Giving Back to AU

Penny Pagano, CAS '65Learn More About This Topic

Penny Pagano

I like to think of American University as my anchor. Since graduating from CAS in 1965 with a focus on journalism, the university has had a continuing influence on my life. It is my pleasure to share how meaningful these AU experiences have been to me.

My time at AU instilled in me a commitment to civic engagement and community service that continues today. After years of putting my AU degree to use as a journalist, I worked for the District of Columbia City Council and served on the city’s Comprehensive Plan Task Force. Through my expanding network, I returned to AU in 2008 as the university’s Director of Community and Local Government Relations.

In this role, I was part of the university’s planning efforts for a new 10-year master plan that received city zoning approval for major changes to the campus, including new residence halls, a new technology and innovation center, and a new law school on AU’s Tenley campus. It is exciting to see the university expand its potential and be an integral part of the city and our local community.

Working at AU also reignited my passion for involvement with my alma mater. Since retiring, I’ve enjoyed serving as a member of the AU Alumni Board and the University Library Council. Currently, I’m co-chair of our new and thriving AU Women’s Network.

My increased volunteer involvement has instilled in me the importance of, and need for, philanthropy, along with the desire to help provide others the experiences I’ve had. This has inspired me to establish an endowed scholarship for journalism and communications students at AU. I have also named AU as a beneficiary in my estate plan to enhance this scholarship for the future. Initially, I was uncertain of how best to turn my dreams into action. The support and guidance of AU’s Office of Development, and consultation with my financial advisors, allowed me to identify the means to accomplish even more than I hoped.

I encourage my fellow Eagles to consider your own legacy at AU and encourage you to have gift planning conversations. Generations of AU students to come will benefit greatly from our shared commitment to our alma mater’s future.

What Will Be Your AU Legacy?

You can follow in Penny’s footsteps and turn your passion for AU into a commitment to the university’s future. Contact Seth D. Speyer at 202-885-3411 or to begin a conversation.

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