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Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Established in 1636 and named for its first benefactor, clergyman John Harvard, Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and among the most prestigious in the world.
The Massachusetts colonial legislature, the General Court, authorized Harvard's founding. In its early years, Harvard College primarily trained Congregational and Unitarian clergy, although it has never been formally affiliated with any denomination. Its curriculum and student body were gradually secularized during the 18th century, and by the 19th century, Harvard had emerged as the central cultural establishment among the Boston elite. Following the American Civil War, President Charles William Eliot's long tenure (1869–1909) transformed the college and affiliated professional schools into a modern research university; Harvard became a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900. James B. Conant led the university through the Great Depression and World War II; he liberalized admissions after the war.
The university is composed of ten academic faculties plus the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Arts and Sciences offers study in a wide range of academic disciplines for undergraduates and for graduates, while the other faculties offer only graduate degrees, mostly professional. Harvard has three main campuses: the 209-acre (85 ha) Cambridge campus centered on Harvard Yard; an adjoining campus immediately across the Charles River in the Allston neighborhood of Boston; and the medical campus in Boston's Longwood Medical Area. Harvard's endowment is valued at $41.9 billion, making it the largest of any academic institution. Endowment income helps enable the undergraduate college to admit students regardless of financial need and provide generous financial aid with no loans. The Harvard Library is the world's largest academic library system, comprising 79 individual libraries holding about 20.4 million items.
Harvard has more alumni, faculty, and researchers who have won Nobel Prizes (161) and Fields Medals (18) than any other university in the world and more alumni who have been members of the U.S. Congress, MacArthur Fellows, Rhodes Scholars (375), and Marshall Scholars (255) than any other university in the United States. Its alumni also include eight U.S. presidents and 188 living billionaires, the most of any university. Fourteen Turing Award laureates have been Harvard affiliates. Students and alumni have also won 10 Academy Awards, 48 Pulitzer Prizes, and 108 Olympic medals (46 gold), and they have founded many notable companies.
Harvard was established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1638, it acquired British North America's first known printing press. In 1639, it was named Harvard College after deceased clergyman John Harvard, an alumnus of the University of Cambridge who had left the school £779 and his library of some 400 volumes. The charter creating the Harvard Corporation was granted in 1650.
A 1643 publication gave the school's purpose as "to advance learning and perpetuate it to posterity, dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches when our present ministers shall lie in the dust." It trained many Puritan ministers in its early years and offered a classic curriculum based on the English university model—many leaders in the colony had attended the University of Cambridge—but conformed to the tenets of Puritanism. Harvard has never affiliated with any particular denomination, though many of its earliest graduates went on to become clergymen in Congregational and Unitarian churches.
Increase Mather served as president from 1681 to 1701. In 1708, John Leverett became the first president who was not also a clergyman, marking a turning of the college away from Puritanism and toward intellectual independence.
In the 19th century, Enlightenment ideas of reason and free will were widespread among Congregational ministers, putting those ministers and their congregations in tension with more traditionalist, Calvinist parties.:1–4 When Hollis Professor of Divinity David Tappan died in 1803 and President Joseph Willard died a year later, a struggle broke out over their replacements. Henry Ware was elected to the Hollis chair in 1805, and the liberal Samuel Webber was appointed to the presidency two years later, signaling the shift from the dominance of traditional ideas at Harvard to the dominance of liberal, Arminian ideas.:4–5:24
Charles William Eliot, president 1869–1909, eliminated the favored position of Christianity from the curriculum while opening it to student self-direction. Though Eliot was the crucial figure in the secularization of American higher education, he was motivated not by a desire to secularize education but by Transcendentalist Unitarian convictions influenced by William Ellery Channing and Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Programs in the study of French and Spanish languages began in 1816 with George Ticknor as its first professor.
