WASHINGTON, D.C. [Brown University] — The members of the Association of American Universities, an organization composed of America’s leading research universities, elected Brown University President Christina H. Paxson as chair of its board of directors on Tuesday, Oct. 27.
As chair, Paxson will help to guide AAU’s work and serve as a spokesperson for the association, particularly on federal policy issues affecting research universities. She will represent AAU in discussions with lawmakers, assist in developing national policy positions, and play a significant role in determining the association’s agenda during the coming year.
“This is a moment of significant disruption in higher education, and engagement with federal lawmakers and policymakers regarding the impact of research, education and scholarship is increasing in critical importance,” Paxson said. “I look forward to working with Barbara Snyder, AAU staff and other AAU presidents to further the ability of research institutions to drive discovery that finds cures, saves lives and fuels innovation that drives economic growth across the country."
Paxson’s election marks the first time AAU has had both a woman president — Snyder, who began in the role in 2020 after serving as president of Case Western Reserve University — and board chair simultaneously. Paxson succeeds Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie, who recently announced his retirement and had served as AAU chair since July 2019. University of Pittsburgh President Patrick D. Gallagher was elected to serve as vice chair.
“President Paxson’s experience as an economist and her expertise in public health make her particularly well-suited to help lead AAU during this time,” Snyder. “Her position as a leader of a large, diverse university shows her keen understanding of the role research universities play in educating the next generation of leaders and scholars while transforming the economies of the world, the nation, and the cities and towns they serve.”
Paxson has served as Brown University’s 19th president and a professor of economics and public policy since July 1, 2012. Under her leadership, Brown has fortified its standing as a leading research university known for its excellence and innovation in undergraduate education, its transformational vision in fueling economic development through community and government partnerships, and its commitment to inclusion and access.
Previously, she was dean of the Princeton School of International and Public Affairs and a professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University. Paxson became a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2017 and has previously served as vice chair of the AAU board. She has served as vice president of the American Economic Association, is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is vice chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s board of directors.
Founded in 1900, the AAU is composed of 65 of America’s leading research universities dedicated to transforming lives through education, research and innovation. 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.