Press Release

Association of American Colleges and Universities Changes Name to American Association of Colleges and Universities

New name recognizes the increasingly global reach and membership of the association.

Washington, DC—The Association of American Colleges and Universities today announced that it has changed its name to the American Association of Colleges and Universities. The new name recognizes the ongoing expansion of involvement in AAC&U by educators around the world and positions the association for continued growth in global membership.

“Our efforts to advance the vitality and public standing of liberal education by making quality and equity the foundations for excellence in service to democracy are strengthened and enriched by the participation of AAC&U members located outside the United States,” said AAC&U President Lynn Pasquerella. “Our new name formally recognizes this growing global involvement in the association.”

The new name and brand identity launched today are designed to highlight the expansive inclusivity that has characterized the association’s century-long history and that accounts for its distinctive role in improving educational quality and equity across the global higher education landscape.

AAC&U was founded in 1915 as the Association of American Colleges (AAC) and prioritized advocacy for the independent sector in the United States. Following clarification of a broad focus on liberal education in 1976, membership in AAC grew increasingly diverse, spanning both public and private sectors and encompassing institutions of all types and sizes. In 1995, the name was changed to the Association of American Colleges and Universities. Today, AAC&U members include higher education institutions in twenty-five countries: the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Greece, Haiti, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, Switzerland, Tanzania, Uganda, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Vietnam.

“The association’s new name acknowledges the reality that AAC&U has become a global membership organization,” said Lenore Rodicio, senior fellow in the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program and chair of the AAC&U Board of Directors. “While AAC&U members continue to represent the full institutional diversity that is the great strength of US higher education, it is simply no longer the case that our membership is limited to American colleges and universities only.”

Since 1995, the association has been known not as “AACU” but as “AAC&U,” a prominent use of the ampersand intended to emphasize the inclusive nature of its institutional membership. Now, as the American Association of Colleges and Universities, the association remains AAC&U. And to honor its history of expansive inclusivity as well as its ongoing commitment to inclusion as a core value guiding its work, AAC&U has further elevated the ampersand, making this symbol of inclusion the centerpiece of its new brand identity.

To explore the new brand identity, visit AAC&U’s newly redesigned website or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

About AAC&U

The American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) is a global membership organization dedicated to advancing the vitality and democratic purposes of undergraduate liberal education. Through our programs and events, publications and research, public advocacy and campus-based projects, AAC&U serves as a catalyst and facilitator for innovations that improve educational quality and equity and that support the success of all students. In addition to accredited public and private, two-year and four-year colleges and universities and state higher education systems and agencies throughout the United States, our membership includes degree-granting higher education institutions in more than twenty-five countries as well as other organizations and individuals. To learn more, visit