Private liberal arts and research-based university in Washington, D.C.
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The American University is a private research university in Washington, D.C. Its main campus spans 90 acres at the former site of Fort Gaines on Ward Circle, in the Spring Valley neighborhood in the northwest of the District. AU was chartered by an Act of Congress in 1893 at the urging of Methodist bishop John Fletcher Hurst, who sought to create an institution that would promote public service, internationalism, and pragmatic idealism. AU broke ground in 1902, opened in 1914, and admitted its first undergraduates in 1925. Although affiliated with the United Methodist Church, religious affiliation is not a criterion for admission.
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