AAU elects Rice University President David Leebron as board chair

Rice University President David W. Leebron was elected today by the Association of American Universities (AAU) to serve as chair of its board of directors. His one-year term begins today, with the conclusion of AAU’s semiannual membership meeting.

AAU is a nonprofit organization of 62 leading research universities. Its primary missions are to advance university research and higher education and to maintain the productive partnership between research universities and the U.S. government.

David Leebron

David Leebron

“It’s a great privilege to work with Mary Sue Coleman and the extraordinary staff of the AAU to support the amazing work that takes place at our country’s most accomplished research universities,” Leebron said. “These great universities are truly building the future, and have been a driving factor in the success of our economy. We must continue to nourish the research that advances understanding of our world and our humanity and, through that knowledge, produces the scientific and social innovations that address the challenges we face.”

Leebron has served during the past year as vice chair of AAU and succeeds Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon. Dr. Michael Drake, president of The Ohio State University, was elected vice chair today.

As AAU chair, Leebron will lead all meetings of the membership and the board of directors, serve as a spokesperson for the association, represent AAU in meetings with national policymakers, help to develop national policy positions and play a significant role in determining the association’s direction during the coming year.

“David Leebron is well-prepared to be an excellent AAU chair,” said AAU President Mary Sue Coleman. “He has a deep understanding of the critical roles research universities play not only in the nation but also in their states and communities. His long experience as president of Rice and his extensive participation in AAU activities during that time make him a natural leader for the association.”

Leebron has served as president of Rice since 2004. He is a former dean of Columbia Law School and has served on the law school faculties at Columbia, New York University and UCLA. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. Earlier this month he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

About B.J. Almond

B.J. Almond is senior director of news and media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.