The Presidents' Trust

The Presidents’ Trust consists of presidents from all sectors of higher education committed to advocating for the vision, values, and practices that connect liberal education with the needs of individual students and our democracy.

The Trust provides an opportunity for presidents of AAC&U member institutions to participate in important discussions and debates in higher education and collaborate on strategies to build public trust in the value of higher education.

The goals and focus of the Presidents’ Trust are inspired by AAC&U’s mission to advance quality and equity in higher education and are guided by the LEAP framework Principles of Excellence for an undergraduate educational experience that is grounded in essential learning outcomes, high-impact practices, inclusive excellence, and authentic assessment of student learning.

The role of Trust members is to engage with key campus and external stakeholders about the core purposes and values of liberal education, and to provide leadership for advancing reforms in educational practice both on campus and with other groups and organizations with which they are affiliated.

Current Trust members

Benefits of Trust Membership

  • A forum for engaging in national conversations about the core values that motivate our leadership and the compelling issues that present both challenges and opportunities for our institutions
  • Opportunities to provide thought leadership and/or highlight important programs and work on campus through AAC&U meetings, publications, and online and social media channels
  • An annual seminar focused on addressing critical issues facing presidents, their institutions, and communities and providing actionable strategies for engaging in the national higher education landscape
  • Regular (monthly) communications that share key resources, thought leadership, updates on advocacy initiatives, and other important information relevant to college and university presidents in advancing their own leadership and advocacy efforts
  • A confidential and personal support network and sounding board
  • An opportunity to collaboratively rebuild public trust in higher education and give voice to one’s personal commitment to the values of liberal education, inclusive excellence, diversity and equity, and the mission of higher education to serve democracy and the public good

Membership in the Presidents’ Trust

Membership in the Presidents’ Trust is open to all chief executive officers of AAC&U institutional members.

Dues for membership in the Trust are assessed on an annual basis and are based on the same data points (FTE and E&G) as institutional membership. Dues are billed in the spring for an academic year membership that begins on July 1.

For more information about the Presidents’ Trust membership, please contact Bethany Zecher Sutton, Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to the President ( / 202-884-7401).

Resources for Campus Leaders Crafting Messages in Response to Issues of Racial and Social Justice

How Presidents' Trust Members are Making the Case for Liberal Education