Tilghman assumes new role as AAU chair

by Cass Cliatt

President Tilghman has been named chair of the Association of American Universities (AAU), a nonprofit organization representing 60 of the nation’s leading public and private research universities, as well as two major universities in Canada.

Tilghman, who had served as vice chair for the past year, assumed the one-year position Oct. 21. She took over from Graham Spanier, president of Pennsylvania State University.

AAU addresses issues that are important to research-intensive universities, such as funding for research, graduate education and research policy. The organization’s recent activities have included a focus on issues related to college costs and the role of university endowments in sustaining the country’s leadership in research. Tilghman participated in a roundtable discussion on endowment spending Sept. 8 on Capitol Hill on behalf of Princeton and as vice chair of AAU.

Tilghman has served as a member of the association’s executive committee since October 2003. As the AAU’s new chair, she will represent the association in its efforts to strengthen the nation’s research universities and maintain productive partnerships between them and the federal government, as well as with international institutions.

“American universities are among the finest in the world, and it is critical that we sustain and enhance their capacities to educate students, to engage in research, discovery and innovation, and to serve their communities, states and regions across the country and abroad,” Tilghman said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues at all the AAU member universities, as well as with colleagues at the other higher education associations that represent America’s colleges and universities in Washington.”

The AAU member universities in the United States award more than half of all the country’s doctoral degrees, with 55 percent of those awarded in the sciences and engineering.