Tuesday, October 19

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Looking ahead

A decade has passed since Harold T. Shapiro became president of the University, and these years have been, for the most part, good for Princeton. The school has avoided many pitfalls that have plagued other prestigious institutions, both within and outside the Ivy League – its finances are sound, its reputation in academic and public spheres has remained impeccable and the its balance of academics and athletics stands as a model for other universities to follow. Shapiro's effective leadership has helped make all of this possible.

Arguably the most salient events in Shapiro's career so far have been the 250th anniversary celebration and capital campaign. Shapiro has overseen the projects masterfully, and his performance has won over associates who were critical of his administrative skills early in his tenure.

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Shapiro is now presiding over a University that respects his judgment and is well-funded. He should use this unique opportunity to propel the University to the highest level of excellence it has ever attained. Shapiro will likely be remembered for completing ambitious physical projects, namely the Campus Center and football stadium, but his legacy could live on beyond his signature on commemorative plaques.

Following his inauguration and again five years into his presidency, the 'Prince' criticized Shapiro's lack of vision. If the president has a larger plan but has been afraid to rock the boat, he should not hesitate now. His program for teaching initiatives suggests a start – it reflects a commitment to improving undergraduate life, a commitment he has demonstrated through his teaching of undergraduates and his accessibility to students. Shapiro, however, must define a vision for the University himself. If and when he does, this University should be more than welcome to let him run with it. He has more than adequately proven himself in his first 10 years, and he should have a chance to flex his muscles in the years to come.

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