June 6, 2001
Scholar, scientist, and single mom
How green is Princeton?
Examining the role of the arts
Princeton's new center also looks at issues of technology
Debating slavery reparations
Scholar, scientist, and single mom
Shirley M. Caldwell
Tilghman succeeds Harold T. Shapiro *64
Tilghman with President Shapiro on May 5.
Shirley Tilghman says it's time for a woman president.
At first glance, it might
appear that the presidential search committee has made an unconventional
choice for Princeton's 19th president in selecting Professor in
the Life Sciences Shirley M. Caldwell Tilghman, a single mother
with no Princeton degree and little experience administering an
institution of Princeton's magnitude. But look just a little deeper,
and you'll find a true Princetonian who cares deeply about the institution
and for the last 15 years has left an indelible mark on the place
as a teacher, mentor, and colleague.
The trustees elected
Tilghman, a pioneering scholar and a leader in the field of molecular
biology and genetics, on Saturday, May 5. She will take over on
While the presidential
search committee conducted its final deliberations about her candidacy,
Tilghman read a senior thesis in an anteroom. Tilghman herself had
been a member of that search committee until about six weeks before
her election. When she had to leave one of the meetings early to
teach, the committee discussed her candidacy more openly and later
asked her to enter the race, said Robert H. Rawson, Jr. '66, who
led the search.
The committee considered
some 200 candidates from all over the country. "Sometimes you
look far and wide, and sometimes the best solution is here at home,"
"It's time for a
woman president," said Tilghman at the press conference following
her election. Being the top leader and a woman will help change
the "public perception of Princeton." When she moves to
her office at One Nassau Hall, she will become the second woman
to lead an Ivy League institution.
As soon as she could
tear herself away from the flashing cameras and reporters following
the announcement, Tilghman e-mailed two students, Diane Nuttall
'02 and Sarah Tyler '02, to let them know that even though she would
be their president next year, she would also continue to advise
them on their senior theses. "We [students] are clearly one
of her high priorities," said Nuttall, who will write her thesis
on genomic imprinting - the way some genes function differently
depending on whether they are inherited from the mother or father
- Tilghman's interest. "She always makes us feel important."
One of the architects
of the national effort to map the entire human genome, Tilghman
joined the Princeton faculty in 1986 and in 1998 became the founding
director of the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics,
whose interdisciplinary mission is to identify the functions of
human genes and then discover how different genes act together in
an integrated fashion. Her own academic work has focused on mammalian
genetics, in particular the role that genes play in the development
of the mammalian embryo. During postdoctoral studies at the National
Institutes of Health, she made a number of groundbreaking discoveries
while participating in cloning the first mammalian gene.
Two years after arriving
at Princeton, she joined the Howard Hughes Medical Institute as
an investigator and began serving as an adjunct professor in the
department of biochemistry at the UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical
Tilghman has been highly
sought after to serve on national commissions and panels on embryonic
stem-cell research and human cloning, and she is also known for
her national leadership on behalf of women in science and for encouraging
the early careers of young scientists.
The 1996 recipient of
Princeton's President's Award for Distinguished Teaching, Tilghman
has taught scientists and nonscientists alike. From 1993-2000, she
chaired Princeton's Council on Science and Technology, which encourages
the teaching of science and technology to students outside the sciences.
She led an alumni studies program, taught an alumni college, and
in May lectured on the human genome project for the Class of 1943.
Tilghman says she's "exhilarated"
to take on the "best job in higher education." The first
weekend in May was "the most memorable weekend of my life."
(She can proclaim that, she says, because neither of her children
was born on a weekend.)
Now that the initial
fanfare is over, she's getting down to the hard work. "I'm
trying to learn as much as possible as quickly as possible."
And she's looking forward to "diversifying" her interests.
A necessary part of being a scholar, she explains, is becoming "someone
who tries to burrow very deeply into one set of questions. . . .
This job is going to give me the chance . . . to expand my horizons
in ways I have always yearned for," says Tilghman, who had
a difficult time deciding between a major in English or chemistry
when she was a college student.