In the 20th century, Harvard's reputation grew as a burgeoning endowment and prominent professors expanded the university's scope. Rapid enrollment growth continued as new graduate schools were begun and the undergraduate college expanded. Radcliffe College, established in 1879 as the female counterpart of Harvard College, became one of the most prominent schools for women in the United States. Harvard became a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900.
The student body in the early decades of the century was predominantly "old-stock, high-status Protestants, especially Episcopalians, Congregationalists, and Presbyterians." A 1923 proposal by President A. Lawrence Lowell that Jews be limited to 15% of undergraduates was rejected, but Lowell did ban blacks from freshman dormitories.
President James B. Conant reinvigorated creative scholarship to guarantee Harvard's preeminence among research institutions. He saw higher education as a vehicle of opportunity for the talented rather than an entitlement for the wealthy, so Conant devised programs to identify, recruit, and support talented youth. In 1943, he asked the faculty to make a definitive statement about what general education ought to be, at the secondary as well as at the college level. The resulting Report, published in 1945, was one of the most influential manifestos in 20th century American education.
Between 1945 and 1960, admissions were opened up to bring in a more diverse group of students. No longer drawing mostly from select New England prep schools, the undergraduate college became accessible to striving middle class students from public schools; many more Jews and Catholics were admitted, but few blacks, Hispanics, or Asians. Throughout the rest of the 20th century, Harvard became more diverse.
Harvard's graduate schools began admitting women in small numbers in the late 19th century. During World War II, students at Radcliffe College (which since 1879 had been paying Harvard professors to repeat their lectures for women) began attending Harvard classes alongside men. Women were first admitted to the medical school in 1945. Since 1971, Harvard has controlled essentially all aspects of undergraduate admission, instruction, and housing for Radcliffe women. In 1999, Radcliffe was formally merged into Harvard.
Drew Gilpin Faust, previously the dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, became Harvard's first woman president on July 1, 2007. She was succeeded by Lawrence Bacow on July 1, 2018.
Harvard's 209-acre (85 ha) main campus is centered on Harvard Yard ("the Yard") in Cambridge, about 3 miles (5 km) west-northwest of downtown Boston, and extends into the surrounding Harvard Square neighborhood. The Yard contains administrative offices such as University Hall and Massachusetts Hall; libraries such as Widener, Pusey, Houghton, and Lamont; and Memorial Church.
The Yard and adjacent areas include the main academic buildings of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, including the College, such as Sever Hall and Harvard Hall.
Freshman dormitories are in the Yard or nearby. Sophomore, junior, and senior undergraduates live in twelve residential houses, nine of which are south of the Yard along or near the Charles River. The other three are located half a mile northwest of the Yard at the Quadrangle (the "Quad") which formerly housed Radcliffe College students. Each residential house is a community with undergraduates, faculty deans, and resident tutors, as well as a dining hall, library, and recreational spaces.
Also in Cambridge are the Law, Divinity (theology), Engineering and Applied Science, Design (architecture), Education, Kennedy (public policy), and Extension schools, as well as the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study in Radcliffe Yard.
Harvard also has commercial real estate holdings in Cambridge.
Harvard Business School, Harvard Innovation Labs, and many athletics facilities, including Harvard Stadium, are located on a 358-acre (145 ha) campus in Allston, a Boston neighborhood just across the Charles River from the Cambridge campus. The John W. Weeks Bridge, a pedestrian bridge over the Charles River, connects the two campuses.
The university is actively expanding into Allston, where it now owns more land than in Cambridge. Plans include new construction and renovation for the Business School, a hotel and conference center, graduate student housing, Harvard Stadium, and other athletics facilities.
In 2021, the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences will expand into a new, 500,000+ square foot Science and Engineering Complex (SEC) in Allston. The SEC will be adjacent to the Enterprise Research Campus, the Business School, and the Harvard Innovation Labs to encourage technology- and life science-focused startups as well as collaborations with mature companies.
