Robert Durkee to step down as Princeton University’s vice president for public affairs

Robert Durkee. Photo: Princeton University Office of Communications.

Robert Durkee, Princeton University’s vice president for public affairs since 1978, will step down from that role next fall while remaining in the position of vice president and secretary, school officials announced today.

As vice president for public affairs, Durkee has overseen the school’s communications, government affairs, community and regional affairs, and public affairs offices. The vice president for public affairs is empowered to speak for Princeton University. Durkee attends local government meetings to discuss the university’s development plans, including the Dinky train station move, the arts and transit complex, and other building projects and initiatives.

“It has been a great privilege to be able to do that for these past 39 years,” Durkee said. “But when I took on the role of vice president and secretary 13 years ago, it was with the understanding that at some point I would be able to step down from the public affairs position and scale back to holding only one job. I am proud of the work of all of these offices, and I am pleased to have been able to work closely with each of them over these past four decades. One of the many virtues of Princeton’s relatively small size and centralized administrative structure is that even the most senior officers are able to work directly with the offices they oversee.”

As vice president and secretary, Durkee will continue to serve as a senior advisor to the president, have administrative responsibility for the work of the school’s board of trustees, oversees the official convocations of the school, and maintain custody of the school charter, minute books and papers relating to the records of the school.

Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber will lead a national search for a vice president of communications and public affairs who will oversee the same offices that Durkee has supervised in his public affairs role, school officials said.