect on the creation of the Kennedy Political Union (p. 26).

Phyllis Braxton, CAS/BA ’72, CAS/MA ’73, published a book on Falstaff, Such a King Harry: Falstaff vs. Hal (Xlibris, 2012). The book presents the two characters as rivals instead of close friends.


TIME CAPSULES Top tune “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” Roberta Flack Top grossing flick The Godfather In the news Watergate scandal breaks; U.S. Supreme Court rules death penalty unconstitutional From the AU archives AU experiments with coed floors in Hughes Hall. The men and women—100 trailblazers prescreened by a special housing committee—“can often be seen cooking together, playing chess, and accompanying each other musically.”

James Winkler, SOC/BA ’72, of Perrysburg, Ohio, recently completed a two-year stint as writer-editor of the University of Toledo’s 372-page self-study report for continued accreditation from the Chicago-based Higher 34 American Magazine  MAY 2013

Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Winkler also served as writer-editor of the UT Athletic Department’s NCAA self-study report for recertification in 2008. James Brett, SPA/BA ’73, was elected president of the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Association of Mental Health. The president and CEO of the New England Council, he also was appointed by President Obama to chair the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities. R. Terrance Rader, WCL/JD ’74, has been named a Michigan Super Lawyer. He has been trial counsel in more than 400 federal intellectual property lawsuits and has obtained numerous multimillion-dollar verdicts or settlements for plaintiffs and defendants. He also has litigated on behalf of a number of highprofile celebrity clients, including the rock group KISS and singer Aretha Franklin. Sherry Sanabria, CAS/MFA ’74, hosted an art exhibition at the Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C., from January through May 2012. She exhibited paintings, and her husband, sculptor Robert Sanabria, showed small sculptures. Jack Rasmussen, CAS/MA ‘75, ‘83, ‘91, CAS/PhD ‘94, director of the AU Museum, talks political art (p. 22).

Steve Piacente, SOC/BA ’76, published his first novel, Bella, which won the Readers’ Favorite 2012 Gold Medal for Dramatic Fiction. Donald White, SPA/BS ’76, authored six articles published in the Journal of Healthcare

My late brother, Jack, is the inspiration for my advocacy on behalf of people with intellectual disabilities . . . I feel an obligation to make sure people with disabilities have opportunities to learn and to be active members of our communities.” —James Brett, SPA/BA ’73, on his work with the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities Protection Management, including two award-winning articles. White is director of safety and security at the Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute in Falls Church, Virginia, and recently received a 20-year service award from the Commonwealth of Virginia. Maria Henderson, CAS/MSTM ’77, took office July 1 as president of the Florida Bar Foundation, a statewide charitable organization that works on behalf of Florida’s legal profession to expand access to justice. Henderson is a Florida Bar Foundation Fellow and member of the foundation’s Legacy for Justice. She has served on the Board of Trustees of the Tampa Museum of Art and on the Second Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee of the Florida Bar. Mark Lijek’s, Kogod/MBA ‘78, escape from Iran is depicted in the Oscar-winning Argo (p. 28).

Jeff Baxt, SOC/BA ’79, has been named interim board member and co-chair of the

marketing committee for a new Philadelphia-based nonprofit, Kitchen Cred.

1980s David Smith, SPA/BA ’82, serves as chair of the Rockville (Maryland) Human Rights Commission. Colin Uckert, SPA/BA ’83, swam the one-mile Presque Isle Bay Swim in Lake Erie and has now completed an open water swim in each of the Great Lakes. He also joined the legal division of Freddie Mac as associate general counsel. Bennet Kelley, SPA/BS ’84, was part of the U.S. delegation in China for the 17th U.S.-China Legal Exchange in August 2012, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce and China’s Ministry of Commerce. Founder of the Internet Law Center, he presented on recent updates in e-commerce law.

thank you

illustration by Joseph Adolphe

Jack Cassell, SOC/BA ’77, lived and played on campus as a boy. AU was his backyard.

