What’s on Shirley Tilghman’s mind these days?
Besides dealing with a $3.7 billion drop in the University’s endowment (thanks, Great Recession!), Tilghman said at this afternoon’s CPUC (Council for the Princeton University Community) meeting that moving ahead with establishing the nation’s premier neuroscience department is her biggest priority. Tilghman also said the lack of funding to renovate the soon-to-be vacant Frick Laboratory has been worrying her.
The construction of a neuroscience and psychology building below Icahn Laboratory was postponed after the economic climate turned sour, but Tilghman said she’s trying to secure enough alumni donations to break ground as soon as possible. She said the new building is “shovel-ready” and said it was urgent that the University take advantage of today’s historically low construction costs. (Basic Wall Street, y’all – buy low, sell high, you know?) Channeling Sarah Palin, Tilghman said she’s reaching out to a small group of loyal alumni benefactors “to get our ‘base’ energized,” though we’re not sure what this exactly means.
Tilghman’s also concerned about the soon-to-be vacant Frick Laboratory. (To be honest, I wouldn’t want to go in there anyway – those big chemical showers give me the creeps.) When the Chemistry Department moves into its new building next fall, the University had originally planned to convert Frick into a classroom space for the humanities and social sciences.
But Tilghman said recent cuts in the capital budget are going to force Frick to sit vacant for the foreseeable future. Of course, she’s also worried about the symbolism of an empty building in the middle of campus.
But Shirley Prez still seems optimistic. She said she’s been telling alumni that the past year’s been “Princeton’s finest hour” because the community came together during the difficult financial crisis (aww!). After two rounds of budget cuts, Tilghman said she doesn’t see any others in the near future. “We’re going to be just fine,” she said, “But we do want to keep moving forward.”
Our fearless leader!