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Princeton Professor, Alumnus Named Next University Provost

Matthew Hersh

Princeton University has named Professor Christopher Eisgruber to succeed Amy Guttman as its next provost. In an announcement made Monday, University officials said the board of trustees had acted on the recommendation of President Shirley Tilghman and approved the appointment of the 42 year-old director of the University's program in law and public affairs.

A member of Princeton's undergraduate class of 1983, Professor Eisgruber will take the place of Professor Guttman, who last month announced that she would leave her spot at the University to assume her new position as president of the University of Pennsylvania.

Having been both a Princeton student and faculty member, Professor Eisgruber said his primary objective now is to learn how to work with faculty and students from this new perspective.

"For the next year, I'm going to learn more about the University," he said in an interview Monday. "But there's a lot that I don't know about the job I'm going into, so I'm going to spend a lot of time listening to people."

As provost, Professor Eisgruber will serve as the University's second-ranking official and, in the absence of the president, its senior officer. He will oversee the University's academic programming and chair the University's Priority Committee, which makes annual recommendations to the president regarding the upcoming year's operating budget.

Aside from getting acclimated to his new post, Professor Eisgruber said the two goals he plans to achieve as provost are "responsible stewardship for the University's assets" and "effective support to the president's leadership."

Professor Eisgruber joined the University faculty in 2001 to teach at the Woodrow Wilson School, the University Center for Human Values and the Department of Politics, and to direct the Program in Law and Public Affairs. In the 2002-2003 academic year, he served as the acting director of the Program in Ethics and Public Affairs.

As director, Professor Eisgruber sponsors law-related courses and law-related research, and integrates the multiple disciplines that are concerned with that research. He has taught three freshman seminars on the Supreme Court and Constitutional Democracy, an undergraduate course on law and public policy, and graduate courses including "Anti-terrorism, Intelligence, and the Law," and "International Human Rights and Democratic Legitimacy."

Professor Eisgruber could not point to the deciding factor that led the University to choose him for the provost spot, but he said the decision was most likely difficult in light of the other qualified candidates for the position.

"It's hard for me to speculate, but I feel flattered and lucky to be chosen because I know that there are many outstanding members of this faculty and this community who I know would do a terrific job," he said.

The professor is the author of Constitutional Self-Government, and co-author of a book manuscript tentatively titled Equal Liberty: Religious Freedom and the Constitution. He is also the author or co-author of three dozen other articles in books and academic journals and has testified before the U.S. House and Senate on religious freedom issues.

Professor Eisgruber will be the University's 11th provost since the position was established in 1966.

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