Tilghman thrilled; ready to lead

May 5, 2001 3:05 p.m.

Speaking at a news conference to announce her election as Princeton's 19th President, Shirley M. Caldwell Tilghman described the thrill of having the opportunity to lead an institution that she said has become part of her blood.

"It is a deep honor and a privilege to serve this University that I love so well," said Tilghman, who has been the Howard A. Prior Professor of the Life Sciences and director of the University's Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics.

"I have loved being a scientist; I have loved being a faculty member of this University -- what allows me to think about leaving behind that part of my life and moving ahead to a new part is in fact my deep and abiding love for this institution and the thrill of having the chance to lead it," she said.

Tilghman said that her experiences serving on a range of University-wide committees have given her a deep appreciation of all facets of Princeton, from sciences to the humanities. She said in particular that during her service on the committee that oversees all faculty promotions and appointments she "made a transition in my heart from being an employee of this institution to being a Princetonian. I feel I have this institution in my blood."

Offering an enthusiastic introduction of Tilghman as the next President, outgoing President Harold T. Shapiro and University Trustee Robert H. Rawson, who chaired the selection committee, spoke of her singular abilities as a leader and her deep commitment to the ideals of scholarship, teaching and service.

"I would stake everything I've accomplished here at Princeton for what I think she will accomplish in the years ahead," said Shapiro.

"She has a passion and enthusiasm for whatever she does," said Rawson. "In particular, those passions extend to science, to the profession of teaching, to her students and to service, service to the University and service to the broader community. And if you look at that list you can see those passions align quite directly with those aspects of Princeton that those of us who are associated with it believe to be so distinctive about this university."

Tilghman will take office officially on June 15. She said she will use the next few months to talk with people from all parts of the University community to begin forming her priorities.

Contact: Marilyn Marks (609) 258-3601