By TEDDY SCHLEIFER
For the latest installment of the “Tangentially relevant things about the next Princeton President” series, here are 10 things you should know about the next leader of the University:
1. His middle name is Ludwig. That’s the ‘L.’ in the “Christopher L. Eisgruber” we’ve all been hearing about. He inherited the name, which three Bavarian kings — and Beethoven — went by, from his father, Ludwig M. Eisgruber.
2. His parents both worked at Oregon State University in Corvallis, OR. Ludwig M. taught agriculture and resource economics and chaired that department, publishing on endangered species and rural land use in the Pacific Northwest. His mother Eva also worked as a staff member at OSU. She died in 2003.
3. His mother fled the Nazi regime and Eisgruber eventually received monetary compensation for dispossessed assets. Eva was born in Berlin in 1932 and fled the Nazi regime that rose to power in her childhood. After moving to France, her family immigrated to St. Louis, Missouri. Chris Eisgruber and his three sisters were awarded about $170,000 in 2009 in a Holocaust claims resolution tribunal for assets dispossessed from Eva’s father, Salomon Kalisch.
4. Eisgruber captained the 1979 high school national champions in chess..
During his senior year of high school in Corvallis, Eisgruber was captain of the country’s national champion chess team. During a summer in his undergraduate years, he taught elementary school children the game.
5. He also edited his high school newspaper. But really, who didn’t?
6. He’s been a political creature since his 20’s – on all sides of the aisle. Eisgruber worked for John Anderson’s independent bid for the presidency in 1980, but became more of a partisan afterwards. After his sophomore year, he interned for Republican governor Victor Atiyeh. Since then, though, his politics have leaned decisively left: He donated $5,000 to Obama in the most recent election cycle, the second most of any Princeton faculty member.
7. At Princeton, Eisgruber defended the undergraduate curriculum from criticism. A year after ‘Prince’ chairman (and now Wilson School professor) Bart Gellman ’82 questioned the core curriculum in his farewell column, Eisgruber penned two responses in February of his senior year in its defense. He recommended five changes to the curriculum, including abandoning the pass/fail option for classes that fulfill distribution requirements and requiring every student to take two courses that focus on the great books.
8. He’s been in academia for nearly his entire life. Cue the attacks on east coast, Ivory Tower intellectualism. After Eisgruber’s four years at Princeton, he spent two at Oxford, three at UChicago, ten at NYU and now another thirteen at Princeton. In between his switch from a law school seat to a law school lectern, he clerked for some big dogs, including Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who he brought to campus two years ago.
9. He had a Twitter for about one day. Earlier this week I reported that Eisgruber had a Twitter. That’s no longer true. After the account was created on June 21 and sent out an inaugural introductory tweet, @ceisgruber was closed down and stripped of all its content, including the single tweet. A Princeton spokesman tells the ‘Prince’ that the account was created as a “placeholder” and that the account’s activity was because “someone made some assumptions upon the announcement.” It’s still got about 100 followers.
10. Eisgruber is in touch with college kids these days. He tells our friends at Princeton Alumni Weekly that he subscribes to Rolling Stone magazine and is a big folk-rock fan. “It also is occasionally a way to get perspective on college life,” he says.