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President Shirley M. Tilghman
President Shirley M. Tilghman (Photo by Denise Applewhite)
President Shirley M. Tilghman
(Photo by Denise Applewhite)

Shirley M. Tilghman became Princeton University's 19th president on June 15, 2001. An exceptional teacher and world-renowned scholar and leader in the field of molecular biology, she had served on the Princeton faculty for 15 years before being named president. Tilghman is Princeton's first female president and also the first not to hold a Princeton degree in more than a century.

Tilghman, a native of Canada, received her Honors B.Sc. in chemistry from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, in 1968. After two years of secondary school teaching in Sierra Leone, West Africa, she obtained her Ph.D. in biochemistry from Temple University in Philadelphia.

Tilghman came to Princeton in 1986 as the Howard A. Prior Professor of the Life Sciences. Two years later, she also joined the Howard Hughes Medical Institute as an investigator. In 1998, she took on additional responsibilities as the founding director of Princeton's multi-disciplinary Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics.

(Adapted from President Tilghman's biography.)