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AAU Names Barbara R. Snyder as New President

Appointment of Current Case Western Reserve University President Effective Fall 2020

Following is a statement by Association of American Universities President Mary Sue Coleman on the appointment of Case Western Reserve University President Barbara R. Snyder as new President of AAU, beginning Fall 2020.

The Association of American Universities (AAU) today announced the appointment of Barbara R. Snyder, who has served since 2007 as the president of Case Western Reserve University, as AAU’s new president effective in the fall of 2020. Snyder, whose background is in law and academia, also previously served as executive vice president and provost at The Ohio State University. She served as a member of AAU’s board of directors and is the immediate past board chair of the American Council on Education.

She will succeed Mary Sue Coleman, who has served as AAU’s president since 2016. Coleman informed the AAU board of directors that she would retire from AAU in 2020.

In her tenure at Case Western Reserve, Snyder has encouraged interdisciplinary excellence and institutional collaboration while also deepening engagement with the university’s alumni and donors. Under her leadership, Case Western Reserve quadrupled undergraduate applications and significantly improved the proportions of underrepresented minority students and international students on campus. Snyder also led the university out of the debt accumulated before she arrived and led a $1 billion fundraising campaign that ultimately raised $1.82 billion; the funds paid for increases in student support, endowed professorships, and building projects.

AAU board Chair Michael McRobbie, president of Indiana University, said Snyder was a natural choice for her new role. “As chair, I am delighted that the board selected Barbara to lead AAU into our next chapter,” he said. “She has extensive experience in reinforcing Case Western Reserve’s credentials as both a highly regarded research institution and as a place where undergraduate and graduate students alike receive a world-class education. She also understands AAU and the broader university and scientific communities well; Barbara is a perfect fit.”

AAU board Vice Chair Christina H. Paxson, president of Brown University, also praised Snyder. “Barbara has been a visionary leader at Case Western Reserve, elevating their fundraising and establishing innovative partnerships with other institutions to improve teaching, education, and research. I look forward to working with her to advance AAU’s mission of promoting America’s leading research universities.”

Snyder’s additional accomplishments at Case Western Reserve include establishing a partnership with the Cleveland Clinic to develop a 485,000-square-foot Health Education Campus, which opened last year and is home to Case Western Reserve’s medical, nursing, and dental schools. Snyder also led the university into a collaboration with the Cleveland Museum of Art to establish an innovative institute for educating and training future museum curators in both the practice and history of art.

“AAU is America’s premier university association, and it’s a great honor to help this organization build on Mary Sue Coleman’s incredible legacy,” Snyder said. “I look forward to working with the board, the leadership of our member universities, and our partners in the scientific and educational communities to ensure that America’s leading research universities remain at the forefront of the educational excellence and scientific innovation that have made America the world’s envy in higher education and science.”

McRobbie also praised Coleman. “Mary Sue has not only ensured AAU remained the nation’s premier advocate for university-based research, but has also deepened our work to improve teaching at the undergraduate level, launched new work to revolutionize PhD education, and has significantly expanded the services and value we provide to our member institutions. She and her husband Ken deserve to go into a well-earned retirement immensely proud of all they’ve done for education and scientific research in the United States.”

Snyder began her academic career as an assistant professor at Case Western Reserve’s School of Law, then joined the faculty of Ohio State’s Moritz College of Law. After serving in several leadership positions at Moritz and within the university, Snyder became OSU’s interim executive vice president and provost in 2003, moving into that role permanently in 2004. She received her bachelor’s degree from Ohio State and a law degree from the University of Chicago School of Law, where she served as executive editor of its law review.

Snyder serves on the boards of the Business-Higher Education Forum; the Greater Cleveland Partnership; Internet2; and University Circle, Inc. She is also a director of KeyCorp and Progressive Corporation. She is a member of the Ohio Business Roundtable and an elected member of the American Law Institute.

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Founded in 1900, the Association of American Universities is composed of America’s leading research universities. AAU’s 65 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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