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Throughout his experience at Moravian College, Andy Semmel balanced academics with athletics, excelling in both. His ability to work hard in various fields continued after graduation, and led to a long and adventurous career during which he has occupied many influential positions in Washington, DC. He looks back on his time at Moravian College with pride.
Semmel was always a go-getter. He was the first person in his family to go to college, and had to balance his academics and athletics in order to get the financial aid that he needed to attend college. Moravian offered him a scholarship based on his academic merit and his success playing football and baseball. Although he had other options during his college search, he made his decision to attend Moravian after meeting with Rocco Calvo, Moravian’s football coach at the time. Semmel states that Moravian had the right combination of academic and athletic opportunity that he was looking for in a college. “Moravian fit my needs better than any other place. I wanted to play sports and be a conscientious student. Moravian fit the bill.”
During his time at Moravian, Semmel continued the hard work that allowed him to attend the college in the first place. As a government major, he excelled academically and was inducted into the Triangle Honors Society. He played both football and baseball for all four of his years at Moravian. His achievement on the gridiron and the baseball diamond earned him a spot in the Moravian College Athletics Hall of Fame and in a Chapter of the State of Pennsylvania Athletics Hall of Fame. In addition to his success in academics and athletics, Semmel served as president of Moravian’s Student Government. During his tenure, he reorganized the entire student government and worked to have the requirement for weekly attendance at the chapel ended.
After graduating, Semmel continued his education, eventually becoming a college professor himself. He attended graduate school at the University of Ohio and got his Ph.D. at the University of Michigan, after which he joined the faculty at the University of Cincinnati. During a sabbatical he discovered his future career in Washington.
While in Washington, he took a temporary position at the Pentagon, where he competed with others to become head of a policy office there. When he won the job, he left his tenured position at the University. After leaving the Pentagon, he became a professional staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and the Senior Foreign Policy Advisor for Senator Richard Lugar. He then was the first Executive Director of the Congressionally created U.S. China Commission, after which he served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Non-Proliferation in the State Department.
Semmel currently works as the head of his AKS Consulting Firm in Washington, which represents numerous top clients including the Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Moravian honored Semmel for his outstanding achievements as an alumnus with the prestigious Comenius Award in 1996.
In addition to his career successes, Semmel continues to live the Moravian Promise in the work he does to give back to his community. He volunteers as a mentor to students, gives talks and speeches, and participates in a variety of policy-related panels several times each month. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Partnership for Secure America (PSA), a non-government organization that works to promote bi-partisan solutions to foreign policy problems. He also is an active participant in a program that feeds the hungry and homeless in Arlington, Va.
Semmel says that Moravian allowed him to pursue his passions for academics and athletics, gave him a great education that prepared him for graduate school and allowed him to build great relationships and friendships that last to this day. “Going to college was an earthshaking experience for me,” he says. One that continues to this day. He finds that whenever someone looks over his resume, that person is always fascinated by Semmel’s place in Moravian’s Athletics Hall of Fame.
"Moravian fit my needs better than any other place. I wanted to play sports and be a conscientious student. Moravian fit the bill."