Like Harold Shapiro,
who announced last fall his intention to retire from the presidency,
Tilghman is Canadian. Born in Toronto, she graduated from Queen's
University in Kingston, Ontario, in 1968, with a degree in chemistry,
and after two years of secondary school teaching in Sierra Leone,
West Africa, she earned her Ph.D. in biochemistry from Temple University.
It's too soon to say
what she will focus on as president, she says, but she will continue
to teach and eventually would like to convene a faculty group to
reexamine the tenure process, a system she says is particularly
difficult for women because the trial period leading up to it coincides
with childbearing years, forcing many women to choose between a
career and a family. Tilghman and her ex-husband split up when her
daughter was two and her son was six months old.
Although she didn't attend
Princeton, she has two numbers after her name: her daughter, Rebecca,
is a member of the Class of 2002, and as of May 9 she herself is
an honorary member of the Class of 1946. "Do I know what it's
like at 3 a.m. on Prospect Street? No. Thank the Lord." But
after 15 years on campus, serving on a number of committees and
mentoring many students, Tilghman says she understands in a "visceral
way the character of the place" and what makes the Princeton
experience unique. "I feel I have this institution in my blood."
A large part of her education came from watching President Shapiro
time and again make decisions "based on what was right,"
she says. What Shapiro has done is at "the heart and soul of
why this is a great institution - because we are trying to do what
All across campus, faculty
members and students seemed thrilled about their new leader. "I
am nearly delirious with joy," says John Fleming *63, a professor
of English. "She's a real mensch, so to speak . . . a great
scholar, a fine teacher, a person of lucid integrity, and she has
no administrative experience to warp her mind."
Mark Johnston *84, chair
of the philosophy department and a member of the search committee,
says, "My fellow search committee members and I took special
care not to be swayed by her having been on the committee. In effect,
we held her to a higher standard. . . . I'm absolutely convinced
that she thinks of the humanities as 'the soul of the university.'
" Besides, he adds, "she has . . . a genetic connection
to the humanities" - her daughter is majoring in art history.
Tilghman and her son,
Alex, who finished high school a year ago, will move from their
three-bedroom Princeton township home into Lowrie House. It's a
practical move, says Tilghman, who has no guest room and no office
in her present home, and so works at the kitchen table. When her
mother comes to visit from Canada, Tilghman sleeps on the couch.
Look for a profile of
President Tilghman in PAW's September 12 issue.
How green is Princeton?
an educational setting, a center for research, a sports facility,
a workplace to hundreds, and a home to thousands, Princeton University
has an impact on the environment. To determine how significant,
a group of undergraduates in the Environmental Studies Program,
working with the Princeton Environmental Institute, recently conducted
an environmental audit.
Compiled and prepared
by Elizabeth Bernier '02 and Brooke Kelsey Jack '03, the 2000 Environmental
Audit is the second audit of its kind; the first was conducted in
1995. Using the 1995 audit as a baseline, the group investigated
10 areas of environmental concern, including energy use, new buildings,
water use, groundskeeping, transportation, solid waste and recycling,
and toxic and radioactive waste - looking for positive and negative
The students found that
the university has improved since 1995: The construction of a cogeneration
plant has helped to meet electricity and heating needs in a more
efficient manner; technological improvements in existing recycling
programs, as well as the introduction of a food-waste recycling
program, has increased the university's recycling rate by 13 percent;
and the expansion and diversification of the Environmental Studies
Program has increased the number of academic opportunities available
to students. The report does make 44 recommendations for improvement,
including the installation of student-controlled heating, a reduction
in the usage of pesticides, and the establishment of a uniform set
of environmentally sound purchasing criteria.
By Andrew Shtulman '01
To view the 2000 Environmental
Audit in its entirety, an online version can be found at http://www.Princeton.edu/~pei.
