New York University President John Sexton today bestowed an honorary doctorate on Shirley Tilghman, the president of Princeton University and a renowned molecular biologist, at NYU’s 173rd Commencement Exercises in Washington Square Park. Some 19,000 graduates, faculty, staff, and guests attended the morning ceremony. Dr. Tilghman also gave “Remarks on Behalf of the Honorary Degree Recipients” at the Commencement Exercises.

The following citation was read in conferring the Doctor of Science degree, honoris causa, on Shirley Tilghman:

Shirley M. Tilghman-first as a member of the science faculty of Princeton University and then as the first woman to become its president, you are leading that great university in pacesetting directions even as you have encouraged the teaching of science and technology to Princeton students outside those fields. Yours is a powerful and eloquent voice in the nation on behalf of women in science, and you have moved boldly and creatively to put a Princeton education within the reach of every talented student regardless of need, using the formidable assets of your university to substitute grants for loans. One of the foremost geneticists of your generation and leader in the field of molecular biology, you have contributed significantly to the understanding of genetic imprinting in mammals. You have demonstrated how, during embryonic development, certain genes express themselves differently depending on whether they have been transmitted by the father or by the mother. A member of the National Research Council’s committee that set the blueprint for the U.S. effort in the Human Genome Project, you have also won the L’Oreal-UNESCO Award For Women in Science and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Developmental Biology.

Shirley M. Tilghman-brilliant scientist, gifted teacher, esteemed leader of a great university, your contributions to our nation’s research enterprise are profound. By virtue of the authority vested in me, I am pleased to confer upon you the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa.