Tilghman sees diversity in higher education as imperative. She believes it impacts the quality of a liberal arts education through the diversity of ideas be it religious or cultural. Shirley wants Princeton to deliver a quality education, and can only truly do so with a diverse population.
I think diversity is embedded in what I would consider a really impactful liberal arts education. What I often say to the freshman class is that you are here at this university to encounter the ‘other’ – to encounter what you have not encountered in your first 18 years of life. Some of that is going to be ideas – ideas you have never encountered, a diversity of ideas. Some of it is going to be the people that you encounter, including people from other cultures, from other countries, from other religious traditions. And they are gonna play as an important role in your education, your broadening of your vision as what you’re going to read in books. So if we were to suddenly eliminate all of the ways in which we are trying to make Princeton a more diverse place, I would argue that the quality of the education we provide would plummet. Recorded on: 8/7/07