Robert Pence ’71
Robert Pence ’71

Robert Pence ’71 Confirmed as Ambassador to Finland

March 29, 2018

American University Washington College of Law (AUWCL) proudly congratulates Robert Frank Pence ’71, who has been confirmed as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Finland. Ambassador Pence was nominated to this position by President Donald J. Trump in November and confirmed by the Senate on Thursday, March 22.

 “We are delighted to congratulate Bob Pence on this esteemed and wonderful ambassadorship,” said Dean Camille Nelson. “Ambassador Pence has shown unwavering commitment to American University and Washington College of Law, from the time of his law school graduation, to the naming of our magnificent Pence Law Library, to his consistent support of our students and graduates.”

Students in front of Pence Law Library
Students in front of the Pence Law Library.

Ambassador Pence is the founder and chairman of the Board of The Pence Group, a full-service development company founded in 1977, known for developing and managing world-class shopping centers, hotels, and office buildings throughout the United States, and dedicated to sustainable development practices. The Pence Group has been responsible for over 6 million square feet of commercial development, including Stafford Marketplace in Stafford, the Dulles Expo & Conference Center in Chantilly, and two hotels in Northern Virginia. For over 30 years, the company and its affiliates have consistently been honored for the quality and vision of their projects.

Ambassador Pence is actively engaged as a board member of the Gary Sinise Foundation which supports our nation’s veterans, first responders, and their families. He has also served on the boards of The World Affairs Council, Washington D.C, George Mason University, The Kennedy Center, and the Wolf Trap Foundation.

Ambassador Pence has long been dedicated to American University, where he received his JD (1971), an M.A. in Renaissance Literature and Art (1997), and an M.A. in Literature (1999).  He served as a member of the Board of Trustees of American University from 1989-98, and a member of the Washington College of Law Dean’s Advisory Council from 2004-18. Ambassador Pence received the American University President’s Award in 2007.

Together with his wife, Suzy, Ambassador Pence endowed the naming gift to American University for the Washington College of Law Library in 2004. Today, the new Pence Law Library at the Washington College of Law’s Tenley Campus location, the new Washington College of Law location as of January 2016, occupies 2 ½ floors of the Warren Building and contains nearly 850 seats, a rare book room, and views of the AUWCL Courtyard and Tenleytown.

Ambassador Pence has been a lecturer at Georgetown University and a teaching fellow at Yale University. In addition to his degrees from American, he has a B.A. from the University of Maryland, and M.Phil. and M.A. degrees from Yale University.


In 1896, American University Washington College of Law became the first law school in the country founded by women. More than 120 years since its founding, this law school community is grounded in the values of equality, diversity, and intellectual rigor. The law school's nationally and internationally recognized programs (in clinical legal education, trial advocacy, international law, intellectual property, and health law to name a few) and dedicated faculty provide its JD, LL.M., and SJD students with the critical skills and values to have an immediate impact as students and as graduates, in Washington, DC and around the world. For more information, visit