Video feature: Looking back on 12 years of Tilghman's presidency at Princeton

June 24, 2013 noon
Tilghman tribute index

Photo by Denise Applewhite

Shirley M. Tilghman, who took office on June 15, 2001, will step down as president of Princeton University with the close of the academic year on Sunday. In this video, Tilghman looks back on her accomplishments over her 12 years as the 19th president of the University and looks ahead to returning to the faculty after a year's sabbatical.

The video also features perspectives on Tilghman and the legacy she leaves from several people, including Chair of the Board of Trustees Kathryn Hall, Dean of the College Valerie Smith and former dean Nancy Malkiel, Professor of English Jeff Nunokawa, and Provost Christopher L. Eisgruber, who will succeed Tilghman on July 1.

In its tribute to Tilghman, the video highlights many of the occasions that have defined her presidency. From presiding over campus events to teaching class to traveling the world on behalf of Princeton, the images and words give a glimpse of Tilghman's leadership. The video also features her farewell reception, infused with laughter and Princeton spirit.

Tilghman announced her intention to retire in September.

"I've loved this job," Tilghman said. "I've loved it from the moment I began till, I'm sure, when I step off the stage on June 30. It's been immensely rewarding. It's great to see progress in real time, and to be able to see the University get better each and every day."

A world-renowned scholar and leader in the field of molecular biology, Tilghman served on the Princeton faculty for 15 years before the trustees appointed her president on May 5, 2001.

During her time as Princeton's leader, Tilghman oversaw significant developments, including: expanding the undergraduate student body and launching the four-year residential college system; greatly increasing the number of students on financial aid and more than doubling the average aid they receive; creating a master plan for the future development of the campus, including a major project for the arts now in the first stage of construction; creating new academic facilities for neuroscience and psychology and establishing centers for African American studies and energy and the environment; and expanding international opportunities for students, as well as partnerships with research institutions around the world. Her tenure also included the successful completion of the five-year Aspire campaign, which raised a record $1.88 billion for the University.