Nassau Hall

Six elected to Princeton Board of Trustees

Princeton University has named six members to its Board of Trustees, effective July 1.

The trustees are:

  • Yan Huo and Laura Bilodeau Overdeck, who were elected by the board to serve four years as term trustees;
  • Beth Cobert, Ann Kirschner and Melanie Lawson, who were elected by alumni to serve four years as alumni trustees;
  • and Achille Tenkiang, who was elected by the junior, senior and two youngest alumni classes to serve four years as a young alumni trustee.

Biographical information about the new trustees follows.

Cobert, of Denver, was appointed in April 2017 as chief executive officer of Skillful, a Markle Foundation initiative focused on creating a skills-based labor market to help more Americans connect to meaningful job opportunities in the digital age. Until January, Cobert was President Obama's acting director of the Office of Personnel Management and, from 2013-15, served as deputy director for management and U.S. chief performance officer with the Office of Management and Budget. A 1980 graduate of Princeton, she received her MBA from Stanford Business School and embarked on a 29-year career at McKinsey & Company, where she became a leader in people management and a champion for women's advancement to leadership positions. Cobert is on the board of directors of CBRE Group and has served on the boards of the San Francisco Ballet and the United Way of the Bay Area.

Huo, of London, is managing partner and chief investment officer of Capula Investment Management LLP. Prior to co-founding Capula in 2005, he spent most of his professional career at JPMorgan, where he worked in its Derivatives Research and Proprietary Positioning Business. Huo is a member of the board of directors for Teach For China and a trustee of Fudan University. He received a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Princeton in 1994 and a B.S. from Fudan University.

Kirschner, of New York City, is University Professor and special adviser to the chancellor, strategic partnerships, at the City University of New York. A veteran of four start-ups in cable, satellite, and online communications, she was the first digital strategist for the National Football League. A pioneer in e-learning, Kirschner founded the online knowledge portal FATHOM with Columbia University, the London School of Economics, and other leading institutions. She writes on innovation and technology in higher education and has published two books, including "Sala's Gift," the story of her mother's wartime experiences as a Holocaust survivor. A leader in corporate and nonprofit service, Kirschner is on the board of Strategic Cyber Ventures, the Paul and Daisy Soros Foundation, FIRSTnyc, and Public Agenda. She earned her B.A. at the State University of New York-Buffalo and M.A. at the University of Virginia. In 1978, Kirschner completed her Ph.D. in English at Princeton as a Whiting Fellow in the Humanities and later served on the faculty as a lecturer in Victorian literature.

Lawson, of Houston, has been a journalist and television news anchor with KTRK-TV, Houston's ABC affiliate, for more than 30 years. She earned an A.B. from Princeton in 1976 and an M.A. and J.D. from Columbia. Lawson spent three years as an attorney with a Wall Street firm that specialized in First Amendment law before realizing that she'd "rather be a reporter than represent one." Known for her in-depth interviews with luminaries ranging from presidents to poets, and the winner of numerous awards and three Emmys for her reporting, Lawson serves on the boards of numerous organizations including the Houston Ballet, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Houston Museum of African American Culture and the Children's Defense Fund.

Overdeck, of Short Hills, New Jersey, is the founder of Bedtime Math, a nonprofit organization that aims to help children love math. In addition to being a social entrepreneur, she is chair of the Overdeck Family Foundation, which supports math/science education reform, and board vice chair of the Liberty Science Center. Overdeck also sits on the advisory boards of the Khan Academy, Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, Governor’s School of New Jersey and Science Friday. She received her A.B. from Princeton in 1991 and an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business.

Tenkiang, of Bear, Delaware, graduated from Princeton in 2017 with an independent concentration in African studies and development, and certificates in urban studies and French. One of four seniors this year to win the Henry Richardson Labouisse '26 Prize to pursue international civic engagement efforts, Tenkiang will travel to Nairobi for his fellowship to tackle the question of cultural production among urban refugees. He is a founding member of BLOC, an online professional network for historically disadvantaged collegians of color, and a founder of the Roots Scholars Program, which promotes education access in Cameroon. A PIIRS Undergraduate Fellow in 2016 and a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow in 2015, Tenkiang served as co-president of the African Students Association, co-founder of the Black Leadership Coalition, and member of Princeton's Task Force on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. He also was a peer academic adviser at Wilson College and a member of the Umqombothi African Music Ensemble, Ellipses Slam Poetry Team and the Dorobucci Dance Team.

Completing their terms as trustees on June 30 are Victoria Baum Bjorklund '73, Denny Chin '75, Steven Leach '82, Kanwal Matharu '13, Margarita Rosa '74 and Sheryl WuDunn *88.