His father, Stafford H. “Pop” Cassell—alum, renowned basketball coach, athletic director, and vice president—died when Cassell was just 10 years old. He has not forgotten the support shown to him and his family by the AU community. The Cassell family’s affiliation with American University now extends across three generations. (His parents “Pop” and Carolyn Cassell Harrison met at AU.) Jack Cassell continues to express his regard for and commitment to AU through his generous financial support. In recognition of $3 million in gifts to the university, AU’s new eight-story residence hall for juniors and seniors and fitness facility will be named Cassell Hall and the Stafford H. Cassell Jr. Fitness Center, respectively.

“It’s terrific that students will have the pleasure of knowing their residence hall’s namesake,” says Gail Hanson, vice president of Campus Life. “Jack’s example of lifelong engagement with the university is inspirational and is now embodied in this hall that bears his family name.” Recipient of the 2009 AU President’s Award and the 2004 Alumni Achievement Award, Cassell has served on the Board of Trustees since 2003, a role he speaks of with pride and gratitude. He also chaired the board’s Athletic Committee for six years. As a student, he was starting goalkeeper on the varsity soccer team and was president of the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity. With his SOC degree, he went to work for Visual Aids Electronics, where he now serves as president and CEO. Cassell’s dedication to and memory of fellowship at AU will continue to strengthen our community spirit.


College is a 24-hour-a-day, seven-daya-week experience, something everyone who lived in a residence hall as an undergraduate knows. That’s why I’m excited about the next stage of our university’s growth: development of the eight-acre parking lot south of Ward Circle and east of Nebraska Avenue. Many of you fondly know this space as “the Nebraska parking lot.” We’re known for a distinct, beautiful, and traditional campus in the heart of Washington. The development of the Nebraska Avenue property—with two academic buildings and a handsome gateway building—will make a remarkable statement about the university’s values. The centerpiece of this new development is three residential buildings that will provide housing for 590 students. Those who live in these new halls will enjoy some of the finest student housing available anywhere, with comfortable accommodations and lovely public and outdoor spaces that blend with the main campus. By providing more and better housing on campus, we will emphasize the importance of a residential undergraduate education at American University.

Make a gift Make visit a gift giving

visit giving

Academic life at AU is enhanced by learning communities—by faculty who live or maintain offices in residence halls, and by the rich programming already in place there. All of these opportunities enhance our students’ intellectual development, as do the social experiences they encounter in residential life. Alumni feel there’s an openness to our setting and a leafy greenness that’s conducive to happy living. They remember campus as a place of work and play integral to their development. Today our students enjoy all of that and more. These new residence halls will only further enrich future AU students’ experiences. Sincerely,

Thomas J. Minar, PhD Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations

36 American Magazine  MAY 2013



Students Housed


doubles with bathrooms


residence halls


parking spaces


Target completion date




square feet


academic buildings

Ward Circle and east of Nebraska Avenue, construction of which is slated to begin in summer 2014, will feature three residence halls, two academic buildings, a new welcome center, and about 400 parking spaces. “This new development will be an area of campus where academic buildings, administrative offices, public spaces, and residence halls are designed to intertwine,” Minar says. Your support will enable a new generation of AU students to experience the rich personal development that is achieved when students live among their peers during these formative years of their lives. For updates, visit buildingAU/eastoverview.cfm.  37

illustration by Joseph Adolphe

The 8.1-acre parcel of land planned for development south of

class notes

Susan Shelby, SIS/BA ’88, was appointed to the 2012–2013 Board of Directors of New England Women in Real Estate (NEWiRE), the region’s leading professional organization promoting the advancement of women within the commercial real estate industry. A member since 2005, she chairs the communications committee.

I don’t have a favorite, as each garden has its own special qualities. The British are known for having beautiful gardens—a true description of the British ambassador’s garden here. And the Oriental style of the Korean garden sets it apart from the other interesting gardens that I photographed for the book.”

Ann Stevens, SPA/BS ’88, co-authored with Giles Kelly, a retired diplomat, the new coffeetable book Diplomatic Gardens of Washington. The book provides an exclusive look at private gardens behind embassy walls.

—Ann Stevens, SPA/BS ’88, on her book Diplomatic Gardens of Washington Fern Fleischer Daves, SPA/BA ’85, SPA/MS ’86, was promoted to the position of assistant general counsel of ITT Corporation in White Plains, New York.

of electronic media and film at Towson University and has taken on the additional job of general manager of the university’s faculty-supervised, studentrun, fully operational television station, WMJF-TV.

