Shirley M. Tilghman

Princeton University
Molecular biologist; Educator; Academic administrator
Biological Sciences
Cellular and Developmental Biology

Shirley M. Tilghman was on the faculty of Princeton University for fifteen years before serving as President from May 2001 to July 2013. She is now President Emerita and Professor of Molecular Biology and Public Affairs Emerita. Prior to becoming President, Tilghman's research was focused on mammalian developmental genetics, and she now writes on science and education policy. At Princeton she was an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the founding director of the University's Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics. Tilghman's presidency placed an emphasis on increasing the diversity of Princeton's faculty and students; widening access to the university through improvements to its generous financial aid program and the elimination of admission through "early decision"; fostering a multidisciplinary approach to teaching and research; and strengthening the university's international perspective through a wide range of initiatives - from the Global Scholars Program, which brings international scholars to campus on a recurring basis, to the Bridge Year Program, which gives incoming freshmen an opportunity to defer their studies for a year in order to devote themselves to public service overseas. In 2002, Tilghman was one of five winners of the L'Oréal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science. Other awards include the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for Developmental Biology (2003) and the Genetics Society of America Medal (2007). Tilghman is a member of the American Philosophical Society, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine), and the Royal Society of London. In 2014 she became an Officer of the Order of Canada. She also serves as a trustee of Amherst College, the Institute for Advanced Study, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and the Simons Foundation, and is a Fellow of the Harvard Corporation. She also served for 12 years as a director of Alphabet (formerly Google Inc.). In 2015 she was President of the American Society for Cell Biology. She was elected a Fellow (Class II:2) of the American Academy in 1990 and served on the Class II:1 membership panel. She was a member of the Lincoln Project advisory committee, the New Models for U.S. Science and Technology Policy project, and the Commission on the Future of Undergraduate Education. She currently serves as a member of the Academy’s Board of Directors, Council, and Finance Committee.

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