In 1989, Arthur Rosenthal, then Director at Harvard University Press, took the floor during the AAUP Annual Business Meeting to deliver an encomium for Maud Wilcox, Harvard’s retiring Editor-in Chief. It was both a thoughtful and an unprecedented gesture. It inspired several members of the Association’s board to create a way to formally recognize the achievements of people in the community who were not press directors and who had nevertheless made significant contributions to scholarly publishing, as Maud Wilcox had done.
And so the Constituency Award was born, first given to Naomi Pascal (Editor-in-Chief, University of Washington Press) at the Annual Meeting in 1991. Pascal had served on a number of committees, was a vigorous First Amendment champion, and was one of the principal organizers of the then-annual Western Presses regional meeting. The next year the award went to Harry Van Ierssel (CFO, University of Toronto Press), who had systematized the Annual Statistics program in the early ‘80s and who continued to prepare them until Kim Schmelzinger took them over in 2008. The AAUP Operating Statistics have long been considered the gold standard for publishing industry statistics, thanks to his work.The Constituency Award Honor Roll is a distinguished one. In its original conception and through its history, the Constituency Award is only partly given for the work honorees have done for and through the Association. That is a significant factor, but not a necessary one. The Association believes it is important for AUPresses as a community to thank people who do good work for the common good of scholarly publishing.
The AUPresses Constituency Award continues to honor staff at member presses who have demonstrated active leadership and service to the association and the university press community. It is awarded each year at the Annual Meeting.
The AUPresses Constituency Award has been presented to an individual from within the AUPresses community since 1991. Nominees and recipients have served the Association in many capacities, and we are deeply remain grateful for their contributions and for the participation of all Association volunteers. Going forward, to better align with the Association’s focus on advocating for the collective work of the membership, at its October 2020 meeting the Board of Directors decided to suspend issuing the annual Constituency Award and instead prioritize our resources on the Stand UP Award, recognizing individuals from outside the Association who advocate on behalf of University Presses.