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Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson GS ’86 announced her resignation on Thursday, igniting speculation that she may be in the running to replace outgoing University President Shirley Tilghman. 

Jackson, who served as the head of the EPA for four years, has not made any official comment on her future plans. However, The Washington Post reported last week that she has entered into talks with University officials and that "her name is among those being floated as possible candidates for the presidency of Princeton."

Jackson, who earned her master's degree in chemical engineering from Princeton, has been an active University alumna. She returned to campus in February to accept the James Madison Medal — the highest honor bestowed on a graduate alumnus — and spoke about the need for more women in science. Jackson was also on campus in spring 2011 for the "She Roars" conference, which celebrated female graduates.

Jackson was the first African-American appointed to the EPA chairmanship, and under her leadership the EPA passed its first-ever regulations on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. 

However, her term was also marked by controversy. Under Jackson, the EPA engaged in frequent confrontations with the industries it attempted to regulate — and with Republicans in Congress. She has also faced criticism from the political left for being unable to enact what was originally a much more ambitious set of environmental policy goals.

Although the search committee will make its official recommendation next year, Jackson’s name has been only one of several mentioned as a potential presidential pick. Others include University Provost Christopher Eisgruber ’83, Wilson School professor and former dean Anne-Marie Slaughter ’80 and former general and CIA Director David Petraeus GS ’87.

The search committee will make a recommendation to the University’s Board of Trustees in the spring.

Jackson has also been mentioned as a potential candidate for governor of New Jersey.

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