June 6, 2001 President's Page

On Saturday, May 5, it was my great honor and pleasure to inform members of the campus community that the Board, acting on the unanimous and more than enthusiastic recommendation of the Presidential Search Committee, elected Shirley Tilghman, a member of the Princeton faculty since 1986, as the 19th President of Princeton University. Professor Tilghman will assume office on June 15, and a formal campus inauguration will take place early this fall.

I have known Shirley as a scientist whose research and scholarship are internationally recognized, as a distinguished teacher on campus, as an advocate for women as scientists, as a highly respected national leader in areas of central concern to higher education and the world of scholarship, and as a valued friend. Dr. Tilghman, who is the Howard A. Prior Professor of the Life Sciences, served twice on the Committee on Appointments and Advancements, the faculty committee that makes recommendations to the President regarding tenure and promotion of faculty. From 1993 through 2000, she chaired Princeton's Council on Science and Technology, which encourages the teaching of science and technology to students outside the sciences, and in 1996 she received Princeton's President's Award for Distinguished Teaching. Her teaching has ranged from first-year undergraduates to post-doctoral students, from science-based freshman seminars to a special science course for freshmen and sophomores who were not planning to major in the sciences.

Her career as a scientist and researcher is no less distinguished. Her own research has focused on mammalian genetics, in particular the role that genes play in the development of the mammalian embryo, and she was one of the architects of the national effort to map the entire human genome. In 1998 she assumed additional responsibilities as the founding director of Princeton's multi-disciplinary Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics. Professor Tilghman is renowned not only for her pioneering research, but for her national leadership on behalf of women in science and for promoting efforts to make the early careers of young scientists as meaningful and productive as possible.

Early reactions on and off campus to her appointment have been off the chart positive. Just after her election, that Saturday evening Professor Tilghman attended the Behrman Award Dinner, an annual event recognizing a member of the faculty in the humanities for a distinguished career of scholarship and teaching. Her attendance at the dinner, which recognized the Murray Professor of English Thomas P. Roche *58, turned the event into a double celebration--the guests, her faculty colleagues, gave her a joyful reception. The next afternoon, Vivian and I hosted an impromptu informal reception for Shirley on the lawn of the Frist Campus Center. Many members of the University community, including students, faculty, staff, and local alumni, stopped by to wish her well. It was a beautiful Princeton spring day--sunny and warm--and the reception she received matched the weather. There was a great outpouring of good wishes and terrific enthusiasm.

I have repeatedly heard praise for the Presidential Search Committee. The Trustees appointed a search committee composed of staff, faculty from all disciplines, and undergraduate and graduate students. This broad-based participation brought together different perspectives, as did the numerous interviews that members of the committee conducted on campus and with alumni and friends of the University and leaders of higher education around the country. All members of the University owe them, and especially Robert Rawson ' 66, chair of the committee and of the Trustee Executive Committee, a debt of gratitude for their intense effort and the extensive time they devoted to the search.

As director of the Institute for Integrative Genomics, Shirley has led a research enterprise that requires the integration of large amounts of information into a coherent whole. This experience will undoubtedly stand her in good stead as she takes charge of this complex and great university. Her success will be assured by her other outstanding professional achievements, by her character, and by her evident love of Princeton. As Bob Rawson commented, "She has something of the Tiger spirit in her, that spirit that only those of us close to the place can really understand."

Some of you have gotten to know Professor Tilghman through teaching and other programs for alumni on and off campus. One of her first appearances as President-elect was as leader of a program on the human genome project for the Class of 1943. In recent years she has traveled to speak with alumni in Boston, Charleston, Chicago, Jacksonville, Memphis, Montreal, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Savannah and Seattle. As I write this, I look forward to introducing her to alumni at Reunions where she will accompany me on my visits to classes and in the P-Rade. I know that Shirley will enjoy meeting and working with you just as I have.

This is my last President's Page, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many alumni who have written to me over the years about these pages. Most of all, I would like to express the deep gratitude that Vivian and I both feel for the support and for the friendship that you have offered us. The loyalty of Princeton alumni is legendary in higher education, and your concern that Princeton continue to excel runs exceptionally deep. I am extremely pleased that Shirley Tilghman will assume the presidency this June. I know all of you will join me in doing whatever we can to ensure the continued flourishing of Princeton.