The schools of Medicine, Dental Medicine, and Public Health are located on a 21-acre (8.5 ha) campus in the Longwood Medical and Academic Area in Boston, about 3.3 miles (5.3 km) south of the Cambridge campus. Several Harvard-affiliated hospitals and research institutes are also in Longwood, including Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Children's Hospital, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Dana–Farber Cancer Institute, Joslin Diabetes Center, and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. Additional affiliates, most notably Massachusetts General Hospital, are located throughout the Greater Boston area.
Harvard also owns the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection in Washington, D.C., the Harvard Forest in Petersham, Massachusetts, the Concord Field Station in Estabrook Woods in Concord, Massachusetts, the Villa I Tatti research center in Florence, Italy, the Harvard Shanghai Center in Shanghai, China, and the Arnold Arboretum in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston.
Organization and administration
Harvard is governed by a combination of its Board of Overseers and the President and Fellows of Harvard College (also known as the Harvard Corporation), which in turn appoints the President of Harvard University. There are 16,000 staff and faculty, including 2,400 professors, lecturers, and instructors.
The Faculty of Arts and Sciences is the largest Harvard faculty and has primary responsibility for instruction in Harvard College, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), and the Division of Continuing Education, which includes Harvard Summer School and Harvard Extension School. There are nine other graduate and professional faculties as well as the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.
Joint programs with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology include the Harvard–MIT Program in Health Sciences and Technology, the Broad Institute, The Observatory of Economic Complexity, and edX.
Harvard has the largest university endowment in the world, valued at about $41.9 billion as of 2020. During the recession of 2007–2009, it suffered significant losses that forced large budget cuts, in particular temporarily halting construction on the Allston Science Complex. The endowment has since recovered.
About $2 billion of investment income is annually distributed to fund operations. Harvard's ability to fund its degree and financial aid programs depends on the performance of its endowment; a poor performance in fiscal year 2016 forced a 4.4% cut in the number of graduate students funded by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Endowment income is critical, as only 22% of revenue is from students' tuition, fees, room, and board.
Since the 1970s, several student-led campaigns have advocated divesting Harvard's endowment from controversial holdings, including investments in apartheid South Africa, Sudan during the Darfur genocide, and the tobacco, fossil fuel, and private prison industries.
In the late 1980s, during the divestment from South Africa movement, student activists erected a symbolic "shantytown" on Harvard Yard and blockaded a speech by South African Vice Consul Duke Kent-Brown. The university eventually reduced its South African holdings by $230 million (out of $400 million) in response to the pressure.
Teaching and learning
Harvard is a large, highly residential research university offering 50 undergraduate majors, 134 graduate degrees, and 32 professional degrees. For the 2018–2019 academic year, Harvard granted 1,665 baccalaureate degrees, 1,013 graduate degrees, and 5,695 professional degrees.
The four-year, full-time undergraduate program has a liberal arts and sciences focus. To graduate in the usual four years, undergraduates normally take four courses per semester. In most majors, an honors degree requires advanced coursework and a senior thesis. Though some introductory courses have large enrollments, the median class size is 12 students.
Harvard is a founding member of the Association of American Universities and a preeminent research university with "very high" research activity (R1) and comprehensive doctoral programs across the arts, sciences, engineering, and medicine according to the Carnegie Classification.
With the medical school consistently ranking first among medical schools for research, biomedical research is an area of particular strength for the university. More than 11,000 faculty and over 1,600 graduate students conduct research at the medical school as well as its 15 affiliated hospitals and research institutes. The medical school and its affiliates attracted $1.65 billion in competitive research grants from the National Institutes of Health in 2019, more than twice as much as any other university.
Libraries and museums
The Harvard Library system is centered in Widener Library in Harvard Yard and comprises nearly 80 individual libraries holding about 20.4 million items. According to the American Library Association, this makes it the largest academic library in the world.
Houghton Library, the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, and the Harvard University Archives consist principally of rare and unique materials. America's oldest collection of maps, gazetteers, and atlases both old and new is stored in Pusey Library and open to the public. The largest collection of East-Asian language material outside of East Asia is held in the Harvard-Yenching Library.