Examining the role of the arts
Princeton's new center also looks at issues of technology
Princeton was the first
place in the nation to organize a Center for Arts and Cultural Policy
Studies. Similar groups have since appeared in Washington and at
Ohio State and are getting started at the University of Chicago
and the University of California in Los Angeles.
Princetons center was started by Stanley N. Katz, lecturer
with the rank of professor in public and international affairs and
Paul DiMaggio, professor of sociology. Katz directs the four-year-old
Katz, who in his undergraduate days was coxswain for Harvard's lightweight
crew, has earned a law degree as well as a Ph.D. in American history
and has been engaged in heavyweight policy studies for a long time.
After several years as Princeton's Class of 1921 Bicentennial Professor
of the History of American Law and Liberty, he went to the American
Council of Learned Societies as president in 1986. "It was
just as the culture wars were beginning," he said.
During his 11 years at ACLS, he fought fiercely for the humanities
("I was Public Enemy Number One for Lynne Cheney [then director
of the National Endowment for the Humanities]," he said wryly)
and guided publication of the 24-volume American National Biography,
which comprises 17,000 life stories, superseding the Dictionary
of American Biography. During that time, however, he also continued
to teach one course a semester at Princeton and kept his office.
Now he's back full time. Last semester he taught a seminar on gun
control; this semester he's teaching one on Cuba; and he's developing
"a big course" on civil society in the U.S.
The Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies, funded by the Pew
Charitable Trust and the Andrew Mellon Foundation, seeks to recruit
and train Ph.D. students to analyze art and cultural policy, sponsor
research on the role of the arts in community development, and work
with faculty to develop courses involving arts and cultural policy.
As examples, Katz mentions possible studies on how the New Jersey
Performing Arts Center has affected development in the city of Newark
and a project consulting with McCarter Theater on how demographic
analysis could be used to increase attendance.
In a big project funded by Pew, the center will work with Firestone's
Social Science Reference Center to create a national data archive
for policy and the arts. A vast range of research data, which has
been difficult to access, will be available on the Internet to policymakers,
researchers, journalists, and the public.
Katz himself is interested in the impact of technology on the arts
and humanities. He signed an amicus brief in Tasini v. New York
Times supporting freelance writers who want to retain electronic
rights to their work. (Some historians, loathe to lose access to
electronic sources, argue that news organizations would not be able
to post their contents on the Internet.) "Public policy is
being formed right now," Katz says.
By Ann Waldron
Ann Waldron is a frequent contributor to PAW.
There are a lot of student
magazines at Princeton and other college campuses that cover politics
and literature. But Vincent Lloyd '03 and a student from Cornell,
Jordan Glassman, who met over an e-mail discussion group, felt their
campuses lacked a forum for discussing issues from a humanist perspective.
So last year they created Common Sense: The Intercollegiate Journal
of Humanism & Freethought, "a publication by and for students
that deals with issues of politics, philosophy, [science, culture],
and religion from a progressive, humanist viewpoint," said Lloyd,
the magazine's publisher.
One year into the endeavor,
the students have produced four issues and involved students from
more than a dozen colleges, from the University of Tennessee to
the University of Victoria, who do everything from submitting stories
to laying out the pages. The magazine raises money through advertising
and donors, and applies for grants from a variety of organizations.
Common Sense, which is
distributed free to students at Princeton and dozens of other campuses,
has featured articles ranging from "Nonbelievers: Out of the
Closet," by a cardiothoracic surgeon, and an interview with
Princeton professor of bioethics Peter Singer to a discussion of
whether it is ethical for humanists to have children and an essay
on the legalization of prostitution. (Humanism describes a philosophy
that usually rejects supernaturalism and stresses an individual's
dignity, worth, and capacity for self-realization through reason.)
Lloyd says Common Sense
and its offshoots are "filling a need."
To find out more go to
David Horowitz, president
of the Center for the Study of Popular Culture, and Dorothy Benton
Lewis, cochair of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations
in America, debated on April 25 whether the African-American community
is entitled to receive monetary reparations for slavery. The debate
not only filled McCosh 50 with onlookers but was also the source
of much controversy, as the Black Student Union and the College
Democrats rallied to protest Horowitz's appearance.
