WASHINGTON, December 17, 2020 – In light of the unprecedented challenges faced by our communities in 2020, American University is recognizing alumni who have risen to address them, from Coronavirus and racial injustice, to the economic fallout of the pandemic.

“As 2020 draws to a close, AU is honoring the work of five alumni changemakers by sharing their inspirational stories that demonstrate the real impact on their communities – and on our world,” said Sylvia M. Burwell, American University President. “Since graduating from AU, and especially during this challenging year, our alumni honorees used their leadership, skills, and talents to benefit others, and we are proud to call them AU Eagles.”

The honorees were identified by a selection process led by American University’s leadership, who focused on the top issues in 2020. The 2020 Alumni on the Frontlines include:

  • Muriel Bowser, SPA/MPP ’00: Mayor of Washington, D.C. As a mayor of our nation’s capital, Bowser not only faced the pandemic head on, she also dealt with massive protests and managed challenges from the federal law enforcement agencies.
  • Mark Bucher, SPA/BA ’90: Restauranteur and owner of three Medium Rare restaurants in the Washington, D.C. area. Bucher launched the Feed the Fridge initiative to support children who are facing food insecurity due to the pandemic and provided aid to D.C. area residents who struggle in the wake of Covid-19.
  • Alexis Dobbs, CAS/BS ’14: A former AU basketball player and AU President’s Award Winner is now a Physician Assistant in Cleveland Clinic’s Covid-19 Unit where she cares for patients suffering from Covid-19.
  • Irene Glowinski, CAS/BS ’75: As a former Deputy Director of National Institutes of Health, National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Glowinski led the department that distributed grants for research that ultimately helped develop Covid-19 vaccines.
  • Deon Jones, SPA/BA ’14: A recording artist who was injured in peaceful Black Lives Matter protests in Los Angeles, Jones is a member of the Creative Council at Fair Fight, an organization founded by Stacey Abrams to end voter suppression and ensure fair elections.

“In 2020, we’ve learned some things that I’m sure we will carry through when we get to the other side of this virus,” said Mayor Bowser. “It’s going to be a real opportunity to bring our city back and be innovative while doing it, find sustainable practices, invest in ways to support our workers in a new normal, and find ways to innovate for our children who would have lost a lot this year being away from their teachers and their classrooms.”

Their compelling stories are told through a series of videos, highlighting their work and how they navigated the enormous challenges of this year.

"Our investment in the community and our awareness of the community pays dividends back to our business, which is a lesson for every business owner,” said Bucher. “You can't just assume someone else is going to do it. You need to be there for your community and, frankly, they will be there for you when things get tough. They've proven that with me and Medium Rare time and time again.”

These are just a few of the stories that 2020 has inspired. They demonstrate how AU creates a culture of service and develops leaders and changemakers in communities across the U.S. and globe.

“What American University has taught us all along is that regardless of what path you choose, that as long as your mind, your foundation, and your intention is of service, then it will be successful,” said Jones.

To watch their stories and learn more visit: go.american.edu/frontlines


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About American University

In its 127-year history, American University has established a reputation for producing change makers focused on the challenges of a changing world. AU has garnered recognition for global education, public service, experiential learning and politically active and diverse students, as well as academic and research expertise in a wide range of areas including the arts, sciences, humanities, business and communication, political science and policy, governance, law and diplomacy.

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