Conversations Connect President Eisgruber with Alumni

March 10th, 2014 / Advancement

Pulitzer Prize-winning author A. Scott Berg ’71 interviewed President Eisgruber in Los Angeles. (Photo: Debra Gerson)

Shortly after Christopher L. Eisgruber ’83 became Princeton’s 20th president on July 1, 2013, he set out on a “listening tour,” traveling across the nation and around the world to meet alumni, hear their concerns, and share his vision for the University.

In addition to attending hundreds of smaller gatherings, Eisgruber has addressed alumni at large events in 10 cities, with three more scheduled for this spring. At most of these, Eisgruber and a fellow Princetonian engage in a thoughtful conversation on stage that introduces alumni to the president’s perspectives on the future of Princeton and the role of universities in society.

For those who aren’t able to meet him in person, this video serves as an introduction to the president, in his own words.

Enthusiastic Attendance

The conversations began October 7 in New York City, where nearly 1,200 alumni listened as Eisgruber spoke with former ABC World News anchor Charles Gibson ’65.

“We constantly have to be asking ourselves,” Eisgruber said, “precisely because of the advantages that we have—how can we be making a difference in the world for good? We are extraordinarily blessed in the resources that we have; that to us should imbue us with a sense of obligation about asking how it is that we can do better in terms of the students that we train, the contributions we make for our graduates, and the impact that our research has on the world.”

President Eisgruber and Diana Davies (third from left), Princeton’s vice provost for international initiatives, with officials from the University of Tokyo, which earlier this year established a strategic partnership with Princeton to facilitate collaboration by faculty and students at both universities. (Photo courtesy of the University of Tokyo)

Eisgruber met in late October and November with alumni and leaders in academia in Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul, and Tokyo. Back in the United States, more than 900 alumni gathered in Washington, D.C., for a conversation led by Todd Purdum ’82, senior writer for POLITICO and former White House correspondent.

The West Coast swing began in late January, when Brad Smith ’81, executive vice president and general counsel for Microsoft, led a conversation with Eisgruber in Seattle before 300 alumni and friends. Then in Los Angeles and San Francisco, respectively, authors A. Scott Berg ’71 and Michael Lewis ’82 interviewed Eisgruber before crowds of more than 700 and 900. Most recently, he gathered with alumni, parents, and friends in Miami on March 6.

This year’s tour will conclude in early May, with stops in London, Paris, and Chicago. Alumni in those regions will receive invitations.

President Eisgruber greets alumni in San Francisco. (Photo: Seth Affoumado)