John Thomas, Kogod/MBA ’85, was featured in a Daystar Kathe Albrecht, CAS/MA ’88, television network series called recently won the 2012 Visual Impact with Pastor Dave, Resources Association where he chronicled (VRA) Distinguished his life pre- and Service Award. post-cancer. He Recipients of also wrote a this prestigious book, A Call Your email award, VRA’s to Faith: The address at highest honor, Journey of a alumniassociation. must have Cancer Survivor. achieved a level updateemail. Ed Anderson, of distinction in the Kogod/BSBA ’86, is field either through global CIO for World leadership, research, Vision International, based in or service to the profession, London, England. including outstanding innovation, participation, or project Dave Reiss, SOC/BA ’86, was management. promoted to associate professor


connect alumniassociation.

38 American Magazine  MAY 2013



TIME CAPSULES Top tune “Candle in the Wind,” Elton John Top grossing flick Titanic

Julie Koehler, SIS/MS ’90, has been promoted to senior associate at Dewberry, an architecture and engineering firm. Koehler has more than 10 years of experience in the design and construction of municipal water and wastewater treatment projects. Joyce Winslow, CAS/MA ’90, a journalist in Washington, D.C., published a book with former secretary of defense Harold Brown called Star Spangled Security: Applying Lessons Learned over Six Decades Safeguarding America (Brookings Institution Press). Craig Cheifetz, SPA/BA ’93, was promoted to associate dean of the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Medicine–Inova Fairfax. This year he also received the Walter

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MacDonald Award from the American College of Physicians for outstanding young physician as well as VCU’s top faculty award in its School of Medicine, the Enrique Gerzsten Award for excellence and innovation in teaching medicine.

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In the news O. J. Simpson found liable in civil suit for the wrongful death of his ex-wife and her friend; U.S. appeals court upholds California ban on affirmative action From the AU archives Printed report cards become a thing of the past when the registrar begins posting grades online.

Amy Kothari, Kogod/MBA ’93, is CEO of Alarm Capital Alliance and My Alarm Center. She was recently featured in several industry publications, including Security Systems News, and acknowledged in  85 Broads, a global women’s network, for her work as a powerful woman in business.

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monumental LOVE SPA professor Joe Young, Washington Semester ’96 + CAS professor Melissa Scholes Young, Washington Semester ’96 He first laid eyes on her on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial when the entire class went downtown for a picture. “I saw her and thought, this is a very wonderful person,” he says. She didn’t see him. “We met in the cafeteria at Tenley on the morning after my 21st birthday,” she says. He knew right away. “My mom came to visit a couple days after that and I said, ‘I met the woman I’m going to marry.’” They were married in the fall of 1998. After a two-year stint teaching in Brazil, they returned to the states for graduate school. Coming back to teach at AU was always the dream. Positions: Joe teaches a graduate-level research statistics class and Political Violence and Terrorism; Melissa teaches in the College Writing Program. Research: Joe looks at how democracy encourages or discourages terrorism. Melissa has published essays and poetry and is working on her first novel. They’re thrilled to be back at AU. They live in Rockville with their children, Isabelle, 11, and Piper, 5. “Hopefully they’ll be AU alums,” Joe says. Nostalgia: “We were standing in line getting our faculty IDs,” Melissa says, “and we were giggling because we had stood in those same lines getting IDs when we were students.”  39

class notes

Vicki Englund, SPA/BA ’95, a member of the Missouri House of Representatives from 2009 to 2010, currently sits on the Lindbergh Schools Board of Education and is again a candidate for the Missouri House. Marc Bender, SPA/BA ’97, was appointed senior managing director and global head of acceleration and seeding at Cantor Fitzgerald, a leading global financial services firm. Nur Ali, SIS/BA ‘98, recounts the race to become the first Pakistani American to compete in a NASCAR event (p. 9).

Maya Hyman, SPA/BA ’98, and her husband announce the birth of their son, Marcus Kenneth, on July 3, 2012, in Washington, D.C. He joins big sister Elizabeth Ruth, who turned 20 months the day he was born.

leaders under the age of 40 who share a passion for community involvement and philanthropy and who have a strong drive to make a positive impact in the Atlanta area. Wendy Noker, SIS/BA ’99, and husband Jason Noker announce the birth of their son Elias (“Eli”). Kendee Yamaguchi, SOC-SPA/ BA ’99, has been appointed to the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission.

