Christopher Eisgruber

At the inauguration of President Valerie Smith, President of Princeton University Christopher Eisgruber offered greetings.

Good afternoon. My name is Christopher Eisgruber and I am the president of Princeton University. On behalf of the University, I am pleased and honored to offer greetings and congratulations to Valerie Smith on her inauguration as the 15th president of Swarthmore College. Though we miss Val at Princeton, we are delighted to see our former colleague—a brilliant scholar, superb teacher, and distinguished leader—take the helm of Swarthmore, an institution with which we share much in common.

Swarthmore and Princeton are jointly and deeply committed to individual instruction; to meaningful student‑faculty relationships; and to the profound value of the liberal arts in an age when people all too often focus on the short‑term and the purely practical. Swarthmore is a true jewel of liberal arts education, and one of the greatest exemplars of undergraduate teaching in the world.

But like colleges and universities across the nation, Swarthmore today faces important challenges and opportunities, among them growing economic inequality, the impact of the technological revolution, and questions about the value of a liberal arts education. In your new president Val Smith, you have a leader who will rise to these challenges and harness these opportunities, embodying the mission of Swarthmore College. She is a distinguished leader who will cherish, protect, and advance the values you hold dear.

While at Princeton, Val was a tiger who worked tirelessly to enhance the undergraduate student experience, create a more inclusive campus climate, and help students develop into global citizens with a commitment to serve the needs of others in the world around them. At Swarthmore, Val is reborn, not as a tiger, but as a phoenix who will leverage her formidable talents to build on the distinctive strengths of Swarthmore College—its traditions of communal learning, open dialogue, and meaningful engagement—in the years to come.

Swarthmore made a spectacular choice when it selected Valerie Smith to serve as the 15th president of this marvelous college. Congratulations, Val, and best wishes.