With over 1,000 faculty, nearly 9,000 students, and an annual operating budget of nearly three billion dollars, Princeton University is a colossal institution to manage and maintain. While much of the work of running the University is carried out by almost 7,000 staff, the top-level administration of Princeton is carried out by a group of 25 individuals colloquially known as the Cabinet.
While another well-known administrative body, the Board of Trustees, makes the decisions regarding the governance of the University, the officers of the University handle the day-to-day operations. Examining the Cabinet is essential for understanding who runs Princeton, not just who governs it. While the Board of Trustees is composed of prominent figures like former president George W. Bush’s Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten ’76 and businessman and politician Bob Hugin ’76, the Cabinet is staffed by those who have made their careers in academia and University management.
The Daily Princetonian broke down the various positions within the Cabinet, their compensation, and how power is structured within the Cabinet to better understand the most powerful individuals in the University, who deal with everything from managing tenure policies to crafting the University’s DEI report. The University did not provide any administrators to speak on the record with the 'Prince' for this piece.
Who are the cabinet members?
The University Cabinet, as defined by the officers on the University’s public website, is led by President Christopher Eisgruber ’83. The next highest-ranking officials are Provost Jennifer Rexford, and Executive Vice President Katie Callow-Wright. The provost is the chief academic and budgetary officer of the University who oversees academic officers, while the executive vice president oversees the physical campus and the provision of campus services and supervises the officers of the corporation.
The bulk of the Cabinet consists of vice presidents and deans. There are vice presidents for Campus Life, Communications and Government Affairs, Information Technology, Advancement, University Services, Finance, Human Resources, Counsel, Compliance, Facilities, and the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL). The Cabinet includes deans for the Faculty, Libraries, Admission and Financial Aid, and Research. The deans of the Schools of Architecture, Public and International Affairs, Engineering and Applied Sciences, and the Graduate School are also Cabinet members.
Another Cabinet official is Dean of the College Jill Dolan, who recently announced her intention to step down at the conclusion of the 2023–24 academic year.
The only Cabinet official with the title “President” besides Eisgruber is the President of the Princeton University Investment Company (PRINCO), Andrew Golden. Golden has also announced his retirement, which is set to take effect on June 30, 2024. Golden is the longest serving member of the cabinet, having served since 1995 in the role.
Where did they study?
While all appointed trustees are Princeton graduates, just five of the 25 Cabinet members graduated from Princeton. All five of these Princeton graduates attended at least one graduate school other than Princeton, notably the University of Chicago, Oxford University, The College of New Jersey, the University of Michigan, Harvard University, and Brown University.
Only three members of the Cabinet went to more than one graduate school, while five members either did not complete a graduate degree at all or the 'Prince' was unable to find any information about their graduate degrees.
The composition of the Cabinet is not limited to graduates of Ivy League schools, with a significant diversity in institutions. Two members of the Cabinet obtained an undergraduate degree from outside of the United States — Vice President and Chief Audit and Compliance Officer Nilufer Shroff, who received her degree from Mumbai University, and Dean of Libraries Anne Jarvis.
How is the cabinet structured?
The Cabinet is generally structured around the provost and executive vice president, though some positions report directly to the President.
There are two major categories of Cabinet members as listed by the University bylaws in Resolution I: “Officers of the Corporation” and “Academic Officers.” The former consists of the President, Provost, Treasurer, Secretary, and most of those who hold the title of “vice president.” The latter consists of those who hold the title of “dean” as well as the Vice President for PPPL.
Reporting to Provost Jennifer Rexford are the vice president for information technology, vice president for PPPL, dean of libraries, dean of the college, and the deans of Princeton’s various schools, including the School of Public and International Affairs and the Graduate School. The provost is also responsible for the broader areas of academic affairs, resource planning and institutional research, institutional equity and diversity, international affairs and operations, and space programming and planning.
The Office of the Provost was created in 1967. The provost is the general deputy of the president and also serves as acting president in the event of their absence or disability.
