David Petraeus GS ’87, the director of the CIA who earned his Ph.D. from the Wilson School 25 years ago, harbors a serious interest in one day serving as University president, according to multiple people familiar with Petraeus’ thinking, potentially placing him as a leading outside candidate to replace retiring University President Shirley Tilghman.

Petraeus, who has been an active University alumnus and who returned to campus as recently as this past spring, has publicly voiced interest in the Princeton presidency in the past, but seemingly as a joke used to deflect questions regarding his interest in the presidency of the United States. But sources close with Petraeus, who declined to comment at length for this article, indicate that his interest in University leadership is very real and that he is actively considering leading Nassau Hall.

The timing of Tilghman’s sudden retirement calls for the brand-new CIA director to decide immediately whether he wants to switch his career trajectory.