Harold Tafler Shapiro

Professor of Economics and Public Affairs


Harold T. Shapiro is Princeton University's 18th president. Elected at a special Board of Trustees meeting on April 27, 1987, he was installed on January 8, 1988.

Shapiro, who received his Ph.D. in economics from Princeton in 1964, holds a faculty appointment as a professor of economics and public affairs. He came to Princeton from the University of Michigan, where he served on the faculty for 24 years and was president from 1980 to 1988.

Shapiro's professional activities include memberships in the Conference Board Inc. and The Bretton Woods Committee. A trustee of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (where he is chair of the board), the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, the Universities Research Association, and the Educational Testing Service, he also serves as a director of the Dow Chemical Company. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine and the American Philosophical Society and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

In July 1996, Shapiro was appointed by President Clinton to chair the National Bioethics Advisory Commission, which issued the report Cloning Human Beings in June 1997. From 1990 to 1992, he was a member of President Bush's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. He chaired the Institute of Medicine's Committee on Employer-Based Health Benefits whose report, Employment and Health Benefits: A Connection at Risk, was published in March 1993. Along with William G. Bowen, his predecessor as president of Princeton, Shapiro edited Universities and Their Leadership (Princeton University Press, 1998), a compilation of papers presented at Princeton's 250th Anniversary Conference on Higher Education in March 1996.

Born June 8, 1935, Shapiro is a native of Montreal with dual American and Canadian citizenship. He received his bachelor's degree from McGill University in 1956. A student of McGill's Faculty of Commerce, he won its highest academic honor, the Lieutenant Governor's Medal. After five years in business, he enrolled in the Graduate School at Princeton and earned his Ph.D. in three years. As a graduate student he was named first a Harold Helm Fellow and then a Harold Dodds Senior Fellow. His fields of special interest included econometrics, mathematical economics, science policy, the evolution of higher education, and money and banking.

Shapiro was a member of the Michigan faculty in the department of economics from 1964 to 1988 and served as a research scientist at the Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations and at the Institute of Public Policy Studies. In 1977 he was named vice president for academic affairs and chairman of the Committee on Budget Administration. He also served as chairman of the executive board of the University of Michigan Hospitals. In 1980 he was elected president of the University of Michigan and chairman of its board of regents.

His wife, Vivian, received a Ph.D. from the Smith College School of Social Work in 1994 and is a practicing clinician and researcher. The Shapiros have four daughters and 11 grandchildren.