Message from the Dean


In many ways, the fall semester is a time for new beginnings. As I extend a warm welcome to incoming and returning students this academic year, I relate on a personal level to the sense of potential that echoes throughout campus. In starting my tenure as the Dean of the Graduate School, I also find myself reflecting on the idea of possibilities.

When I was a graduate student, the faculty, my fellow students, and the professionals with whom I shared my journey taught me to be bold and ambitious. They also showed me that I wasn’t on this path alone. As I developed the passion underpinning my research, I situated myself within an environment of support that has proven to be transformational at every stage of my career. If I can offer one piece of advice to carry with you this semester, it is this: be courageous and deepen your own ecosystem of support with a sense of curiosity. 

Regardless of the specifics of your path to Princeton, the connections you make here personally and academically will sustain you as you define your identity as an academic, as a professional, and as a global citizen. This is a place where many paths are open and new intersections are continually forged. It makes this a fascinating place to be.

In recent times, of course, change has been a throughline in graduate education. It is also a powerful source of inspiration that activates creative thinking and accelerates breakthroughs in research and scholarship. At its root, this underscores the unique texture of the Princeton Graduate School experience. Every day, our students bring vision, an innovative spirit, and a sense of accountability to their work, advancing scholarly knowledge within and between disciplines while devising new solutions to the world’s most pressing needs. The work that graduate students do here every day is key to activating the University’s informal motto: Princeton in the nation’s service and the service of humanity. 

With that in mind, it is incumbent upon us as an institution to continue to invest thoughtfully and with a sense of purpose. Collectively, we are cultivating an environment in which everyone is empowered to push their fields forward, producing fundamental research with transformational global impact. We are deepening our financial commitment to every graduate student while expanding investment in professional development opportunities that seamlessly blend academic life with community and career engagement. In everything we do, we are also centering diversity of all forms, informing an ever more inclusive, accessible Princeton that amplifies the plurality of perspectives necessary to achieve true innovation. 

Some of this work is well underway. Some of it will continue to evolve in the months and years to come. As we consider the possibilities, it is an honor to take on this role and work in the midst of such inspired and visionary talent. I look forward to partnering with you as we set our sights on what’s next.


Dean Priestley