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David Petraeus Has Likely Lost His Chance To Become Princeton University President

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DAVID PETRAEUS PRINCETON UNIVERSITY
Then-U.S. Army Gen. David Patraeus (R), Commander, U.S. Central Command, sips water as he retakes his seat at the witness table during a hearing conducted by the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill June 15, 2010 in Washington, DC. Petraeus reportedly had hoped to become president of his alma mater, Princeton University, before news of an extramarital affair forced him to resign from the CIA. (KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images) | Getty Images

David Petraeus's resignation as director of the Central Intelligence Agency amid an investigation into an affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, will likely dash his hopes of one day becoming president of Princeton University.

In September, the Daily Princetonian, a campus newspaper, reported Petraeus had expressed serious interest in becoming the chief of the Ivy League university and was a leading outside candidate to replace the school's retiring president, Shirley Tilghman. Petraeus earned a Ph.D in International Relations from Princeton in 1987.

Tilghman announced this fall that she would step down at the end of the academic year, in June 2013. The university has been reviewing potential replacement candidates.

When reporters previously asked Petraeus about whether he wanted to head Princeton, he gave a non-denial, saying, "I am living the dream here at CIA."

He's no longer living that dream, and the circumstances of his departure have certainly changed his prospects of heading to the Princeton, N.J., campus. Since the Daily Princetonian broke the story back in September that Petraeus was interested in the job, the paper has been all over university reaction to such a prospect -- especially now in the wake of the former general's revealed affair.

Bob Callahan, class of '77 and the head coach of Princeton's men's squash team, cited Petraeus's extramarital affair as one reason he would now have reservations about nominating him as university president, the Princetonian reported.

"We have been very fortunate in having presidents at Princeton that have brought nothing but honor to Princeton in every aspect of their lives,” Callahan said at a meeting this week. “It’s tragic ... but certainly Princeton is a world-class institution, and we only want the best representation at the presidential level."

Robert Hutchings, a former assistant dean at Princeton's Wilson School and current dean of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, told the Princetonian that Petraeus would have to "lay low" for a while.

"I'd be very surprised if Princeton wanted to touch him at this point," Hutchings said. "He has compromised himself for president as of now."

The student paper also wrote that it had contacted Broadwell in its earlier coverage of Petraeus's interest in becoming university president, noting she behaved like a spokesperson for the now-former CIA director.

"He is not interested in the Princeton job that I know (though I know he knows it is open)," Broadwell told the Princetonian in one email, later adding, "When he responds to your below email, I'll share what I can."

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