2000s Elizabeth Dahl, SIS/MA ’00, SIS/PhD ’06, assistant professor in political science at the University of Nebraska–Omaha, published “Oil and Water? The Philosophical Commitments of International Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution” in the International Studies Review (June 2012).

Lorena Jordan, Kogod/BS ’98, opened a jewelry shop named Top Drawer Jewelry, Ken Biberaj, featuring all SPA/BA ’02, handmade was selected About upcoming items on the as a 40 Under events. Visit e-commerce 40 Rising Star website Etsy. in NYC politics alumni/events. by City and State Sybille Reinke de newspaper. Over Buitrago, SPA/BA the past seven years, ’98, SIS/MA ’00, edited he has raised his profile the book Portraying the Other in and bolstered his candidacy for International Relations: Cases of Manhattan’s sixth City Council Othering, Their Dynamics, and the District seat in 2013. Biberaj Potential for Transformation. interned in President Clinton’s Lacrecia Cade, SPA/BA ’99, Harlem office, joined John Kerry’s was selected to serve on presidential campaign in Florida, the 2012–2013 United Way and, while attending night Young Professional Leaders classes at New York Law School, Advisory Board. Members of helped resurrect the iconic this board are professional Russian Tea Room.


40 American Magazine  MAY 2013

Michael Lamm, SIS/BA ’02, and wife Simone announce the birth of their baby Nathaniel Dylan on August 3.


TIME CAPSULES Top tune “How You Remind Me,” Nickelback Top grossing flick The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers In the news Snipers prey on D.C. suburbs; U.S. launches Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan From the AU archives The Eagle presents the Best Asses on Campus award to the Party Animals, a political art exhibition of donkeys and elephants. “Honorable mention goes to the men’s soccer team.”

Michael Morey, SPA/MA ’05, was hired as vice president of public relations at the political consulting firm SKDKnickerbocker. For the past six years, he worked for U.S. senator Charles E. Schumer, most recently as his New York communications director. Moshe Nelson, SPA/MPA ’06, was honored by the EnVest Foundation as a 40under40 Award recipient for professional philanthropic achievements. Annie Gardner, CAS/BA ’07, has been living in Cairo, Egypt, since 2009 and is working on her first novel. Stephen Holzen, Kogod/MBA ’07, joined Invotex, a national accounting, financial, and economic consulting firm, as director of its Washington, D.C., office.

Dara Friedman-Wheeler, CAS/MA ’03, CAS/PhD ’05, is coauthor of a book, Group Cognitive Therapy for Addictions. Catherine Clister, SPA/BA ’04, and Russell Confroy, SOC/BA ’06, were married on June 30, 2012. Keith Shovlin, CAS/BA ’04, published his second book, Life’s Penance, on November 27, 2012. The novella is the first of the Millennial Row series, a collection of 10 stories about life in the twenty-first century. He expects to publish the second book, Andy 4 President, in 2013. Travis Crytzer, SPA/BA ’05, SPA/MPA ’07, started his wedding officiating and planning company, Tie the Knot D.C., in June 2012.

Recognize this stalwart supporter? Dave Pushman ’71 thinks it’s Thomas Trevor and Paula Jenkins ’74 believes it’s Glen Herring—but we haven’t been able to confirm it. Email leads to



these social butterflies? Reveal their identities at magazine@ Excerpts from the Eagle archives at the


Construction began on the men’s lounge, which, despite its location in the gym and its sporty decor, was designed for “athletes and non-athletes alike.” Previously, men congregated “on the library steps, in the parlor of the women’s residence hall, or in some fellow’s room where the space [was] limited.” The new lounge featured checkerboards; a ping-pong table; a longand short-wave radio; and plush, blue draperies adorned with an orange “A.”


Nestled in the basement of Mary Graydon Hall, the Rendezvous Room was the hub of campus life. In the lounge with a bright red piano, students enjoyed afternoon tea, milkshakes, ice cream, and waffles. The room also featured reading chairs and a variety of periodicals: Science Digest, Harper’s, Fortune, and the Saturday Evening Post. Despite the informal atmosphere, Rendezvous had a strict no-slacks policy.


