Tilghman receives warm reception

May 7, 2001 5:17 p.m.

Incoming President Shirley Tilghman basked in hugs, handshakes and congratulations as several hundred members of the University community greeted her at a reception in her honor Sunday.

Tilghman is "a blue bird of happiness found in our midst," said Malcolm Steinberg, the Henry Fairfield Osborn Professor of Biology and a colleague of Tilghman's in the molecular biology department. "She not only has the intellectual qualities for this job but also the personal skills to carry it off."

The line of students and staff waiting to greet Tilghman on the south lawn of the Frist Campus Center often stretched to 30 or 40 people, snaking between two white tents set up on the lawn. Faculty and staff members brought spouses, parents, children and babies to welcome the newly selected president. Alumni and members of the general Princeton community also were part of the crowd.

The reception was hosted by President Harold T. Shapiro and Vivian Shapiro. Former Princeton President Robert Goheen attended as well.

Nicole Clouse, a first-year graduate student, came to greet the new president along with several fellow students in Tilghman's developmental biology class. Clouse had tears in her eyes as she gave Tilghman a big hug.

"She's been my role model since I've been a teenager," Clouse said. "She's the person I looked up to and saw that I could succeed in science." Clouse had mixed emotions as she offered Tilghman congratulations on her new role. "I'm thrilled for her, but I'm sad," she said, explaining her tears. "I was going to join her lab."

Also on hand was Tilghman's daughter, Rebecca, a member of the class of 2002. Of her mother, Rebecca Tilghman said, "I'm very proud of her."

Several students said they were thrilled that Princeton was getting its first female president. "I think it's really important to have a woman president," said Dillon Teachout '01. "It's really important for Princeton to set that example."

Those who have worked with her during her time at Princeton praised Tilghman for her unflagging devotion to the University. "She's got energy and enthusiasm that's infectious," said math and physics librarian Mitchell Brown.

Dana Guyer '02, who works in Tilghman's lab, said she is "really approachable and interested. She's going to do a great job."

Richard Spies, vice president for finance and administration, was delighted by the size of the crowd assembled to greet Tilghman. "Just the fact that there are this many people here is an indication of the excitement" about her appointment, he said.

Contact: Marilyn Marks (609) 258-3601