When it comes to Princeton, Doug Grover ’73 has a knack for getting in the last word

Doug Grover '74 and two grandchildren eat ice cream together

Photo courtesy of Doug Grover

Doug Grover ’73 is a talker. He excels at conversation, seamlessly transitioning from one topic to another without a word being wasted. Grover’s gift of gab has served him well throughout his career as a financial advisor. “I built my business doing cold calling,” he said on a Zoom call from his home in Westchester, New York. “I’ve been asking people to do something over the phone for much of my professional career.”

Being loquacious led Grover to be recruited as an Annual Giving class agent in 1993. “I’ve done it on and off for the last 30 years,” he said. “Picking up the phone and calling people allows me to stay connected.” As one of the longest-serving agents for the class of 1973, he usually doesn’t have to explain why he’s calling to any of his 800-plus classmates: “They know me and know why I’m calling — having had Princeton in our lives for so long, we know giving back is baked in.” 

Grover has enjoyed soliciting for Annual Giving because he’s goal-oriented and can see the results. “Until two years ago, we had a small group reaching out to classmates for Annual Giving, but the excitement of our 50th led more classmates to join ’73’s volunteer team,” he said. With that milestone now past, he’s stepping away from his class agent role and handing the reins to other volunteers. 

Grover’s time as a class agent grew from observing his mother, Eunice Grover, perform the same role for her classmates from Smith College. “As a child, I remember going to the printer to pick up all the letters she would send to her classmates,” he said. “For me, being a class agent was just kind of normal.” 

As a supporter of institutions of higher learning, Grover said that the combination of quality education and charity always made sense to him. “My mother graduated in the top 10 percent of her class, Phi Beta Kappa, and was on the staff at the Wooster School in Danbury, Connecticut, and my father [Joseph Grover ’42] was an educator.” he said. “My father didn’t attend his graduation because he was with the Army at that point, heading to the Pacific.” 

Joseph Grover served four years as an officer and combat engineer with the 592nd Battalion of the Army Corps of Engineers, attaining the rank of captain. After the war, he taught English literature — and also served as counselor, assistant headmaster and admissions officer — at the Wooster School for 43 years. 

Grover had his first Princeton experience alongside his father. “He would take me with him to Princeton sometimes when he was looking to recruit good teachers,” he said. “And after he got his masters from Columbia, he took me to a Princeton football game — and rooted for Columbia because they never won. But that’s the kind of person he was.” 

After Grover’s father’s retirement in 1989, Wooster renamed one of the buildings Grover Hall in his honor. He died in 2017 and Eunice followed in 2019. 

When Grover arrived at Princeton in 1969, he found a much different University than his father had experienced. For one thing, his class was the first to admit women who would spend all four years at Princeton. “On top of that, we had the first lottery draft for Vietnam in the fall of my freshman year,” he said. “I wasn’t in that one, but I was in the next one. My number was 248 so even when student deferments were abolished in 1971, I was relatively safe from being drafted.” 

While there was always a demonstration of some kind happening on campus, Grover said he and four friends made a haven of sorts during his time at Princeton. “The five of us drove to Florida in a VW bug during spring break when we were freshmen and we stuck together through our senior year,” he said. “We still get together regularly for dinner with our wives or to catch the last football game of the season. We all hate Yale.” 

Having had Princeton in his life for so long, Grover believes in paying forward the positive experience. Before he hung up his financial advisor hat three years ago, he put a lot of thought into what he and his wife, Adrienne Scerbak, were going to do to guarantee their income as they entered retirement. “I always worked hard to make sure my clients didn’t run out of money after they retired,” he said. Back then he used professionally variable annuities with income benefits to protect his clients, but he found that Princeton’s charitable gift annuity was a better fit for him. 

Grover set up a charitable gift annuity last year so he and his wife could better secure their future income. “Not only did I do one for myself, but I also made all my classmates aware of charitable gift annuities and pushed hard to get them to do it too,” he said. Since it was an Annual Giving Legacy gift, his and his classmates’ charitable gift annuities contributed to the Class of 1973’s best fundraising total ever — with 62.3% of the class participating. In all, 10 members of the Class of 1973 funded AG Legacy gifts that added $1.09 million to their 50th Reunion class gift. 

“Given my affection for and connection to Princeton, I believe in sweat equity — that’s why I spent so much time as a class agent,” he said. “I love to talk if you ever want to Zoom again.”