Couples donned their finest “Hillbilly clothes and blue jeans” for the annual Sadie Hawkins Dance in the Leonard Lounge. Hosted by the College of Arts and Sciences’ social board, the event was “the one day when gals may take the initiative to ask their favorite guy for a date.” Ladies presented their dates with vegetable corsages and danced the night away to the music of Bob Howard and His Orchestra.


The Tavern’s new “mint and salmon” paint job left a fishy taste in students’ mouths. While the cheery hues—more befitting of an ice cream parlor than a watering hole—were chosen to modernize and brighten the space, senior Jeff Bolton offered another theory: “the colors must have been on sale.” Not everyone panned the pastel palette, however. Senior Al Feiler liked the “preppy” hues because “they go well with my Izod and Bermudas.”

Where did you mix and mingle on campus? Share stories of your favorite spot to socialize. Email or post your memories at  41


A Sporting Life Matt Doolin, SOC ’07 + Amanda Zimmer, SOC ’12 Sports is not only their passion; it’s their livelihood. Employer: Comcast SportsNet Positions: Matt’s an assignment desk coordinator; Amanda’s a production assistant. “My job is putting people in the right place so they can succeed,” Doolin says. Zimmer’s an important part of that team. “It’s our job to make sure [games and interviews] are recorded and all the editors have everything they need to get things edited correctly and as quickly as they can,” she says. Both were Trilling Scholars at AU, a two-year award given to a rising junior who embodies the qualities of the late Mike Trilling, AU’s first full-time sports information director. “The Trilling Scholarship is a perfect reflection of the values of the Department of Athletics and Recreation,” says associate athletic director Nancy Yasharoff. “It honors Mike’s accomplishments and provides opportunities for people like Amanda and Matt to combine real-world experience with classroom learning.” Good question: “Why wouldn’t you want to watch sports for a career?” asks Zimmer.

42 American Magazine  MAY 2013

class notes

A lot of the business of government takes place in between meetings—in the hallways and restrooms of city hall.” —Andrew Huff, SPA/MPA ’07, on his past roles in political communications

Andrew Huff, SPA/MPA ’07, was named American University’s director of community relations. He comes to AU from the office of Ward 2 councilmember Jack Evans, where he recently served as director of communications. Jeremy Maeda, SIS/BA ’08, recently completed U.S. Navy basic training at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Illinois. Sarah Destefano, SPA/BA ’09, graduated from Brooklyn Law School in Brooklyn, New York, on June 1, 2012, earning a juris doctor degree. Her AU roommate, Kelly Ann Toves, SOC/BA ’09, attended the ceremony.

Herman Liebling CAS/MA ’45, CAS/PhD ’61, October 31, 2012, Bethesda, Maryland Mary Leonard Strong CAS/BA ’46, October 19, 2012, Ventura, California

Rob Kevlihan, SIS/PhD ’09, published his first book, Aid, Insurgencies, and Conflict Transformation (Routledge 2012), in November. The book is based on his doctoral dissertation at AU. Ahmad Touré, Kogod/BA ‘09, gets “paid in sunsets” at Great Falls Park in Virginia (p. 2).

Steven Witt, WCL/JD ’09, was named associate at the Irvine, California, office of Fisher and Phillips. His practice focuses on counseling and defending employers in all areas of labor and employment law. Christina Bezon Wu, SIS/BA ’09, and Joshua Wu, CAS-SIS/BA ’07, were married on December 30, 2011, in Rochester, New York. They celebrated with fellow alumni Elliot Chiu, SPA/BA ’09; Abigail Colson, SPA/BA ’07; Kelsey Cambronne, SIS/BA ’09; Alexandra Salzman, SIS/BA ’08; Tanya Elshahawi, CAS/BA ’10; Ashley Sumpter, SPA/BA ’09; Ashley Wall, SPA/BA ’08, CAS/ MAT ’09; and Matt Michels SIS/BA ’08.

2010s Christine Hooyman, SPA/MA ‘10, reflects on her time in Rwanda in the Peace Corps (p. 8).

