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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[…]

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 that free public education has shaped education in the US, and that legislation that may raise tuition could lessen the accessibility for many to have a higher education.

Question: What forces that have shaped humanity most?

Transcript: I don’t think there is a single force. As a biologist I would have to begin with the force of evolution. Clearly I believe in evolution. I believe in the theory of natural selection. I think it’s had enormous impact on who we are as a species and where we are today. I believe in the power of technology. I think particularly if you look at the history of human endeavor, you could write that history based on the kinds of technological advances, you know, from the Bronze Age on. The first time someone picked up a stick and realized it could be a tool, to what is happening today in . . . with the Internet, for example. I think that has been a tremendous, tremendous force that has affected the way we have developed as a species. I think the other would be the move away from subsistence to creating excess, which is another way of saying the ability to move from living hand-to-mouth to finally creating wealth. And what wealth allowed individuals to do both in terms of creating a greater comfort in the way we live; but I think also in allowing us the leisure time that allows us as humans to create art, for example.