Durkee to succeed Wright as vice president and secretary

Robert K. Durkee, Princeton University's vice president for public affairs, will succeed Thomas H. Wright as vice president and secretary of the University when Wright retires, effective Jan. 1, 2004. Durkee also will retain his current oversight of the University's public affairs activities.

Wright, a member of the Princeton class of 1962, joined the administration in July 1972 as general counsel. Two years later he also was named secretary of the University. In 1990 he gave up the responsibilities of general counsel and was promoted to the position of vice president and secretary. In this capacity he serves as a senior adviser to the president, provides administrative support for the Board of Trustees and oversees the official convocations of the University such as Commencement. In recent years, Wright also has supervised the offices of the general counsel and the vice president for campus life. Effective with his retirement, those offices will report directly to the president.

Durkee, a member of the Princeton class of 1969, joined the administration in the spring of 1972 as assistant to the president and, after a year on leave to serve as executive assistant to the president of the Washington, D.C.-based Association of American Universities, was appointed vice president for public affairs in 1978. In this capacity he oversees the offices of the Alumni Council, communications, community and state affairs and government affairs.

The trustees elected Durkee to succeed Wright at their regularly scheduled Sept. 19 meeting. They also designated Wright as vice president and secretary emeritus, effective upon his retirement.

"There is no way that I could adequately express all that Tom Wright has meant to this University or to the three presidents and more than 180 trustees he has served so capably during his tenure," said President Shirley M. Tilghman. "His devotion to Princeton, his superb judgment and his commitment to the highest standards of excellence have shaped every major decision and action this University has taken for more than three decades."

"While I am sorry to see Tom retire," Tilghman continued, "I cannot imagine anyone better qualified than Bob Durkee to succeed him in this critical role. Bob joined the administration in the final months of Bob Goheen's presidency and has served as a close adviser to Bill Bowen, to Harold Shapiro and to me. He also has served on and staffed several trustee committees and has worked closely with the board for more than 30 years. At the same time, he has developed a national reputation as one of the leading university public affairs vice presidents, and I am delighted that he will continue to oversee public affairs for Princeton."

In addition, Karen Jezierny, a longtime member of the administration currently directing the University's Policy Research Institute for the Region (PRIOR), will join the public affairs team as director of public affairs.

The full story is available in a news release.

Contact: Eric Quinones (609) 258-3601