Henry Lampe Kogod/BS ’52, October 28, 2012, Arlington, Virginia

John Starinchuck WCL/JD ‘59, June 26, 2012, Tiger, Georgia

Abbey J. Butler Kogod/BSBA ’58, October 12, 2012, Westhampton Beach, New York

Victor Dupuis CAS/MA ’61, August 17, 2009, Pennsylvania John Ewald CAS/BA ’62, September 23, 2012, Hagerstown, Maryland

Amanda Mazzoni, SIS/BA ’10, graduated from Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles, California. She attended the school’s SCALE program, completing her juris doctor in two years. She celebrated her graduation with her father, Michael R. Mazzoni, WCL/JD ’72, and sister, Megan R. Mazzoni, SPA/BA ’08. In August 2012, Megan Mazzoni joined her father to practice law at the Mazzoni Law Firm. Rachel Mlinarchik, SIS/MA ’10, was on tour for three weeks with Armed Forces Entertainment and Capitol Movement to perform for troops and their families in the Mediterranean and North Africa. Joseph Vess, SIS/MA ’10, joined Instituto Promundo’s Washington, D.C., office as senior program officer. He works with international partners on engaging men in postconflict settings in the prevention of gender-based violence. Kimberly Meyer, SPA/MPA ’12, published a white paper “Testing Tradition: Assessing the Added Value of Public-Private Partnerships” for the National Council for Public-Private Partnerships. She also published three poems in Tacenda Literary Magazine, which is published by

Clyde Winters SPA/BS ’63, WCL/JD ’66, November 11, 2008, Deerfield Beach, Florida Janna Bremer SPA/BA ’64, July 2, 2012, Norwood, Massachusetts

students in AU’s Department of Justice, Law and Society. Michelle Nadeau, CAS/BS ’12, graduated from Navy Officer Candidate School and received a commission as an ensign in the U.S. Navy while assigned at Officer Training Command, Newport, Rhode Island. Emily Roseman, SOC/BA ’12, joined ABC News as an editor and producer in the digital media department. She was recognized as a notable alumna by the White House Internship Program, where she served as an intern in the Executive Office of the President in 2008.

To update your address Email Visit Write Office of Alumni Relations American University 4400 Massachusetts Ave., NW Washington, DC 20016-8002

David Brandiff CAS/BA ’69, March 30, 2012, New Jersey

Katherine McCartney CAS/BA ’81, June 7, 2012, Slingerlands, New York

Carolyn Jean Lawrence SOC/BA ’77, August 22, 2011, Washington, D.C.

Talia Agler CAS/BA ’06, January 27, 2012, Washington, D.C.  43

AU’s reach extends from coast to coast,

with more than 2,100 alums calling the City of Angels home. They’re behind the camera, on the red carpet, in the studio back lot. They’re in the boardroom, the newsroom, and the writers’ room. What besides a beloved hometown and penchant for sunshine and surf do these Eagles share? The insider’s knowledge of Washington, D.C., gained while studying at AU. AU will be in Los Angeles this fall, when President Neil Kerwin hosts a reception for SoCal alumni. Will you be there? For more information, visit

Catalina Walsh, SOC/MA ’03, co-owner, Synergistic Productions. This Hollywood reporter worked for Telemundo, MTV, and Chicago Tribune Media Group before launching her company, which specializes in celebrity interviews. Lauren Schaffer, SOC/BA ’82, editor. Emmy-nominated for her work on The West Wing, Schaffer’s résumé includes such hits as Deadwood and Law and Order: Criminal Intent.

Giuliana Rancic, SOC/ MA ’97, E! News anchor. A mainstay on the red carpet, the entertainment reporter also stars in her own reality series, Giuliana and Bill, which returns to the Style Network this summer.

Dean Factor, Kogod/ BSBA ’87, cofounder and former CEO, Smashbox Cosmetics. The greatgrandson of Hollywood makeup legend Max Factor has a new L.A. venture: Lindbrook Capital, a wealth management firm.

Darryl Frank, SOC/ BA ’91, copresident, DreamWorks Television. Executive producer of NBC’s Smash, Frank also has a stake in Frank Family Vineyards in Calistoga, California.

Robert Chiappetta, SIS/BA ’96, writer, Fringe. Along with his writing partner Glen Whitman, Chiappetta serves as executive story editor on the popular FOX crime series.

Danielle Gelber Keith Fleer, SPA/BA ’64, WCL/JD ’67, entertainment lawyer. The Sherman Oaks attorney’s clientele includes A-list authors, writers, directors, producers, and actors.