The Harvard Art Museums comprise three museums. The Arthur M. Sackler Museum covers Asian, Mediterranean, and Islamic art, the Busch–Reisinger Museum (formerly the Germanic Museum) covers central and northern European art, and the Fogg Museum covers Western art from the Middle Ages to the present emphasizing Italian early Renaissance, British pre-Raphaelite, and 19th-century French art. The Harvard Museum of Natural History includes the Harvard Mineralogical Museum, the Harvard University Herbaria featuring the Blaschka Glass Flowers exhibit, and the Museum of Comparative Zoology. Other museums include the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, designed by Le Corbusier and housing the film archive, the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, specializing in the cultural history and civilizations of the Western Hemisphere, and the Harvard Museum of the Ancient Near East featuring artifacts from excavations in the Middle East.
Reputation and rankings
Among overall rankings, the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) has ranked Harvard as the world's top university every year since it was released. When QS and Times Higher Education collaborated to publish the Times Higher Education–QS World University Rankings from 2004 to 2009, Harvard held the top spot every year and continued to hold first place on THE World Reputation Rankings ever since it was released in 2011. In 2019, it was ranked first worldwide by SCImago Institutions Rankings. It was ranked in the first tier of American research universities, along with Columbia, Harvard, and MIT, in the 2019 report from the Center for Measuring University Performance. Harvard University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
Among rankings of specific indicators, Harvard topped both the University Ranking by Academic Performance (2019–2020) and Mines ParisTech: Professional Ranking of World Universities (2011), which measured universities' numbers of alumni holding CEO positions in Fortune Global 500 companies. According to annual polls done by The Princeton Review, Harvard is consistently among the top two most commonly named "dream colleges" in the United States, both for students and parents. Additionally, having made significant investments in its engineering school in recent years, Harvard was ranked third worldwide for Engineering and Technology in 2019 by Times Higher Education.
The Undergraduate Council represents College students. The Graduate Council represents students at all twelve graduate and professional schools, most of which also have their own student government.
Harvard College fields 42 intercollegiate sports teams in the NCAA Division I Ivy League, more than any other college in the country. Every two years, the Harvard and Yale track and field teams come together to compete against a combined Oxford and Cambridge team in the oldest continuous international amateur competition in the world. As with other Ivy League universities, Harvard does not offer athletic scholarships. The school color is crimson.
Harvard's athletic rivalry with Yale is intense in every sport in which they meet, coming to a climax each fall in the annual football meeting, which dates back to 1875.
Both the undergraduate College and the graduate schools also have intramural sports programs.
Over more than three and a half centuries, Harvard alumni have contributed creatively and significantly to society, the arts and sciences, business, and national and international affairs. Harvard's alumni include eight U.S. presidents, 188 living billionaires, 79 Nobel laureates, 7 Fields Medal winners, 9 Turing Award laureates, 369 Rhodes Scholars, 252 Marshall Scholars, and 13 Mitchell Scholars. Harvard students and alumni have also won 10 Academy Awards, 48 Pulitzer Prizes, and 108 Olympic medals (including 46 gold medals), and they have founded many notable companies worldwide.
Literature and popular culture
The perception of Harvard as a center of either elite achievement, or elitist privilege, has made it a frequent literary and cinematic backdrop. "In the grammar of film, Harvard has come to mean both tradition, and a certain amount of stuffiness," film critic Paul Sherman has said.
Harvard's policy since 1970 (after the damage caused by Love Story) has been to permit filming on its property only rarely, so most scenes set at Harvard (especially indoor shots, but excepting aerial footage and shots of public areas such as Harvard Square) are in fact shot elsewhere.
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Princeton University is a private Ivy League research university in Princeton, New Jersey. Founded in 1746 in Elizabeth as the College of New Jersey, Princeton is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine colonial colleges chartered before the American Revolution.[a] The institution moved to Newark in 1747, and then to the current site nine years later. It officially became a university in 1896 and was subsequently renamed Princeton University.
The university is governed by the Trustees of Princeton University and has an endowment of $26.6 billion, the largest endowment per student in the United States. Princeton provides undergraduate and graduate instruction in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering to approximately 8,500 students on its 600 acres (2.4 km2) main campus. It offers professional degrees through the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, the School of Architecture and the Bendheim Center for Finance. The university also manages the Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and is home to the NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory. It is classified among "R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity" and has one of the largest university libraries in the world.
Princeton uses a residential college system and is also known for its upperclassmen eating clubs. Students can choose from around 500 recognized student organizations to join, like the nation's oldest debate union, the second oldest college daily student newspaper, the oldest touring musical-comedy theater group, or the oldest licensed college radio station. Princeton students embrace a wide variety of traditions from both the path and present. The university is a NCAA Division I school and competes in the Ivy League. The school's athletic team, the Princeton Tigers, has won the most titles in its conference and has sent many students and alumni to the Olympics.
As of May 2021, 69 Nobel laureates, 16 Fields Medalists and 16 Turing Award laureates have been affiliated with Princeton University as alumni, faculty members, or researchers. In addition, Princeton has been associated with 21 National Medal of Science winners, 5 Abel Prize winners, 11 National Humanities Medal recipients, 215 Rhodes Scholars and 137 Marshall Scholars. Two U.S. Presidents, twelve U.S. Supreme Court Justices (three of whom currently serve on the court) and numerous living billionaires and foreign heads of state are all counted among Princeton's alumni body. Princeton has also graduated many members of the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Cabinet, including eight Secretaries of State, three Secretaries of Defense and two Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Princeton University, founded as the College of New Jersey, can be considered the successor of the "Log College", which was a school founded by the Reverend William Tennent at Neshaminy, PA (near present-day Warminster, PA) in about 1726. While no formal connection ever existed, many of the pupils and adherents from the Log College would go on to financially support and become substantially involved in the early years of the university.
The founding of the university itself originated from a split in the Presbyterian church following the Great Awakening. In 1741, New Light Presbyterians were expelled from the Synod of Philadelphia in defense of how the Log College ordained ministers. The four founders of Princeton, who were New Lights, were either expelled or withdrew from the Synod and devised a plan to establish a new college, for they were disappointed with Harvard and Yale's opposition to the Great Awakening and dissatisfied with the limited instruction at the Log College. They convinced three other Presbyterians to join them and decided on New Jersey for where to found the school, as at the time, there was no institution between Yale in New Haven, Connecticut and the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, and it was also where some of the founders preached. Although their initial request was rejected by the governor at the time, the temporary, successor governor, John Hamilton, granted a charter for the College of New Jersey. Five months or so after acquiring the charter, in 1746, the trustees elected Jonathan Dickinson as president and opened in Elizabeth, New Jersey, where classes were held in Dickinson's residence. With its founding, it became the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States. Although initially founded to train ministers, the charter and founders transitioned to creating a college of liberal arts and sciences. Though the school was open to those of any religious denomination, with many of the founders being of Presbyterian faith, the college became the educational and religious capital of Scotch-Irish Presbyterian America.
Colonial and early years
In 1747, due to the death of then President Jonathan Dickinson, the college moved from Elizabeth to Newark, New Jersey, as that was where presidential successor Aaron Burr, Sr.'s parsonage was located. That same year, Princeton's first charter came under dispute by Anglicans, but on September 14, 1748, the recently appointed Governor Jonathan Belcher granted a second charter. Belcher, a Congregationalist, had become alienated with his alma mater, Harvard, and decided to "adopt [the infant college]." Princeton's second charter made it the first American college where its trustees came from more than one denomination. Belcher would go on to raise funds for the College and donate his 474-volume library, making it one of the largest libraries in the colonies.
