Rose Li *92 P18
Rose Li *92 arrived on the board of the Association of Princeton Graduate Alumni in 2006 and immediately got to work. During her first two years she sat on three committees and chaired a fourth, the APGA Committee on Regional Affairs, creating a regional network for graduate alumni through events around the globe.
Eager to take advantage of her leadership skills, the board elevated Rose to Vice President (2008-10) and President (2010-12). A former APGA board member marvels that during those four years Rose “almost single-handedly helped to transform, enhance and reinvent the APGA.” Rose credits Bill Bowen’s The Board Book in guiding her in reforming the structure of the board into a more streamlined and strategic governing body. She brought her University of Chicago MBA and shrewd negotiating skills to getting the APGA’s fiscal house in order. As one senior University administrator allowed, “It’s hard to say ‘no’ to Rose.”
In the fall of 2009, Rose took on the challenge of raising graduate alumni visibility in the University’s planning. She volunteered to be the Executive Director of a commission, made up of noted graduate alumni leaders and University staff, that would perform a data-driven comprehensive review of graduate alumni relations. Under Rose’s management, the Commission had its first meeting in November, met through the early months of 2010, and in June presented their report with its nine recommendations to President Shirley Tilghman and the Board of Trustees. The report resulted in significant changes for integrating the APGA fully into alumni affairs. The process also must hold the record among all U.S. higher ed institutions for its speed from start to finish!
Having exceeded expectations in that endeavor, Rose did it again with engineering “Many Minds, Many Stripes,” the graduate alumni conference held on campus in October of 2013. With nearly 1,000 in attendance, it remains the largest gathering of Princeton graduate alumni anywhere.
After her eight years of APGA board service, Rose shifted her Princeton volunteering closer to her Maryland home, much to the delight of the Princeton Club of Washington, DC. She joined the club’s board and now once again gives her time and energy – and even her home, where she frequently hosts new student receptions and regional Asian American Alumni Association of Princeton events. Rose was the key driver for a summer series on Asian Americans and Civic Engagement that spanned four events at the University Club. Rose herself raised funds so that the series could be more affordable for participants. The panels featured Washington, DC, “super stars” who also had fallen prey to an inability to “say no to Rose”!
Rose does all of this while also running her own business, founded in 2003, that provides research and communication services to such clients as the NIH and the CDC. She holds appointments to the Maryland Commission on Aging and the Maryland State Board of Education. She even ran for state representative.
And she has a family. Daughter Samantha ’18 shares how she has had first-hand experience with the extent of Rose’s work for the University. Whenever anyone on campus -- whether student, graduate, or administrator -- realized that she was Rose’s daughter, they would exclaim, “Your mother is incredible!” To Sam, it was clear “how many people she had touched and how they all respected her so much.”
When Rose was once asked why she answered the call to volunteer, she said she was indebted to Princeton for the scholarship and resources she received from the Woodrow Wilson School as a student and for the Princeton connections that have served her so well, long past her student years.
In turn, the University is indebted to you, Rose. Princeton has been served well by your astute leadership, your generous spirit and your undaunted dedication