Hosted by the American
Whig-Cliosophic Society, the debate was spurred by an advertisement
Horowitz placed in the Daily Princetonian entitled "Ten Reasons
Why Reparations for Slavery is a Bad Idea . . . and Racist Too."
Though Horowitz tried to place his ad in 52 college newspapers,
39 refused. The Prince ran the ad on April 4 alongside a staff editorial
questioning Horowitz's motives. Horowitz, angered by the editorial,
published an article on the Web site salon.com entitled "Why
I Won't Pay The Daily Princetonian."
In coming to Princeton,
Horowitz planned to discuss both the issue of reparations and the
issue of "civil discourse." During the first half of his
opening argument, Horowitz berated the university, calling the Prince
staff "character assassins" and the students as a whole
"little left-wing fascists." Moving to the issue of reparations,
Horowitz argued that monetary assistance would only set the African-American
community against other ethnic communities suffering from similar
injustices, not to mention that reparations advocates "are
suing the wrong government" (i.e., suing the Union, and not
the Confederate government).
Lewis argued that reparations
were needed to "finish the job of the abolitionists."
"We're not asking for a handout," she said. "We're
asking for our stolen loot to be returned." In response to
questions from the audience on the difficulties of determining who
would be eligible for payment - especially in case of multiracial
individuals - Lewis said such logistical concerns would be "a
problem we'd enjoy."
The two debaters agreed
on the importance of designating taxpayer dollars to the construction
of a museum of African-American history and to the funding of educational
scholarships for minorities.
By Andrew Shtulman '01
For an online video of
the debate go to http://
www. princeton.edu/ WebMedia/special/.
Last April, English professor
Elaine Showalter and 23 undergraduates - most of whom were enrolled
in her seminar Conspiracy Theory - traveled to New York to participate
in the taping of a two-hour question-and-answer session with former
White House intern Monica Lewinsky. The session will be televised
this fall as part of an HBO documentary, "ML in Black and White."
Lewinsky sat at the edge
of a stage, said Showalter, and fielded questions from the audience
that included students from other New York area schools. "There
was no moderator," Showalter added. "Ms. Lewinsky called
on people and answered every question, no holds barred."
Participants had to sign
confidentiality agreements barring public discussion of the show's
content. "It was a cross between a Barbara Walters special,
a Jerry Springer script, and a sleepover." said Anne Griffin
'01, "A semi-lit room, a determination to tell all, and one
semi-diva at the center of attention."
Three Princetonians were
recently recognized for their literary efforts. At the Hemingway
Foundation/ PEN Award ceremony in Boston in April, Akhil Sharma
'92 won the top award for a first book of fiction for his novel
An Obedient Father (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). Mohsin Hamid '93
was a runner-up with his novel Moth Smoke (Farrar, Straus and Giroux),
and Tom Paine '75 was a runner-up for his short-story collection
Scar Vegas and Other Stories (Harcourt Brace). An interview with
Akhil Sharma appears on our Web site (www.princeton. edu /~paw).
Sally McAlpin w'20 h'20
p'50 p*57, former secretary for the Class of 1920, died May 6. She
was 99. In the class's final note, which appeared in the September
10, 1997 PAW, she wrote: "Seven years ago I hesitantly took
on the class notes for '20 and became your honorary secretary, which
turned out to be great fun. Princeton had always been special to
me, from prom days on, and I enjoy writing, so it seemed like a
perfect combination. Writing this column has been a special corner
in my life. Now, at age 95, I find it is time to move on. How do
I feel about this? Well, a little sad. I am bound to miss the very
special relationship with all of you. It has been a privilege working
with you, and I want to thank you for all your kind words and encouragement
over the years and helping to bail me out with little tidbits when
I had a deadline to meet. It meant a lot to me. I will continue
to be a part of Princeton, but in a smaller, quieter way."
McAlpin is survived by at least 18 Princeton relatives.