Christopher Ludwig Eisgruber was elected Princeton University’s 20th president on April 21, 2013, and assumed office on July 1, 2013. A renowned constitutional scholar, he served as a member of the Princeton faculty for 12 years and as Princeton’s provost for nine years before being named president.
Eisgruber, who grew up in Indiana and Oregon, received his A.B. in physics from Princeton in 1983, graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. He then earned an M.Litt in politics at the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, and a J.D. cum laude at the University of Chicago Law School, where he served as editor-in-chief of the law review. After clerking for U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Patrick Higginbotham and U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, he taught at New York University’s School of Law for 11 years.
In 2001, Eisgruber joined the Princeton faculty as the director of the Program in Law and Public Affairs and the Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Public Affairs in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the University Center for Human Values. He directed Princeton’s Program in Law and Public Affairs from 2001 to 2004, and he served for a year as acting director of the Program in Ethics and Public Affairs in 2002-03.
In addition to writing and editing several books and publishing numerous articles on constitutional issues, Eisgruber has testified multiple times before legislative bodies on the issue of religious freedom. His books include “Constitutional Self-Government” (2001); “Global Justice and the Bulwarks of Localism: Human Rights in Context” (edited with Andras Sajo, 2005); “Religious Freedom and the Constitution” (with Lawrence Sager, 2007); and “The Next Justice: Repairing the Supreme Court Appointments Process” (2007). In 2014, he was elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Eisgruber was named Princeton’s 11th provost in 2004 and in that capacity was the University’s second-ranking official and its chief academic and budgetary officer.
As provost, Eisgruber was the general deputy to the president and chaired the Academic Planning Group (which oversees long-range academic planning), the Priorities Committee (which makes recommendations regarding the University’s operating budget), and the executive committee of the Council of the Princeton University Community.
During his tenure, he played a central role in many key University initiatives, including broadening Princeton’s international initiatives for students and faculty; increasing the diversity of the campus; guiding Princeton’s entry into the online learning movement; and leading the University’s efforts to cut costs during the recession in 2008 and 2009.
He is also a gifted teacher; among the courses he taught as provost was a freshman seminar titled “The Supreme Court and Constitutional Democracy.” Before his appointment as provost, he served as a faculty representative on the Alumni Council Executive Committee and taught in the Alumni Studies program, and as provost he met frequently with alumni groups on campus and around the world.
Photo Credit: Sameer A. Khan