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AAU President to Speak on Saving Public Universities

Hunter R. Rawlings III, president of the Association of American Universities, will speak at the University of Virginia on Oct. 15 at 4 p.m. in Minor Hall’s auditorium on the “The Plight of the Public University in the Age of Accountability ... and What Can Be Done About It.”

His talk, free and open to the public, is sponsored by the U.Va. Institute of the Humanities and Global Cultures in the College of Arts & Sciences and is part of the institute’s initiative on “The Future of the University.”

Rawlings became president of the Association of the American Universities in June 2011. A classics scholar, he has been a longtime leader among university presidents. Prior to the AAU position, he served as president of Cornell University from 1995 to 2003, and as interim president for one year between 2005 and 2006. He served as president of the University of Iowa from 1988 to 1995.

A national spokesperson for higher education, Rawlings has served as chair of both the Association of American Universities and the Ivy Council of Presidents. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and he serves on the boards of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, Haverford College and the National Academy Foundation.

After the June leadership crisis at U.Va., Rawlings wrote on a Huffington Post blog in July that U.Va. was not the only public research university facing “financial and ideological tensions that threaten serious harm to the world’s greatest system of public higher education.”

His opinion piece discussed a report released this summer, “Research Universities and the Future of America,” which describes 10 actions needed to ensure the long-term strength of the nation’s research universities. Rawlings was a member of the National Research Council’s Committee on Research Universities, formed at the request of Congress to produce its report.

“The problems facing universities require action by government, by the business community and by the universities themselves,” Rawlings wrote in the Huffington Post. “Universities are not businesses, but they must be run more efficiently. They are not vocational schools, but they must send their students into the world prepared to be both strong citizens and capable workers. And they must continue to be centers of discovery and scholarship.”

The Association of American Universities comprises 61 leading public and private research universities in the United States, as well as two in Canada. The association’s U.S. universities perform nearly 60 percent of university-based research funded by the federal government and award more than one-half of U.S. doctoral degrees.

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