Skip to content

Shirley Tilghman

Molecular Biologist; Pres., Princeton University

Shirley Tilghman is the nineteenth president of Princeton University, and is the first woman to hold the position. Tilghman served on the Princeton faculty for fifteen years before being named President. A native of Canada, Tilghman was educated at Queen's University and Temple University. She is a renowned molecular biologist, known particularly for her pioneering research in mammalian developmental genetics. She served as a member of the National Research Council's committee that set the blueprint for the U.S. effort in the Human Genome Project and was one of the founding members of the National Advisory Council of the Human Genome Project Initiative for the National Institutes of Health.

In 2002, Tilghman was one of five winners of the L'Oréal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science.  In the following year, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for Developmental Biology, and in 2007, she was awarded the Genetics Society of America Medal for outstanding contributions to her field.  Tilghman is a member of the American Philosophical Society, the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the Royal Society of London. She chairs the Association of American Universities and serves as a trustee of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, and as a director of Google Inc.

Immigration

As an immigrant, Tilghman is a supporter of welcoming students to the U.S. to study, and giving them the opportunity to stay and contribute to the well being and economy […]
1 min
with

Africa

Tilghman says that Africa is being completely left out of globalization plans and it is troubling to her how that will play out in the end.

Big Ideas

Tilghman is inspired by big ideas and the execution of them. She knows that big ideas come with obstacles, and likes to encounter people who see beyond the small details […]
1 min
with

Science in America

Tilghman feels as though financing research in science, which used to be a social contract, is declining among universities. She links economic vitality with research and development, and sees the […]
2 min
with

Women in Science

Tilghman’s father encouraged her to follow her dream and her interest in math and science. She also thinks it is of great importance for people and universities to encourage all […]
3 min
with

Re: What is your counsel?

Tilghman says that collectively we should be talking, globally, to improve understanding, to cooperate and collaborate to find common ground. Individually we should be educating ourselves about the issues to […]
2 min
with

Re: What is your outlook?

Tilghman considers herself an optimist, but does feel globally optimistic. She doesn’t feel that the right people are stepping up to leadership, and can’t see solutions to major issues because […]
2 min
with

Re: Who are we?

Tilghman says that there are many forces that have shaped humanity such as evolution, natural selection, technology, the Internet, and our ability to create a more comfortable environment. She feels […]
4 min
with

Re: Who are you?

Tilghman was born and grew up in Toronto, Canada. She feels that Canada's policies of putting the group before the individual has definitely influenced her. She also mentions that her […]
1 min
with