The University of South Florida has accepted an invitation to join the Association of American Universities, a prestigious group of 71 leading research institutions in the United States and Canada.
According to a news release, USF is the first public university in Florida to be invited to join the AAU in nearly 40 years and joins the University of Florida, which was invited in 1985, as the two institutions from the State University System of Florida to be AAU members. The five other schools that were invited to join the AAU are Arizona State University, George Washington University, the University of California at Riverside, the University of Miami and the University of Notre Dame.
"The University of South Florida is honored to accept an invitation to become an AAU member and join the most prestigious association in higher education,” USF President Rhea Law states in the release. “This is an historic and momentous achievement for USF … when considering we were founded in 1956, to now officially be recognized by our peers as one of America’s leading research universities is a shining example of our university community’s determination, innovative spirit and relentless pursuit of excellence. Reaching this milestone only strengthens our ambition to improve lives and positively shape the future of our society."
Prior to USF and the five other schools joining, the release states, only four universities have been invited to join in the past decade. USF has been working toward the goal of AAU membership for 15 years.
“Receiving an invitation to join the Association of American Universities is one of the most significant accomplishments in University of South Florida history,” USF Board of Trustees Chairman Will Weatherford states in the release. “To be asked by our peers to join such a highly regarded group of the top research universities is a credit to our students, faculty, staff, alumni and other supporters. Having an AAU institution located in Tampa Bay will have a major impact on our region and the state of Florida for generations to come.”