In 1756, the college moved again to its present campus in Princeton, New Jersey due to it being too close to New York. Princeton was chosen for its central location in New Jersey and by strong recommendation by Belcher. Its home in Princeton was Nassau Hall, named for the royal William III of England, a member of the House of Orange-Nassau. Construction took two years to build and was built of stone from a nearby quarry. The trustees of the College of New Jersey initially suggested that Nassau Hall be called Belcher College in recognition of Governor Jonathan Belcher's interest in the institution. Although the request was vetoed by the governor, according to myth, Belcher replied: "What a name that would be!"
Burr, who would die in 1757, devised a curriculum for the school and increased the student body. Following the untimely death of Burr and the College's next three presidents, John Witherspoon became president in 1768 and remained in that post until his death in 1794. During his presidency, Witherspoon shifted the college's focus from solely training ministers to preparing a new generation of both educated clergy and secular leadership in the new American nation. To this end, he tightened academic standards, broadened the curriculum, solicited investment for the college, and grew its size.
Witherspoon's leadership also brought together politics and religion, and under his presidency, both Witherspoon and the College became influential to the American Revolution and independence. In 1777, the College became the site for the Battle of Princeton. During the battle, British soldiers briefly occupied Nassau Hall before eventually surrendering to American forces led by General George Washington. During the summer and fall of 1783, the Continental Congress and Washington met in Nassau Hall, making Princeton the country's capital for four months; in Nassau Hall is where Congress learned of the peace treaty between the colonies and the British. The College did suffer from the Revolution, though, with a depreciated endowment and hefty repair bills for Nassau Hall.
In 1795, President Samuel Stanhope Smith took office, the first alumnus to become its president. Nassau Hall burned down in 1802, in which Smith blamed on rebellious students. The college raised enough funds for reconstruction, as well as the construction of two new buildings, Stanhope Hall and Philosophical Hall, the latter of which no longer stands. Under Smith, the student-led Riot of 1807 at Nassau Hall occurred, spurred by underlying distrust of educational reforms by Smith away from the Church. Following Smith's mishandling of the situation, falling enrollment, and faculty resignations, the Trustees of the University offered resignation to Smith, which he accepted. In 1812, Ashbel Green was unanimously elected by the Trustees of the College to become the eighth president. After the liberal tenure of Smith, Green represented the conservative "Old Side," in which he introduced rigorous disciplinary rules and heavily embraced religion. Even so, believing the College wasn't religious enough, he took a prominent role in establishing the Princeton Theological Seminary next door. The plan to extend the theological curriculum with the seminary was met with "enthusiastic approval on the part of the authorities at the College of New Jersey." While student riots characterized Green's tenure, enrollment did increase under his administration.
In 1823, James Carnahan became president, arriving as an unprepared and timid leader. With the College undertaken by conflicting views between students, faculty, and trustees, and enrollment hitting its lowest in years, Carnahan considered closing the university. Carnahan's successor, John Maclean, Jr., though only a professor at the time, recommended saving the university with the help of alumni; as a result, Princeton's alumni association, led by James Madison, was created and began raising funds from alumni. With Carnahan and Maclean, now vice-president, working as partners, enrollment and faculty increased, tensions decreased, and the College campus expanded. Maclean took over the presidency in 1854 and led the university through the American Civil War. When Nassau Hall burned down again in 1855, Maclean raised funds and used the money to rebuild Nassau Hall and run the university on an austerity budget during the war years. With a third of students from the College being from the South, enrollment dropped. Once many of the Southerners left, the campus became a sharp proponent for the Union, even bestowing an honorary degree to President Lincoln.
James McCosh became the college's president in 1868 and lifted the institution out of a low period that had been brought about by the war. During his two decades of service, he overhauled the curriculum, oversaw an expansion of inquiry into the sciences, recruited distinguished faculty, and supervised the addition of a number of buildings in the High Victorian Gothic style to the campus. McCosh's tenure also saw the creation and rise of many extracurricular activities, like the Princeton Glee Club, the Triangle Club, the first intercollegiate football team, and the first permanent eating club, as well as the elimination of Greek life. In 1879, Princeton conferred its first doctorates to James F. Williamson and William Libby, both members of the Class of 1877.