44 American Magazine  MAY 2013

Bryan Callen, CAS/BA ’93, actor. The stand-up comedian’s credits include Old School, MADtv, Sex and the City, and The Hangover. His latest flick, My Man Is a Loser, hits theatres this year.

SIS/MA ’82 Executive Vice President Wolf Films Los Angeles, Ca

What audience is not being spoken to? Danielle Gelber asked herself that question in July 2011, when, after a long stint as a television executive at Fox and Showtime, she joined Law and Order creator Dick Wolf’s company, Wolf Films, as executive vice president. Her brainstorming sparked an idea: Chicago Fire. The hour-long dramatic series follows the personal lives and

professional travails of some very good-looking firefighters. After a slow ratings start in 2012, the show gained traction and will return to NBC in the fall. “Rather than craft it so it just became a purely action show, I wanted it to involve a lot of character, emotion, and storytelling,” she says. Gelber’s television instincts are usually spot-on. She grew up

in Beverly Hills but followed a path toward TV news before switching gears at 26. A temp job working for legendary producer Aaron Spelling turned into a career as a studio exec, during which she developed such hits as The X-Files, Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place, and Weeds. “There are some common themes running through successful

series,” she says. “I don’t think it’s subject matter per se. You have an underpinning of familiarity and top it with an overlay of something fresh, unique, and unexpected.”  45

Rancic: Jesse Grant/Stringer/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty images for NBCUniversal Factor: Michael Buckner/Staff/ Getty Images Entertainment/Getty images Gelber: photographed on the back lot of Universal Studios, by Alan Levenson

where we are

vision + planning = legacy

Ernie and Ellen Stevens

Ernie Stevens, Kogod/MBA ’63, knows that an advanced degree opens doors. After earning a bachelor’s at Penn State University, Ernie and his wife, fellow Penn State grad, Ellen Stevens, returned to their native Arlington, Virginia, where Ellen worked while Ernie pursued an MBA at American University. The couple, who’ve supported AU for more than 40 years, credit higher education with forging their futures and have chosen to create similar opportunities for others. In addition to their annual support, the Stevenses employed tax incentives through a charitable IRA rollover to establish the Erland P. Stevens and Ellen M. Stevens Endowed Fund, which provides scholarship support to MBA students at the Kogod School of Business. The charitable IRA rollover appealed to the Stevenses, because they could transfer their retirement assets directly to AU without first recognizing the funds as income—an opportunity Congress extended through 2013. The Stevenses, who retired to Marco Island, Florida, are proud of the impact the scholarship will have on AU students. “We hope to help eliminate financial barriers to higher education and hope that others will join us in this worthy goal.”

46 American Magazine  MAY 2013

Photo by Aaron Ansarov

For information on how your vision and charitable estate planning can create a legacy at American University, contact Seth Speyer, director of Planned Giving, at 202-885-5914 or, or visit

top picks

Meaghan’s top-10 favorite cookies:


1. Swirly Cookie Pops I rely on sprinkles a lot. They sparkle and cover every icing imperfection. 2. Lime Cookies for Cosmos Cookies and cocktails. Nothing’s better.


3. Monster Cookie Sticks I made these for Halloween, but I like them the whole year through. For instant cute, just add a couple of candy eyes to a cookie. 4. Painted Cookies I tried my hand at painting with food coloring, and I love the watercolor look.

Cookie connoisseur Meaghan Mountford,

CAS/MFA ’03, has drawn almost everything with icing: aliens, kitchen appliances, human organs. But the author of Cookie Sensations and Sugarlicious prefers a more minimalistic approach to her sweet treats.

“Simple shapes, simple cutters, simple designs,”

she says. Her blog, “The Decorated Cookie,” launched in 2008 and gets 140,000 hits a month from bakers drawn to her whimsical cookies, painted marshmallows, and sweets on sticks.

“I say I get tired of cookies, but the ideas keep coming,” says the

Washington mother of two, who posts several times a week on her blog. “I love all the thought and creativity that goes into making a unique sweet.”

5. Superhero Cookie Bites It’s impossible to shop for some people, so I turn to cookies. These were for my superhero-fan brother.


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6. Fondant Daisy Cookie Pops While I’m iffy on the taste of fondant, I just love the look.


