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The Association of American Universities elected Penn President Amy Gutmann to a one-year term as vice chair on Tuesday.

Credit: Jonathan Meter

Penn President Amy Gutmann was elected chair of the Association of American Universities on Tuesday, placing her at a vantage point to vocalize and advocate for current issues in higher education.

The AAU, a nonprofit organization comprised of 62 leading United States and Canadian research universities, elected Gutmann as chair at its semiannual meeting in Washington, D.C.

Gutmann’s one-year term as chair, which begins today, follows a year as vice-chair of the AAU.

As chair, Gutmann will represent the AAU in meetings with policymakers to lobby for important issues in education, such as research and funding. Gutmann is already a leading advocate for issues such as financial aid and educational engagement.

“It is an honor to assume leadership of the AAU at a time when our nation, and, indeed, the world are in ever greater need of the creative knowledge and innovative discoveries produced by America’s research universities,” Gutmann said in a statement. “I look forward to working with our partner institutions as we constructively address the most important issues confronting higher education today.”

Penn is one of 14 universities that founded the AAU in 1900.

As a member of the AAU, Gutmann has advocated against gun violence and worked to diminish the nation’s “innovation deficit” by closing the gap between needed and actual investments in higher education and research.

Over the past year, Gutmann and Cornell President David Skorton represented the Ivy League on the AAU executive board.

Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon will serve as vice-chair for the 2014-2015 term, filling Gutmann’s former position.

Gutmann succeeded President of the University of Texas at Austin Bill Powers as chair.

“We are very pleased that Amy Gutmann will serve as our chair for the coming year,” AAU President Hunter Rawlings said in a statement. “She is extraordinarily articulate in explaining the value of research universities to communities and the nation. Moreover, she has demonstrated the kind of leadership for Penn and for the city of Philadelphia that serves as an example for all of our universities as they seek to fulfill their missions of undergraduate and graduate education, groundbreaking research, economic development and community service.”

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that the Association of American Universities was founded in 1990. It was founded in 1900.

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