Interviews with more than two dozen alumnae and professors fill in a portrait of Cruz, in Cambridge two decades ago, that would be fully recognizable to those who know him now in Washington. He made a lasting impression as someone both arrogant and pretentious, as well as someone unwilling to yield or compromise.
But he was also universally respected for his intellect, described by friend and foe alike as brilliant but with a hard edge.
For his part, the senator tells the Globe he's softened, something for which many of his current colleagues may be counting their blessings.
“I suspect I was not the first 21-year-old who thought he knew more than he did,’’ Cruz said in an interview in his Senate office. “And one of the virtues of age, one of the virtues of getting married and becoming a father, is it often leads one to take a more measured approach to life.”