In a moment of major turnover for the University administration, University President Christopher Eisgruber ’83 just took on a three-year appointment at the Association of American Universities (AAU). On Nov. 7, the University announced that Eisgruber was selected as the vice chair of the AAU.
The AAU is a national organization based in Washington, D.C. and is composed of 71 of the U.S. and Canada’s leading research institutions. Many highly selective universities are represented, making the association important in representing the interests of such institutions in Washington.
In the wake of the overturning of affirmative action this summer, selective universities have a number of interests in Washington. Some areas of conflict may include an ongoing federal inquiry into legacy admissions and a proposed increase of the endowment tax.
Eisgruber, a constitutional lawyer, has seen an increased public role since the decision. This past month, he spoke on a panel presenting a new report from the Department of Education to the White House calling on leaders in higher education to prioritize diversity on college campuses.
Eisgruber’s appointment as vice chair is the first segment of a three-part, three-year role. He is slated to serve as vice chair from 2023–2024 and then assume the position as chair from 2024–2025, followed by a final year as past chair. The AAU executive board has historically consisted of 12 presidents and chancellors of the organization’s member universities. Eisgruber’s acceptance of this role provides an indication that he will continue to serve as the University’s president until the completion of his responsibilities at AAU.
Eisgruber’s term was extended by five years in spring 2022. He just marked his 10th year in his role as President. The period since the pandemic has seen a deluge of resignations or retirements of University Presidents, including presidents at Harvard, Columbia, Yale, MIT, and Stanford. Eisgruber’s commitment to the role comes as many of the administrators surrounding him, including the Provost, Executive Vice President, and Dean of the Faculty are new to their roles.
Eisgruber’s two immediate predecessors, Shirley Tilghman and Harold Shapiro GS ’64 also served as vice chairs and then chairs of the AAU, making Eisgruber the third University president in a row to have been selected for this position.
During Tilghman’s term as vice chair, she spoke at a roundtable on endowments and college costs, stating that endowments play a “critical role in making the American system of higher education the best in the world” by reducing costs for students and supporting research.
Matteo Torres is a News contributor for the ‘Prince.’
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