Harold Tafler Shapiro

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Harold Tafler Shapiro
President of Princeton University
In office
Preceded by William G. Bowen
Succeeded by Shirley Tilghman
Personal details
Born (1935-06-08) June 8, 1935 (age 86)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Harold Tafler Shapiro, Ph.D (born June 8, 1935) is a former president of Princeton University and of the University of Michigan.


Born in Montreal, Quebec Harold Shapiro attended Lower Canada College, a prestigious independent school in Montreal, then trained as an economist, earning his B.Comm from the McGill University Desautels Faculty of Management and his Ph.D from Princeton University's economics department in 1964. His parents owned the famous Ruby Foo's in Montreal. After his father's death while Shapiro was a teenager the restaurant was passed down to him and his brother, Bernard. He managed the restaurant while studying at McGill University. He joined the faculty of the University of Michigan in 1964 and held a variety of academic and administrative appointments until his selection as president of that university in 1980, a position he held until he moved to Princeton in 1988. As Princeton's president, he oversaw the largest increase in the university endowment in the history of the school.

Shapiro was made a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1990. He announced his retirement from the presidency of Princeton in Fall 2000. Shirley Tilghman, his successor, took office on June 15 of the following year.

Shapiro continues to live in Princeton, and is professor emeritus in the departments of economics and public policy at the University. He is trustee emeritus of the Institute for Advanced Study. His present academic interests include bioethics, on which he writes extensively. Shapiro chaired the National Bioethics Advisory Commission during President Bill Clinton's second term. He also sits on the boards of a number of prominent nonprofit ventures, including HCA (founded by the Frist family, which donated the Frist Campus Center to Princeton), the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. He is a fellow of the Hastings Center, an independent bioethics research institution.[1] He also served on the United States Olympic Committee for a number of years, and was a director of Dow Chemical Company.[2]

He is the twin brother of Bernard Shapiro, first Ethics Commissioner of Canada and former Principal and Vice-Chancellor of McGill University.

Personal life

Harold Shapiro has been married to Vivian Shapiro for 53 years. Together they have four children: Anne, Marilyn, Janet and Karen. They also have 11 grandchildren. Vivian was a practicing psychologist and earned her PhD. His daughter, Janet, is a professor of psychology and social work at the School of Social Work at Bryn Mawr College.


  1. The Hastings Center Hastings Center Fellows. Accessed November 6, 2010
  2. "White House Office of Science and Technology Proceedings 25th Anniversary Symposium" (PDF). Massachusetts Institute of Technology. May 1, 2001.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
Academic offices
Preceded by
Allan Frederick Smith
President of the University of Michigan
Succeeded by
Robben Wright Fleming
Preceded by
William G. Bowen
President of Princeton University
Succeeded by
Shirley Tilghman