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AAU Elects University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Chancellor Robert J. Jones as Next Chair

The following is an announcement from the Association of American Universities regarding the election of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Chancellor Robert J. Jones as chair of the AAU Board of Directors:

The member presidents and chancellors of the Association of American Universities today elected University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Chancellor Robert J. Jones as chair of the AAU Board of Directors. Jones succeeds University of Southern California President Carol L. Folt, who had served as AAU’s board chair since October 2022. Princeton University President Christoper L. Eisgruber was elected to serve as vice chair.

“It is my very special honor to have been chosen to chair the AAU board,” said Chancellor Jones. “I am grateful to the leaders of our nation’s top research universities for the trust they have shown in me by their decision. We are at a defining moment in higher education. So I am very excited to take on this role as the nation and the world are looking to the leading-edge education, research, and innovation of AAU and our member institutions to shape a better future for our global society.”

As chair, Jones will help guide AAU’s work and serve as a spokesperson for the association, particularly on federal policy issues affecting research universities. He will also represent AAU in discussions with lawmakers, help develop national policy positions, and play a significant role in determining the association’s agenda during the coming year.

Jones, who previously served as vice chair of the AAU board, has been chancellor of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign since September 26, 2016. He is the first African American to hold the position. Jones previously served as president of the University at Albany – State University of New York and began his academic career as a faculty member at the University of Minnesota, where he spent 34 years and served in many administrative roles. He is a renowned crop physiologist and a professor in Illinois’ Department of Crop Sciences in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.

“I have known Chancellor Jones for more than two decades; we met when he was executive vice provost at the University of Minnesota and I was vice provost at The Ohio State University,” said AAU President Barbara R. Snyder. “He keenly understands the transformative power of higher education and the imperative for universities to continue to invent and innovate to keep up with changing times. He brings years of experience as a leader and educator in public research universities and knows well the valuable contributions universities make to our national and local economies. I look forward to collaborating with him to ensure that America’s leading research universities continue to help the United States stay globally competitive and to advance scientific and technological innovations that benefit everyone.”

Founded in 1900, the Association of American Universities is composed of America’s leading research universities. AAU’s 71 research universities transform lives through education, research, and innovation.

Our member universities earn the majority of competitively awarded federal funding for research that improves public health, seeks to address national challenges, and contributes significantly to our economic strength, while educating and training tomorrow’s visionary leaders and innovators.
AAU member universities collectively help shape policy for higher education, science, and innovation; promote best practices in undergraduate and graduate education; and strengthen the contributions of leading research universities to American society.

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