Francis Patton took the presidency in 1888, and although his election was not met by unanimous enthusiasm, he was loved by undergraduates. Patton's administration was marked with great change, for Princeton's enrollment and faculty doubled. At the same time, the college underwent large expansion and social life was changing in reflection of the rise in eating clubs and burgeoning interest in athletics. Patton's administration remained lackluster throughout his tenure; though, it did have several achievements: in 1896, the college officially changed its name from the College of New Jersey to Princeton University, and it officially became a university. The honor system was also established, allowing for unproctored exams. In 1900, the Graduate School was formally established. Due to profile changes in the Board of Trustees and concerns over Patton's administration style, he was forced to resign in 1902.
Following Patton's resignation, Woodrow Wilson, an alumnus and popular professor, was elected the 13th president of the university. Noticing falling academic standards, Wilson orchestrated significant changes to the curriculum , where freshman and sophomores followed a unified curriculum while juniors and seniors concentrated study in one discipline. Ambitious seniors were also allowed to undertake independent work, which would eventually shape Princeton's emphasis on undergraduate independent work. Wilson further reformed the educational system by introducing the preceptorial system in 1905, a then-unique concept in the United States that augmented the standard lecture method of teaching with a more personal form in which small groups of students, or precepts, could interact with a single instructor, or preceptor, in their field of interest. The changes brought about much new faculty and cemented Princeton's academics for the first half of the 20th century. Due to tightening academic standards, enrollment declined severely until 1907. In 1906, the reservoir Lake Carnegie was created by Andrew Carnegie. Before leaving office, he strengthened the science program to focus on "pure" research and broke the Presbyterian lock on the board of trustees. However, he did fail in winning support for the location of the Graduate School and the elimination of the eating clubs, which he proposed replacing with quadrangles, a precursor to the residential colleges.
John Grier Hibben became president in 1912 and would remain in the post for two decades. On October 2, 1913, the Princeton University Graduate College was dedicated. When the United States entered World War I in 1917, Hibben allocated all available University resources to the government. As a result, military training schools opened on campus and laboratories and other facilities were used for research and operational programs. Overall, more than 6,000 students served in the armed forces, with 151 dying during the war. After the war, enrollment spiked and the trustees established the system of selective admission in 1922. From the 1920s to the 1930s, the student body featured many students from preparatory schools, zero black students, and dwindling Jewish enrollment due to quotas. Aside from managing Princeton during WWI, Hibben introduced the senior thesis in 1923 as a part of The New Plan of Study. He also brought about great expansion to the university, with the creation of the School of Architecture in 1919, the School of Engineering in 1921, and the School of Public and International Affairs in 1930. By the end of his presidency, the endowment had increased by 374 percent, the total area of the campus doubled, the faculty experienced impressive growth, and the enrollment doubled.
Hibben's successor, Harold Willis Dodds would lead the university through the Great Depression, World War II, and the Korean Conflict. With the Great Depression, many students were forced to withdraw due to financial reasons. At the same time, Princeton's reputation in physics and mathematics surged as many European scientists left for the United States due to uneasy tension caused by Nazi Germany. In 1930, Institute for Advanced Study was founded to provide a space for the influx of scientists, such as Albert Einstein. Many Princeton scientists would work on the Manhattan Project during the war. During World War II, Princeton offered an accelerated program for students to graduate early before entering the armed forces. Student enrollment fluctuated from month to month, and many faculty were forced to teach unfamiliar subjects. Still, Dodds maintained academic standards and would establish the Princeton Program for servicemen, so students could resume their education once discharged. Post-war years saw scholars renewing broken bonds through numerous conventions, expansion of the campus, increasing enrollment, and the introduction of distribution requirements.
