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Friday, April 28, 2017
Kristin S. Appelget

Kristin S. Appelget

Photo: John Jameson

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Appelget named director of community and regional affairs

Woodbridge, Jezierny take on new responsibilities

Kristin S. Appelget, president and chief executive officer of the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce, a member and former president of West Windsor Township Council, and a fourth-generation resident of the Princeton area has been named Princeton University's director of community and regional affairs.

She will begin her new position on May 22, succeeding Pam Hersh, who left the University in March to become vice president for government and community affairs for the Princeton HealthCare System.

"As president of the chamber and a council member in West Windsor, Kristin has been an excellent leader and an attentive listener," said Robert K. Durkee, the University's vice president and secretary, who announced the appointment. "She is widely respected and admired for her intelligence and perceptiveness, her ability to work effectively with a wide range of people, and her deep commitment to the communities in which she has lived and worked. She is thoughtful, approachable, creative, persistent and hard-working. I can't imagine a better person to take on the many and demanding responsibilities of this critically important -- and uniquely challenging -- position."

A magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., Appelget worked in the financial services industry until 2002 when she left UBS PaineWebber to become president and CEO of the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce. Under her leadership, the chamber changed its organizational structure, achieved unprecedented growth in membership, relocated in Princeton Borough, created new programs, and interacted extensively with local, regional and statewide government officials on public policy creation, implementation and advocacy.

In 1999, Appelget was elected to a four-year term on the West Windsor Township Council, and she was re-elected in 2003. She served twice as president, in 2000-01 and 2003-04, and once as vice president, in 1999-2000. She will be leaving her position on township council on May 8. A member and current treasurer of the YWCA board of directors and a recipient of several awards from the Princeton Corridor Rotary Club, Appelget also has served on the Princeton HealthCare System Community Advisory Committee for Strategic Planning and the West Windsor-Plainsboro High School Futures Committee. Last year she was recognized with the West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South Alumni Achievement Award.

A lifelong resident of the Princeton region, Appelget traces her family's history to the early 20th century when her great-grandfather, Jacques Honore, left a position as a barber in Oxford, England, with the intention of moving to the American West to become a farmer. Instead he ended up in Princeton, and around 1913 he opened the legendary Jack Honore Barber Shop. Appelget's grandmother, Ann Clayton, was part of a family that owned the venerable dry goods store, H.P. Clayton's, and delivered coal to families in Princeton. Her grandmother was the first woman hired by RCA when it moved to the Princeton area. She also worked for 26 years for the Princeton Red Cross, including 14 years as executive director.

"As a lifelong resident of the Princeton region, I have an understanding of the critical role that Princeton University plays throughout the area," Appelget said. "My new position will allow me to bring my experience as a lifetime local resident, my time in local government, my involvement in community organizations and my love of Princeton together to continue the University's tradition of active outreach to our neighbors. I am excited by the opportunity and the challenge."

The director of community and regional affairs oversees and seeks to strengthen the University's relationships with the five municipalities and two counties in which it is located (Princeton Borough, Princeton Township, West Windsor Township, Plainsboro Township, South Brunswick Township, Mercer County and Middlesex County). The director works with governing bodies, approval agencies, key staff and elected and appointed officials on issues related to such topics as transportation, land use, planning, zoning, approval processes, affordable housing, economic development, civil rights and human rights, volunteer engagement and University contributions.

In addition to Appelget's appointment, Durkee announced two other changes related to the community and regional affairs office:

  • Responsibility for the University's relations with the state of New Jersey will be reassigned from this office to Director of Public Affairs Karen Jezierny and the name of the office will revert from "community and state affairs" to its original "community and regional affairs." Jezierny, a former assistant treasurer of the state of New Jersey and a former member of the staff of the speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly, was appointed director of public affairs in 2004. At the time she was serving as director of the University's Policy Research Institute for the Region, having previously served the University as associate dean for administration in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and as Hersh's predecessor as director of community and state affairs.

  • Karen Woodbridge, an 18-year member of the Office of Community and State Affairs and currently its associate director, will be promoted to the position of director of community relations in the renamed Office of Community and Regional Affairs. In cooperation with the director of community and regional affairs, she will be responsible for representing the University in the community, especially outside of governmental and regulatory venues, and will seek to encourage multiple forms of interaction between the University and the community. She also will oversee the University's community auditing and continuing education programs, and will continue to serve as a special assistant to the vice president and secretary.

"These changes significantly increase Princeton's capacity to become engaged in local, state and regional matters, and to encourage additional relationships between the University and members of the community," Durkee said. "They recognize Karen Jezierny's skills and experience in working with the state, and they allow Karen Woodbridge to take more senior level responsibility for a broad range of community relations initiatives. At the same time, they allow Kristin Appelget to focus even more time and attention on the broad range of community and regional issues that will be her principal responsibility, working closely and collaboratively with Karen Jezierny, Karen Woodbridge, community officials and many University colleagues whose responsibilities relate to municipal and regional agencies and organizations."

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