Shirley Tilghman is stepping down as president of Princeton University, reports The Chronicle of Higher Education. Tilghman, who was appointed in 2001, was the first female president of Princeton and the first with a background in science.
While at the helm, Tilghman focused on hiring female faculty members and establishing a center for African-America studies. She recently oversaw a fundraising effort that brought in $1.88 billion, the Chronicle says. But now, she says it is time to leave. "It is time for Princeton to turn to its 20th president to chart the path for the next decade and beyond," Tilghman wrote in an email to the school. She plans to take a year's leave before re-joining the Princeton faculty.
The Chronicle notes that the first female presidents of Brown University and the Massachusetts Institutes of Technology, Ruth Simmons and Susan Hockfield, also recently stepped down. Judith Rodin, the former president of the University of Pennsylvania and the first female president of an Ivy League school, departed in 2004 and was replaced by Amy Gutmann.