Founders Day is one of American University’s most enduring traditions. It was first celebrated on February 21, 1931 with a banquet and pageant sponsored by the Women’s Guild of the University. There were over 200 guests and $5,000 was raised for the Guild’s scholarship fund. For AU’s golden jubilee in 1943, AU Professor Merritt Claire Batchelder wrote The Founders: An Historical Pageant which was performed on Founders Day. Over the years, the event has grown to a week-long series of activities including dinners, convocations, and musical and sporting events. AU’s eighth President, Hurst Anderson, was inaugurated on Founders Day in 1953 and major celebrations were held as part of AU’s 75th anniversary (1968) and Centennial (1993).
The Founders Day Ball which is organized by the Student Government in conjunction with the Residence Hall Association and the Graduate Leadership Council is one of the signature events of modern Founders Day. This year’s ball will be held on February 21st at the National Air and Space Museum which continues the recent trend of holding the ball in prominent city locations.