7. Unicorn Cookie Pops I made these for my daughter’s fourth birthday. Her unicorn obsession is something I can get behind. 8. Breakfast Cookie Bites One of my favorite decorating methods is drawing on plain, white icing with food coloring markers. I own about 100. 9. Camo Cookies I made these for my army reservist husband, friends, and family who’ve served. What they have given up for duty awes me.



10. Warm and Fuzzy Heart Cookie Pops When I came up with this cotton candy cookie, I thought they were weird. But they have been a huge hit on my blog.

Sweet on AU?

See Meaghan’s AU cookie at

5  47

must haves


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*CAS/BA ’09, event planner, J Street Group (responsible for the 2013 Pennsylvania Society Inaugural Gala), Washington, D.C. 1. Michael Kors bags are my favorite— they go with everything. 2. I always have a pair of sneakers in my bag. I work in Georgetown, so it’s hard to navigate the cobblestones in heels. 3. A woman without lipstick is like a duck without a bill. Smashbox’s “Fig” is my favorite shade. 4. I always carry fake eyelashes. Pageant girls joke that, at some point, you’ll think there’s a spider in the bottom of your bag, but it’s just fake lashes. 48 American Magazine  MAY 2013

5. As an opera singer, I keep a karaoke version of Puccini’s “O Mio Babbino Caro” in my bag, as I’m asked to perform it at least once a month. I sang it when I won Miss D.C. in 2009 and competed in Miss America in 2010—I can’t get away from that song. 6. I keep all my files, documents, and to-do lists on my iPad. I’m an MBA student, so I also use it at school. 7. I carry a teasing comb, because your hair can never be too big.

8. I carry my cell phone and a few credit cards in a Michael Kors wristlet, which doubles as an evening bag. I’m always prepared to ditch my big purse for something smaller. 9. I take the bus to work from Friendship Heights. I didn’t stray far from AU. 10. With event planning, you never know who you’re going to run into, so I always carry business cards. In D.C., everyone has a business card.

11. My best friend got married in October, and this hot pink Kate Spade wallet was my maid of honor gift. 12. If I wake up late, I can make it work with a few essentials: eyeliner, mini mascara, and powder. 13. I’m on my iPhone all day for work. I’m also on the board of two nonprofits and am executive producer of the Miss D.C. Pageant, so a phone charger is a must. 14. A Starbucks card is essential. Pumpkin spice lattes are my favorite.

AU’s volunteers help with recruiting, chapter programming, reunion planning, and more. Our ranks include student mentors

alumni board members

employers at career fairs and programs

admissions volunteers

participants in schoolbased programs alumni alliance leaders

regional chapter leaders reunion committee members young alumni chapter leaders

NON-PROFIT ORG US POSTAGE PAID BURLINGTON, VT 05401 PERMIT NO. 604 Washington, DC 20016-8002 Address Service Requested For information regarding the accreditation and state licensing of American University, please visit

THE CHALLENGE International business professor Frank DuBois uses this brain teaser to illustrate the concept of purchasing power parity. “There should be no arbitrage opportunities between the two locations,” says the Kogod professor, “but there’s a huge difference.” Can you spot the better deal?

THE QUESTION You’re traveling with your friend Raffa, a professional tennis player. He wants to buy a diamond tennis bracelet for his girlfriend in Spain. He sees a bracelet that he likes for 100,000 Swiss francs at the airport in Geneva, where he played a charity exhibition match. He’s about to buy it when you suggest that he might get a better deal in Madrid, where a financial crisis may mean better prices. You call your friend who works at the Madrid airport, and she finds the bracelet for 40,000 euros. Raffa’s plane is about to take off and there’s no time to find the exchange rate. However, you notice a copy of the International Herald Tribune, which has a list of its prices in several currencies. A copy of the paper sells for 1.5 euros or 4 Swiss francs. Should Raffa buy the bracelet in Geneva or wait until he gets to Madrid?

The details Go fact to fact

with AU’s people in the know at

Submit the correct answer to by May 31 to be entered to win a six-month subscription to Politics and Prose Bookstore’s Book-a-Month Gift Program.

Congratulations to An Almquist, CAS/MA ’04, who aced last issue’s final exam.

American magazine, May 2013