Starting in 1887, the university maintained and staffed a sister college, Evelyn College for Women, in the town of Princeton on Evelyn and Nassau streets. It was closed after roughly a decade of operation. After abortive discussions with Sarah Lawrence College to relocate the women's college to Princeton and merge it with the university in 1967, the administration decided to admit women and turned to the issue of transforming the school's operations and facilities into a female-friendly campus. The university finished these plans in April 1969 just as admission letters were mailed out. Its five-year coeducation plan provided $7.8 million for the development of new facilities that would eventually house and educate 650 women students at Princeton by 1974. Ultimately, 148 women, consisting of 100 freshmen and transfer students of other years, entered Princeton on September 6, 1969 amidst much media attention. Princeton enrolled its first female graduate student, Sabra Follett Meservey, as a PhD candidate in Turkish history in 1961. A handful of undergraduate women had studied at Princeton from 1963 on, spending their junior year there to study "critical languages" in which Princeton's offerings surpassed those of their home institutions. They were considered regular students for their year on campus, but were not candidates for a Princeton degree.
As a result of a 1979 lawsuit by Sally Frank, Princeton's eating clubs were required to go coeducational in 1991, after an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was denied. In 1987, the university changed the gendered lyrics of "Old Nassau" to reflect the school's co-educational student body.
Princeton and slavery
In 2017, Princeton University unveiled a large-scale public history and digital humanities investigation into its historical involvement with slavery, following slavery studies produced by other institutions of higher education such as Brown University and Georgetown University. The Princeton & Slavery Project published its findings online in November 2017 on a website that included more than 80 scholarly essays and a digital archive of hundreds of primary sources. The website launched in conjunction with a scholarly conference, the premiere of seven short plays based on project findings and commissioned by the McCarter Theatre, and a public art installation by American artist Titus Kaphar commemorating a slave sale that took place at the historic President's House in 1766. In April 2018, university trustees announced that they would name two public spaces for James Collins Johnson and Betsey Stockton, enslaved people who lived on Princeton's campus and whose stories were publicized by the Princeton & Slavery Project.
The main campus consists of more than 200 buildings on 600 acres (2.4 km2) in Princeton, New Jersey. The James Forrestal Campus, a smaller location designed mainly as a research and instruction complex, is split between nearby Plainsboro and South Brunswick. The campuses are situated about one hour from both New York City and Philadelphia on the train. The university also owns more than 520 acres (2.1 km2) of property in West Windsor Township, and is where Princeton is planning to construct a graduate student housing complex, which will be known as "Lake Campus North".
The first building on campus was Nassau Hall, completed in 1756 and situated on the northern edge of the campus facing Nassau Street. The campus expanded steadily around Nassau Hall during the early and middle 19th century. The McCosh presidency (1868–88) saw the construction of a number of buildings in the High Victorian Gothic and Romanesque Revival styles, although many of them are now gone, leaving the remaining few to appear out of place. At the end of the 19th century, much of Princeton's architecture was designed by the Cope and Stewardson firm (the same architects who designed a large part of Washington University in St. Louis and University of Pennsylvania) resulting in the Collegiate Gothic style for which the university is known for today. Implemented initially by William Appleton Potter, and later enforced by the university's supervising architect, Ralph Adams Cram, the Collegiate Gothic style remained the standard for all new building on the Princeton campus until 1960. A flurry of construction projects in the 1960s produced a number of new buildings on the south side of the main campus, many of which have been poorly received. Several prominent architects have contributed some more recent additions, including Frank Gehry (Lewis Library), I. M. Pei (Spelman Halls), Demetri Porphyrios (Whitman College, a Collegiate Gothic project), Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown (Frist Campus Center, among several others), and Rafael Viñoly (Carl Icahn Laboratory).
A group of 20th-century sculptures scattered throughout the campus forms the Putnam Collection of Sculpture. It includes works by Alexander Calder (Five Disks: One Empty), