Fifty-six United States and two Canadian universities with strong research programs constitute the 92-year-old AAU's membership.
The institutions, about half public and half private, are represented by their chief executive officers. Based in Washington, D.C., AAU exerts considerable influence on government policies toward university research, both through direct lobbying and through respected studies of pivotal issues.
Pings, chosen by AAU's executive committee for a five-year term, is expected to carry forward departing president Robert Rosenzweig's well-regarded 10-year stewardship of the association. Rosenzweig is seen as having successfully refocused AAU's mission as a champion of these universities, substantially enhancing the organization's profile with Congress and the White House.
"The AAU is spoken about sometimes lovingly and sometimes...