Monday, April 22, 2013
Congratulations to Chris Eisgruber--a fellow member of the law and religion guild--upon his election as the 20th President of Princeton University. Eisgruber's book (co-authored with Larry Sager) Religious Freedom and the Constitution (Harvard, 2010) has been a formidable contribution to the field (especially for those of us who disagree with aspects of it), and Chris has been a generous conversation partner at many law and religion gatherings.
This also continues an interesting story about lawyers being tapped for university presidencies. With some notable exceptions (Robert Maynard Hutchins and Kingman Brewster come to mind), it seems to me there was a longtime bias against JDs (or LLBs in a bygone era) serving as presidents of elite institutions, but there is a trend over the past few decades in the other direction--Lee Bollinger, James Freedman, and Derek Bok are just a few examples. Why? My guess is that it's a significant marker of the acceptance of legal scholarship as a research field in the wider academy and the skills that lawyers often bring to such administrative positions--and, of course, the talents of the individual candidates.