Each spring, one member of the graduating senior class is elected to serve a four-year term on Princeton University's Board of Trustees. He or she joins the three other Young Alumni Trustees (YAT) on the Board, who were elected during their respective senior years. The current Young Alumni Trustees are Myesha Jemison ’18, Achille Tenkiang '17, and Azza Cohen '16, and, ending his term on June 30, 2019, Tumi Akinlawon '15.
The Young Alumni Trustee position was created in 1969 to ensure that the Board would always include four members with recent experience as undergraduates. As explicitly stated at the time and reaffirmed ever since, Young Alumni Trustees have the same rights, powers and duties as all other trustees and take the same oath to "faithfully, impartially and justly" perform the duties of the office of trustee.
Young Alumni Trustees play two essential roles on the Board:
- Like all other trustees, the Young Alumni Trustees' first obligation is to best serve the long-term interests of the University as they understand them after weighing all the evidence available to them;
- Having graduated recently, the Young Alumni Trustees provide a perspective on the issues before the Board informed by their experience as students and their knowledge of the needs, concerns, and interests of the current generation of Princeton undergraduates.
The trustees have delegated responsibility for administering the alumni trustee elections to the Office of Alumni Affairs. The election process has been designed to identify and elect candidates who will be effective as individual trustees, and who will contribute to the effective working of the board as a whole.
The most effective trustees are those who have open minds, who are willing to work hard, and who are interested in finding constructive solutions to the challenges facing the University. A trustee must be willing to consider all sides of an issue impartially and to speak candidly on an issue, even if it involves a particularly controversial topic.
Enrolled members of the senior class are eligible to vote in the primary election, and enrolled members of the junior and senior classes and members of the two most recently graduated classes are eligible to vote in the general election for Young Alumni Trustees. While Young Alumni Trustees are elected by a defined subset of the alumni body, their "constituency" on the Board is not their electorate, but the University as a whole.