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Elisabeth Dahlen, senior administrator at Princeton, dies

Elisabeth Dahlen, a senior administrator at Princeton for over twenty years, died of cancer on March 29th. She was 64.

Elisabeth Dahlen
Elisabeth Dahlen

Dahlen joined the Office of Information Technology (OIT) in 1987 and served as director of budget and finance until 2004, when she was named director of the University’s TigerCard office. In 2007, Dahlen became assistant to the treasurer for special projects in the Office of Finance and Treasury, where she worked until her retirement last year.

Betty Leydon, vice president for information technology and chief information officer, said Dahlen was a leader in developing new administrative processes that improved operations and services for faculty, staff, and students.

“Elisabeth had a knack for seeing what needed to change with our administrative processes,” Leydon said. “And she had the determination to convince the rest of us that we could successfully implement these changes. She redesigned our inventory and billing systems and streamlined the online entry of service-request tickets at the OIT Help Desk. She designed a new departmental charging system to replace a legacy system and provide easier access to data for customers. She was always looking for the next process to improve. She cared about people and she wanted to make it easier for them to do their jobs.”

“Elisabeth will be remembered as a creative and enthusiastic administrator,” Leydon said. “She will be missed by all who knew her. Princeton has lost a valued colleague and a cherished friend.”

Dahlen spent eight years at McGraw-Hill Publishing Company before joining Princeton. She also had professional experience as a public accountant.

She earned an undergraduate degree in economics from the University of California-San Diego and an M.B.A. from New York University.

Elisabeth traveled extensively, including living in England and France with her husband, Tony Dahlen, Princeton professor of geosciences, and their son, Alex, who will complete his Ph.D. in Physics at Princeton in May.

Besides her love of family, delight in travel, and commitment to her professional work, Elisabeth will be remembered with great affection by many friends for her extraordinary culinary skills, her gracious hospitality, and her enjoyment of bridge.

Elisabeth’s husband, Tony, died of cancer in 2007. She is survived by her son, Alex, her mother Bea Heller, and an aunt, Flora Young. Funeral arrangements were private. A memorial service is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. Friday, June 3, in the University Chapel and is open to the public.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Elisabeth and F. Anthony Dahlen, Jr. Fund, which will benefit graduate students of the Princeton Geosciences department. Checks should be made payable to the Trustees of Princeton University and sent to the Department of Geosciences, 113 Guyot Hall, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, 08544.