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Three Leading Research Universities Join the Association of American Universities

The following is a statement from the Association of American Universities announcing the addition of Dartmouth College; the University of California, Santa Cruz; and the University of Utah to its membership.

The Association of American Universities today announced that Dartmouth College; the University of California, Santa Cruz; and the University of Utah have joined the association. The addition of these three leading research universities brings AAU’s membership total to 65 institutions – 63 American and two Canadian members.

“Dartmouth College; the University of California, Santa Cruz; and the University of Utah are all distinguished institutions in their own right, and we were delighted to invite them to join the ranks of AAU,” said AAU President Mary Sue Coleman. “AAU’s membership is limited to institutions at the forefront of scientific inquiry and educational excellence. These world-class institutions are a welcome addition, and we look forward to working with them as we continue to shape policy for higher education, science, and innovation.”

“Becoming a part of AAU is particularly noteworthy, as invitations to new members are rare and extended only by vote of the current membership,” noted AAU Board Chair and Indiana University President Michael McRobbie. “These institutions will help AAU’s collective mission of further strengthening the vital contributions of leading research universities to American society.”

"This is a great day for Dartmouth," said Dartmouth President Philip J. Hanlon. "AAU membership is an affirmation from our peers that we are delivering on a scholar-teacher model that provides extraordinary learning experiences for all of our students while producing research that is expanding the boundaries of knowledge and solving some of the most pressing challenges of our time. We look forward to collaborating with AAU to advance topics of great importance in higher education and to help increase the awareness of the impact of our collective research on a national stage.”

“UC Santa Cruz has long been known for the pioneering and transformational research of its faculty, students, and staff across and between disciplines. Election to the AAU is a formal acknowledgment of the power that comes from applying diverse perspectives to the world’s biggest challenges,” said University of California, Santa Cruz Chancellor Cynthia Larive. “Our research and commitment to student success are united and animated by our social justice mission, and I am proud that AAU membership follows our recent recognition for contributions to student social mobility. That this is an honor conferred by our peers makes it especially rewarding.”

“We are delighted to be invited to join AAU, the most prestigious association in higher education. AAU requires its member institutions to be engaged at the highest levels of research, scholarship, and education. Our selection as one of AAU’s newest members reflects the excellence the University of Utah has achieved in each of these areas,” said University of Utah President Ruth V. Watkins. “It is also a confirmation of the quality and caliber of our faculty and the innovative work they are doing to advance knowledge and address grand societal challenges. This will open new paths for our researchers and our institution to be at the forefront of higher education research, education, programs, and policies. Our students and our community will be the ultimate beneficiaries of these endeavors. I want to thank the association for recognizing the tremendous achievements of the University of Utah in achieving comprehensive excellence and filling its role as our state’s flagship research institution.”

Membership in AAU is by invitation only and is based on an extensive set of quantitative indicators and qualitative judgments that assess the breadth and quality of a university’s research, graduate, and undergraduate education programs.


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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