Monday, August 3, 2009

Meeting the President of Princeton University

Princeton University President Shirley Tilghman speaks to student Emery Ahoua of Newark, New Jersey after her talk. (Photo Credit: Brian Rokus '99).

By Melissa Sanchez (Queens, NY)

Walking to the Friend Center in the early afternoon to begin our research for our feature articles, we crossed paths with a rather enthusiastic woman. Smiling widely and laughing in a light, nonchalant manner she called out to Chanakya (Chan) Sethi '07, a counselor at the program and former editor-in-chief of The Daily Princetonian. Caught by surprise, he fell back from the group to greet her. The whole exchange took just a moment and I remember thinking how she, like all those whom I have met in my last few days here, seemed very willing to speak to whomever she chanced to meet around the campus.

Chan, once again, joined our group and I took the chance to ask whether she was an old professor of his or someone who would be speaking to us in the coming days. He responded simply with, “Well…that’s the President…” Probably, the last person I expected her to be.

Later that day, as she sat before us answering our questions, it was interesting to find that my first impression of her had not been entirely far from the truth. She was genuinely enthusiastic about speaking to us. She responded to all our questions candidly and with an openness which made her presence felt. President Shirley Tilghman proved an animated and engaging character -- something which counselors and students alike seemed to appreciate.

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