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Princeton names provost its 20th president

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 21, 2013 at 4:25 pm •  Published: April 21, 2013

PRINCETON, N.J. (AP) — Provost Christopher Eisgruber credits Princeton University with helping influence the way he has led his life. Now, he'll get the opportunity to influence the direction of the school.

Princeton introduced Eisgruber, its current No. 2 administrator, as its 20th president Sunday, promoting a graduate and veteran in-house administrative hand to lead the Ivy League school.

Eisgruber, a 1983 Princeton graduate, is a former Rhodes Scholar and a constitutional expert who has spent the last nine years as Princeton's provost, or chief academic and budget officer, and had always been considered among the likely contenders. He will take office July 1, succeeding Shirley Tilghman, who announced last fall she planned to step down after 12 years.

"Princeton has shaped my life ever since I first set foot on this campus 34 years ago," Eisgruber said at his introductory news conference Sunday at the university's Nassau Hall. "It is such an honor to lead this university."

Eisgruber said he would focus on several key issues, citing his commitment to creating greater "diversity and inclusivity" and stressing the importance of a liberal arts education. He also discussed how the school could use online education to reach more people.

The appointment closes out a year of exceptional turnover in the presidencies of Ivy League and other elite universities, with Yale, Brown, Dartmouth and MIT all selecting new leaders within the last 12 months. Several have chosen to go with familiar faces rather than outsiders. Yale recently named its provost, Peter Salovey, as president, and the University of Georgia also promoted its provost, Jere Morehead.

Eisgruber will be the first Princeton president who received his undergraduate degree from the university to serve as president since Robert Goheen, who served from 1957 to 1972. The next two presidents, William Bowen and Harold Shapiro, both had graduate degrees from Princeton, which has exceptionally close ties to its alumni.

Eisgruber also has a law degree from the University of Chicago, was clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens and taught at New York University Law School before joining the Princeton faculty in 2001. He became provost in 2004.

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