Leadership & Governance

Princeton Names Its Provost, a Constitutional Scholar, as Its Next President

Brian Wilson, Princeton U.

Christopher L. Eisgruber, provost of Princeton U., will take office as its next president on July 1.
April 21, 2013

Princeton University announced on Sunday that Christopher L. Eisgruber, a constitutional scholar who has been the institution's provost for close to nine years, would be its next president. He will take office on July 1.

Mr. Eisgruber, who is 51, will replace Shirley M. Tilghman, Princeton's first female president, who announced last fall that she would step down at the end of the academic year.

A physics major as an undergraduate at Princeton, where he earned his bachelor's degree in 1983, Mr. Eisgruber has been a member of the university faculty since 2001. He was the unanimous recommendation of the university's 17-member presidential-search committee, the university said.

"Chris Eisgruber has all of the qualities we were looking for in Princeton's next president," said Kathryn A. Hall, chair of the Board of Trustees and of the search committee. "He has keen intelligence and excellent judgment; he cares passionately about teaching and research of the highest quality; he is deeply committed to principles of excellence, equity, and integrity; and he is devoted to Princeton."

When Mr. Eisgruber joined the Princeton faculty, in 2001, he was a professor of public affairs and the director of the Program in Law and Public Affairs. He became provost in 2004, continuing to teach some courses, including a freshman seminar last fall on the Supreme Court and constitutional democracy.

Mr. Eisgruber spent two years at the University of Oxford as a Rhodes scholar, received his law degree from the University of Chicago, and served as a clerk to Justice John Paul Stevens of the U.S. Supreme Court. He also taught at the New York University Law School for more than a decade.

"As an undergraduate, faculty member, and provost, I have developed a heartfelt appreciation for Princeton's distinctive mission as a great research university with an unmatched commitment to liberal-arts education," Mr. Eisgruber said. He praised Ms. Tilghman's leadership, saying it has made Princeton "more vibrant, energetic, and inclusive than ever."

"One of Princeton's most-attractive characteristics," he added, "is its drive not only to sustain past successes but also to build new strengths in response to changing needs and opportunities."

Mr. Eisgruber is a member of several boards, including the academic advisory board of Coursera, a provider of massive open online courses, and the Board of Trustees of the Educational Testing Service. He also serves as vice chair of the Board of Trustees of Princeton University Press and chair of its executive committee.

He and his wife, Lori A. Martin, a securities litigator, have a 14-year-old son, Danny, who is a freshman at Princeton High School.