UC Riverside joins Association of American Universities (AAU)

June 1, 2023
Kim A. Wilcox
June 1, 2023

Dear Campus Community,
I write today to share that the University of California, Riverside, has been invited to join the Association of American Universities (AAU). Membership in the AAU is highly selective, and the association includes the nation’s most outstanding institutions of higher education. 
Achieving the profile of an AAU member institution was first articulated as a goal in 2010, as part of the UCR 2020: Path to Preeminence strategic plan.  In working towards this aspiration, we systematically focused our campus efforts in three key areas.
First among them was research prominence and faculty excellence. The campus added more than 200 faculty members, which today include two Nobel Laureates, 17 National Academy Members, two members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Governing Board, four National Book Award finalists, three Guggenheim Fellows, and one former Poet Laureate.  Our research activity has also grown substantially, from $135M to $200M in total expenditures; and the number of PhD and graduate students have increased from 2,664 to 3,906.
Second, we focused on student success with one of the most diverse student bodies at any Research 1 (R1) institution in the country. In 2008, UCR became the first UC campus to be recognized as a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), and we have since attained status as an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution (AANAPISI).  Graduation rates increased by more than 20 percentage points, and each year, we graduate more Pell Grant-eligible (or low income) students than all of the Ivy League universities, combined. 
Third, the campus has been strategic in regard to our communications. We purposefully told the UCR story both to burnish our reputation, but also to educate America about what a 21st Century university should be.  We are proud of the role UCR has played in reshaping America’s sense of what to expect from great public universities.
AAU membership represents the culmination of our collective efforts, and bestows many new opportunities for the campus.  Membership provides UCR a voice at the table in Washington DC, where the future of American higher education will be determined, and billions in federal dollars will be allocated.  Additionally, membership facilitates important new pathways for collaboration in research, creative activity, and joint advocacy across AAU public and private institutions.
Every student, staff person, and faculty member should take pride in this important milestone in UCR’s history.  Your commitment and tireless efforts have led to this rare achievement, and I remain grateful to work alongside you.