Who should be Princeton’s next president? Graduate students say the ideal candidate would be a respected academic with a commitment to research, maintaining Princeton’s reputation, and being accessible to the student body — someone much like the current president, in fact.
Marco De Leon, a second-year M.P.A. student in the Woodrow Wilson School, said President Tilghman’s emphasis on research has been especially important to graduate students. “I hope to see a continuity in these policies going forward,” De Leon said.
Carolann Buff, a fifth-year Ph.D. student in the music department, said Tilghman has been “especially attuned to our needs as scholars.”
In November, members of the presidential search committee — including Chad Maisel, the president of the Graduate Student Government — met with grad students to solicit their ideas for a successor to Tilghman, who is stepping down at the end of the academic year.
About 40 students attended the session, and if there was one clear theme, it was the desire to see another person with academic bona fides take the job.
When students were asked whether they would be open to a president with a business background, the idea was roundly rejected. “The idea of the University being run like a business is scary to me, especially since Princeton is already doing well,” said one grad student. “We don’t need it reorganized and run like a business.”
Ian Ward, a first-year Ph.D. student in history, advised against selecting “someone who has a politicized atmosphere that follows them around.” The forum took place five days after the resignation of CIA director David Petraeus *85 *87 — whose name had surfaced as a possible candidate for Princeton’s presidency — and Ward noted: “In light of recent scandals, we want someone who has a track record of moral accomplishments as well.”
Some students said they hoped the next president would work to alleviate concerns about transportation and the supply of campus grad-student housing. Others stressed the need to maintain rigorous admission requirements, both to maintain Princeton’s reputation and to prevent an over-supply of graduate students from hurting their chances of securing jobs in academia.