Expanding access: Why Eisgruber, president of Princeton University, is No. 1

Feel free to talk all you want about that famous ranking that always has Princeton at the top. But don’t expect much dialogue.

Princeton President Chris Eisgruber certainly is proud of the recognition – but it’s never been top of mind for him or the university.

Eisgruber, a graduate (1983) and the school’s president since 2013, is too busy looking ahead – too busy working to ensure more individuals gain access to the incredible experience and opportunity that is a Princeton education.

The first ten years of his tenure as the school’s leader have seen remarkable efforts toward expanding access for first-generation students, low-income students, veterans – and a host of other non-traditional communities that previously had been overlooked.

The Emma Bloomberg Center for Access and Opportunity, established by the alumnus in 2021 as a vehicle to create programs to support these groups, is a good example.

But just one.

The Lake Campus Development, which broke ground in 2021, will be the university’s first major campus expansion. It will include a number of recreational facilities, but more importantly, it will provide rooms for more than 600 post docs and graduate students – increasing their access to the school.

And don’t forget about STEM.

The school is in the process of expanding its computer science program. When it is completed in 2026, it will offer more access and opportunity to a field of study that is far bigger at Princeton than people realize (approximately 25% major in computer science or get a certificate). More impressively, the number of women involved computer science is twice that of the national average.

And when asked his biggest goal for the next five years – Eisgruber said he hoped to dramatically rebuild and fortify the School of Engineering and Applied Science, a must for the students of today and tomorrow.

So, offer your praise for Princeton’s rankings for its past successes. But don’t be surprised if Eisgruber will spend his time talking about the future – and how to increase access. 

These efforts, however, do not go unnoticed. It’s why we have put Eisgruber in the No. 1 spot on the 2023 ROI-NJ Influencers: Higher Education list. (We’re just not sure if we’re going to tell him.)