The Board of Trustees

Nassau Hall
Princeton, New Jersey


September 22, 2000

To Members of the Princeton University Community:

Today Harold Shapiro informed the Board of Trustees that he intends the current academic year to be his last one as President of Princeton. Since he has provided such exceptional leadership for Princeton and for all of American higher education, we will be sorry to see his presidency come to an end. We Trustees now have the responsibility to appoint the best possible person as his successor.

At their meeting this afternoon, the Trustees established a special committee (to be composed of nine trustees, five faculty members, three students, and one staff member) to lead the search and to make a recommendation to the full Board concerning Princeton's next president.

The following trustees will serve on the search committee: Brent L. Henry '69, Dennis J. Keller '63, Spencer B. Merriweather '00, Heidi G. Miller '74, Robert S. Murley '72, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk '72, Robert H. Rawson '66 (Chair), John O. Wynne '67, and Paul M. Wythes '55 (Vice Chair).

While the responsibility for appointing a President falls to the Trustees, the Board has decided, consistent with a recommendation adopted by the faculty in 1970, to ask the faculty to elect five of its members to the search committee, one from each of the four academic divisions (humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, engineering), plus one non-tenured faculty member. Also the president of the Undergraduate Student Government, together with another undergraduate selected by the Undergraduate Student Government, and the chair of the Graduate Student Government will be asked to be members of the committee. An election will be held to choose a member of the administrative staff to serve on the committee.

After consultation with the Dean of the Faculty, I am asking the faculty Committee on Appointments and Advancements to serve as a nominating committee for the faculty election, and after consultation with the Provost I am asking the Executive Committee of the Council of the University Community to serve as a nominating committee for the administrative staff election. All members of the Princeton University community are invited to make suggestions to members of either of these two committees regarding individuals whom they believe would be particularly effective as members of the search committee, or to indicate their own interest in serving.

Reflecting the significance of this mission, service on the search committee will be very time-consuming, and all those on it must be willing and able to give the work of the committee their highest priority. It is my hope and expectation that the work of the committee will be accomplished during the current academic year.

While the search committee will include in its membership wide representation of the University community, it will also be essential for the committee to consult very broadly both on and off campus. Advice and assistance from many quarters will be sought -- not least because the new President will need, upon taking office, the strong support and confidence of the entire University family.

Some aspects of the search process, such as initial communication with the alumni body and other academic leaders, and widely advertising the search, will begin immediately. I hope that the full membership of the search committee can be identified in time for its first meeting to take place in early October.

This search is obviously an undertaking of the greatest importance for Princeton. Please address any thoughts, questions or advice about the search to the committee, c/o Thomas H. Wright '62, Secretary of the University, who will serve as secretary to the search committee, at 217 Nassau Hall, Princeton NJ 08544, or to the following e-mail address maintained for the work of the committee:

Robert H. Rawson, Jr. '66           

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