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Friday, April 21, 2017

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Christopher L. Eisgruber named 20th president of Princeton University

Christopher L. Eisgruber speaks during an April 21 media conference following his appointment as Princeton University's 20th president, effective July 1. Read more.

Video Closed Captions

KATHRYN HALL: Again, the board
could not be happier with this

outcome, and enthusiastically
voted today for Chris.


I could not be happier
with this outcome.


be here and happy to have a

chance to talk to all of you.

I especially hope that the two
Princeton reporters who were

camped out by my recycle bin--


--are able to be here.

That was a lot of work, and I'm
sorry we weren't able to

alert you with big
bumps in advance.


responsibility to play
by the rules.

But it is a great joy for me
to accept this appointment.

I do want to start by thanking
the Board of Trustees and the

search committee for their
confidence in me.

And to thank, again, my friend
and mentor, Shirley Tillman

whose extraordinary leadership
has left this university in a

stronger position than
it has been in at any

point in its history.

This university has shaped my
life ever since I set food on

this campus as a freshman
34 years ago.

And that time as a student and
then as an alumnus and as a

faculty member has given me a
heartfelt appreciation for

Princeton's very special

I include among these--

and admit here to some bias, but
I think most of you in the

room at least will agree with
me on every single word of

this-- that we have the best
alumni in the world and the

most cohesive and collegial
campus community of any major

research university.

But most importantly of all,
this university aims like no

other to be simultaneously a
great research university and

the world's best liberal
arts college.

And we insist on what I consider
to be the audacious

belief that these two things
are not simply two equally

desirable goals, but rather two
complimentary parts of a

single ideal.

Over the last fours decades,
beginning especially with the

Goheen administration, Princeton
has added to these

another important commitment
that I think now is equally

defining of us, a commitment
to greater

inclusivity and access.

That commitment has many
manifestations including our

unsurpassed financial aid
program and I think we've come

a long way.

But we also know that this is
an area where we have more

work to do.

A place at Princeton is a gift,
one that can transform

the life of any student, faculty
member, or other

scholar who was lucky enough
to receive it.

And we have an obligation to
ensure that this gift is fully

available to the entire range
of people who can

benefit from it.

Not surprisingly,--

and Katy Hall and her remarks
alluded to this--

the education that we offer at
Princeton is getting a lot of

public attention these days.

This is an exceptional time
here at Princeton.

It's an exceptional time
in higher education.

On the one hand, the places
that we offer at this

university are more sought
after than at

any previous point.

On the other hand, we see people
in the major newspapers

of the country and elsewhere
questioning the cost of higher

education and sometimes even
wondering whether liberal arts

education is worth it.

Princeton thrives on challenges
and I have no doubt

that we will thrive in response
to these challenges.

But to do so we're going to have
to ask ourselves a series

of tough questions over
the years to come.

So how can we ensure that the
gift of a Princeton education

is accessible and beneficial
to the greatest

possible range of people?

How can we ensure that our
research addresses the

questions that matter most to
this nation and to the world?

What can we do to fully engage
every graduate student and

every undergraduate whom we are
lucky enough to have on

this campus?

What does the advent of online
education mean to Princeton?

And how do we wish to
participate in it?

How can we cooperate with and
assist other universities and

colleges that share our
scholarly ideals and mission

but face severe financial
or political pressures?

One a more local level, I hope
that we can find ways to

strengthen the university's
civic partnership with the

town of Princeton and
surrounding communities.

We'll say that Lori, Danny, and
I-- and Lori and Danny are

here with us this afternoon--

Lori and Danny and I moved to
Princeton even before I joined

the university faculty and we're
very proud to call this

community are home.

I look forward to working
together with Mayor Lembert

and her colleagues in
the years ahead.

I think the last time that
Mayor Lembert and I

collaborated on problems it
was when we were helping

parents in the same nursery
school classroom.

That was a challenge.

And I look forward to working
with her on a very different

set of challenges in
the years ahead.

All of this is obviously going
to require a lot of

conversation and discussion.

Let me say I regard that
as a very good thing.

People in my academic field of
constitutional law debate this

old chestnut of a question
about whether or not the

Constitution is a
living thing.

Whatever you think about that
I'm sure of this, Princeton

traditions are living things.

They are constantly being
renewed, refreshed,

reinvigorated, and recreated by
a group of faculty, staff,

students, alumni, and friends
who are drenches in every

imaginable shade of orange
and who care about this

institution like no other.

I'm going to conclude where I
began by saying that I am so

honored and so happy by the
opportunity to lead the

Princeton community as it writes
the next chapter in

this university's extraordinary

I'm thrilled to accept
this appointment.

Thank you.


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