The vice presidents for campus life, human resources, university services, facilities, and audit and compliance all report to Executive Vice President Katie Callow-Wright. Many of these vice presidents are powerful in their own right; Vice President for Campus Life W. Rochelle Calhoun oversees the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students, the Pace Center for Civic Engagement, the Office of Religious Life, University Health Services, Center for Career Development, Wintersession, Campus Recreation, and Princeton Athletics.
Six positions report directly to President Eisgruber: the dean of the faculty and the vice presidents for advancement, communications and government affairs, finance and treasurer, general counsel, and secretary.
The Dean of the College Jill Dolan is not the highest-ranking dean — that's Dean of the Faculty Gene A. Jarrett. The dean of the faculty had many of the dean of the college’s responsibilities until that position was created in 1909.
According to University bylaws, the PRINCO President reports to the Board of Directors of PRINCO, which in turn reports to the President.
Both academic officers and officers of the corporation are elected by the Board of Trustees following nomination from the President.
How has the cabinet changed during Eisgruber’s tenure?
Eisgruber’s Cabinet has seen significant turnover since his time as president began in 2013. Just six Cabinet members have served during the entirety of Eisgruber’s tenure, while two positions have seen multiple transfers of power.
Indeed, the two highest positions in the cabinet below Eisgruber are some of the newest members of the body. Both Provost Jennifer Rexford and Executive Vice President Katie Callow-Wright began their tenures in 2023.
Turnover has been concentrated during two time periods: in 2014, when the dean of the Graduate School, vice president and general counsel, and dean of the faculty positions all changed hands, and in 2022, when the dean of the graduate school, vice president for human resources, and provost saw new officeholders fill those positions.
With the aforementioned announcements that Dean of the College Jill Dolan and PRINCO President Andrew Golden would be stepping down, as well as Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer Jay Dominick’s upcoming retirement, 2024 looks to be another year with major turnover in the University Cabinet.
The newest member of the Cabinet is Dean of Research Peter Schiffer, who began his role in August 2023. Following Golden’s retirement in 2024 after running PRINCO since 1995, Nilufer Shroff, the Vice President and Chief Audit and Compliance Officer, will be the longest-serving cabinet member, having served in her position since 2007.
How much does the cabinet make?
During this past fiscal year, which ended June 1, 2022, even the Cabinet member with the lowest salary made over 6.5 times the average salary in New Jersey. The average salary of the Cabinet, not counting the PRINCO President, was around $650,000.
Golden makes, by far, the most of any Cabinet member, with a salary nearing $4 million — four times the salary of the president of the University. Golden's compensation is structured differently than other cabinet members – while his base salary is around a million dollars, he receives bonuses and deferred compensation that far exceed the entire salaries of other cabinet members. In 2021, Golden was awarded almost $2.8 million in deferred compensation to be paid at a future date.
The president and provost receive similar compensations of around one million dollars.
Vice presidents and deans make between $470,000 and $850,000 dollars, with many of these members being paid around $500,000–$600,000.
Despite being a higher-ranking official, the executive vice president makes less than the vice president and general counsel.
University administrators make significantly more than faculty members. As of 2021, the 363 male professors make an average of $271,898 per year and the 140 female professors make $253,086 per year. Each rank below professor makes less, with the lowest rank of male and female lecturers making $102,440 and $92,432 annually, respectively.
Over the past five years, the members of the cabinet have generally received small raises each year. Historically, the compensation for each role has ranged from around $400,000 to $800,000, with higher-ranking members receiving higher salaries.
The salaries of some positions dropped following personnel changes. Upon the retirement of Vice President and Secretary Robert Durkee ’69, the compensation of this role fell from over $530,000 to below $400,000.
Rishi Kannan is a contributing Data writer for the ‘Prince.’
Ryan Konarska is an associate Data editor and staff News writer for the ‘Prince.’
Please send corrections to corrections[at]dailyprincetonian.com.
Correction: This piece has been corrected to clarify Richardson started in 2019 not 2022.