Dinner with 12 Tigers featuring Kamil Ali-Jackson '81

Mar 29, 2019, 6:00 pm7:30 pm
  • Graduate Students
  • Undergraduate Students


Event Description

Meet Kamil Ali-Jackson '81. She's coming back to campus for a dinner to talk with students about her experience at Princeton, her career path in law, entrepreneurship and pharmaceuticals, and navigating from the "safe, successful" job space to one of more uncertainty.

Dinner with 12 Tigers is a series that bring together current students and alumni of similar underrepresented backgrounds (race, identity, culture, first-gen, low socioeconomic status and more) for candid conversation over a meal. All undergraduate and graduate students are welcome. Space is limited for this event so RSVP soon!


Kamil Ali-Jackson '81 is an Army brat. She was born in El Paso, Texas and lived in various states in the U.S. and in Okinawa, Japan. Her father enlisted in the U.S. Army at the age of 16 and eventually obtained his GED. Her mother was a high school graduate who never reached her full potential. She suffered from bi-polar disorder her entire life and ultimately died from kidney failure due to the medicine she took to control her mental illness. Her father and all of her siblings are avid readers. Excelling in everything you do, maintaining your own high standards, and always continuing to learn are the principles that were ingrained in her and her siblings. Her mother’s favorite saying was "Nothing beats a failure but a try."

Her father became a manager of a book store at an historically black college and her mother was a homemaker, who was institutionalized, many times, throughout Kamil’s childhood and teenage years. Kamil learned from her mother to never be embarrassed about anything including mental illness.

In the Army, her father lived in a world of meritocracy and told his four daughters that they could do and be anything as long as they worked harder than anyone else. Eventually, Kamil learned this was fiction, not fact.

Kamil majored in politics and earned a certificate in theatre and dance and Afro-American Studies. After Princeton, Kamil attended Harvard Law School and graduated in 1984.

Kamil’s first failure was not receiving a permanent job offer after a summer law clerkship from a “white shoe” law firm in New York City. As a result, after graduating from Harvard, she worked for the largest law firm in Newark, New Jersey. 

She moved to Philadelphia when she married her husband in 1985 and worked for Pepper, Hamilton & Scheetz, a prominent Philadelphia law firm. In 1990, Kamil eventually left private law practice and took a job with Merck & Co., Inc. At Merck, Kamil evolved from a products liability lawyer to an international transactions lawyer and licensing business executive. Unwilling to compromise her personal ethics, Kamil eventually left Merck and joined a small pharmaceutical company. Her decision to leave was the beginning of a life as a serial entrepreneur that she never imagined for herself.

Kamil has co-founded several small pharmaceutical companies and has sold two of those companies to large pharmaceutical companies. Kamil is currently a co-founder, the Chief Legal Officer, Chief Compliance Officer and Secretary of Aclaris Therapeutics, Inc., a small pharmaceutical company which specializes in developing and commercializing dermatology and immunology products. Kamil is also a co-founder and member of Nexeption, a biopharmaceutical assets management company which manages a portfolio of small privately held pharmaceutical companies.

Kamil currently resides with her husband in West Chester, Pa. She is the mother of one son (deceased) and three daughters. Her oldest daughter, is practicing corporate law in California, her second Princeton Tiger daughter is teaching English in Hong Kong as part of the Princeton in Asia program and will attend UPenn Law school in 2019. Her third daughter is a freshman at UPenn. So far, the Princeton Tigers outnumber the Penn Quakers in her household.

Kamil welcomes sharing the trials and tribulations of one Princeton Tiger’s ordinary life with the extraordinary students of Princeton.