|At the Founders' Dinner celebrating the successful completion of AUC's Comprehensive Capital Campaign|
|During the inauguration ceremony marking the start of his president at AUC|
After seven years at AUC, President David D. Arnold will be remembered for his unique accomplishments
"There is no one thing that a university president must do well; this is a job that requires several skills –– providing educational and organizational leadership and articulating a compelling vision of where the institution is going in a way that galvanizes the community in that direction.”
Those were the words of AUC President David D. Arnold when he first came to AUC in 2003. With the primary aim of moving to the New Cairo campus, Arnold geared the AUC community in that direction, facing the challenges with organizational wisdom and a cool calm. “David is one of the most effective managers I’ve ever seen,” said AUC Provost Lisa Anderson. “Although he had to move things along on a variety ofdimensions and in a variety of domains, he never lost focus and never blinked, and that concentration and fortitude ultimately led to the successful completion of the new campus project, which has transformed the entire institution. People will look back in 100 years and say: That’s the president who built the campus.”
After seven years as president, Arnold will be concluding his service at AUC at the end of December 2010. He will be taking up a new position as president of The Asia Foundation, a nonprofit organization supporting programs in Asia that help improve governance, law and civil society; women’s empowerment; economic reform and development; and international relations. “The past seven years have been an extremely rewarding experience, both personally and professionally, and both Sherry and I will always treasure our attachment to AUC and the wonderful friends and colleagues with whom I have been privileged to work,” said Arnold. “We also take great pride in the accomplishments we have achieved as a community over the past several years.”
During his tenure, Arnold oversaw the construction of the university’s new campus in New Cairo and the move of the undergraduate and graduate programs there in 2008. He also spearheaded the university’s $125 million fundraising campaign, the largest in AUC history. “I came to AUC with a clear mandate to build the new campus, complete the capital campaign, and position AUC on a trajectory of academic distinction and excellence,” Arnold noted. “As I reflect on the progress that AUC has made, I feel that this mandate has been largely fulfilled. We have settled into our spectacular new facilities in New Cairo, the campaign exceeded its goal by nearly 30 percent and our academic programs are well positioned to ensure that AUC is recognized as a globally significant institution of higher education.”
The university also witnessed a steady growth in enrollment over the past years, and numerous academic initiatives were introduced. These include the establishment of three new academic schools; new undergraduate and graduate programs in the sciences and engineering, including the newly launched PhD program; as well as new graduate programs in law, education, gender and refugee studies, and digital journalism. In addition, the university’s continuing education programs have expanded by more than 50 percent.
Arnold also initiated a number of student-oriented services, such as the opening of the Student Service Center as a one-stop shop to consolidate all enrollment procedures in one place and the initiation of the First-Year Experience program to familiarize incoming freshmen with AUC. Other initiatives that contributed to the advancement of AUC as an academic institution include strengthening academic integrity and making it a key part of university culture, revamping the Core Curriculum and bringing in postdoctoral fellows from prominent universities around the world to teach the program, increasing the publicservice component in academic courses, as well as achieving international accreditation for AUC’s professional programs.
“There have been tremendous strides and progress at AUC over the past years, not only in terms of the new campus and its advanced facilities, but in improving and strengthening AUC as an academic institution,” Arnold said. “It has been a team effort; no president is able to do these things on his or her own. It requires broad-based support from within the institution to make continuous improvements and progress, and I’ve been fortunate to have that kind of support and cooperation.”
During Arnold’s time at AUC, the university also dramatically increased its partnerships with prominent universities around the world, including Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge and the University of Pennsylvania. AUC was the only university chosen in the region to partner with the recently established King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia, where it is collaborating on research in desert development technology, nanotechnology and Red Sea marine ecology. Highlighting the importance of such initiatives, Arnold noted, “On a global scale, higher education will increasingly be comprised of networks, not individual institutions. AUC is uniquely well positioned to be part of different networks of higher education, whether it is in the science and technology arena as we have seen with KAUST, in the business arena where we have been developing joint programs and executive education offerings with places like the Wharton School and the Kellogg School of Management, or in the global affairs and public policy arena where we are working with other leading public policy schools around the world. These relationships and collaborations strengthen AUC as an institution because they bring in resources and expertise that are truly global.”
Committed to providing educational opportunities to a diverse pool of students, AUC offers a wide range of scholarships, including the Public School Scholarship Fund and the Palestinian Scholarship Fund. Under Arnold’s tenure, new scholarships and fellowships were created including the Nadhmi Auchi Young Arab Leaders Fellowship Program, which provides training to a group of young leaders who can go on to fulfill public-service roles in the Arab world; an endowed professorship in comparative religion established by the renowned Saudi businessman
Abdulhadi Taher with the aim of increasing students’ knowledge about the different world religions and promoting tolerance among adherents of different faiths; as well as the Leadership for Education and Development (LEAD) program, which began in 2004 and is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Egyptian Ministry of International Cooperation. LEAD offers full scholarships to two top public-school students –– one male and one female –– from each of Egypt’s 29 governorates. Similar opportunities for students in the Arab region were added with the Tomorrow’s Leaders Scholarship Program, co-funded by the U.S. State Department’s Middle East Partnership Initiative, which provides scholarships for students from the Middle East and North Africa. “LEAD is a terrific opportunity for some of the best and brightest students from Egypt’s governorates to have a chance to study at an outstanding institution like AUC,” Arnold explained. “It’s a life-changing opportunity for them as individuals, but it has also been an extremely important and positive development for the university. I continually hear from faculty members how much they enjoy having LEAD students in their classes, as they are very bright, engaged, focused and determined to succeed in whatever they do. These are the future leaders that Egypt and the region need.”
One of the most important facets of Arnold’s legacy at AUC was working openly and actively with all members of the university community. That included starting the tradition of university-wide forums to give regular news and updates about AUC and to recognize distinguished faculty and staff members, as well as attending alumni gatherings around the world, student activities and faculty meetings. “To be successful, any university president has to be engaged with stakeholders, whether those are alumni, parents, students, faculty or donors,” Arnold said. “Members of the community need to hear from the president what the directions and priorities for the university are, and equally important, is for me to hear from these various constituents what their issues and concerns are. Communication is a twoway street, and I feel it is an important part of my job to be a good listener and do the best job that I can of telling AUC’s story and making sure people have a sense of where we’re going.”
Accompanying Arnold during visits to alumni and friends in different countries was his wife, Sherry Arnold, who also played a leading role in the development of the university’s daycare facility, Caring for the Children of AUC Center, which primarily serves the children of faculty and staff members. Active in education for 25 years, Arnold helped register the center as a non-governmental organization when she came to Egypt in 2003 and was instrumental in setting up and customizing the daycare site at AUC New Cairo. She also served as educational consultant and chair of the center’s board of directors. “When visiting alumni and friends in different parts of the world, the personal attention David and Sherry paid to everyone was incredible,” said Mary Iskander ’76, senior adviser to the president. “They were constantly engaged and showed tremendous respect for different cultures. They made everybody love and support AUC.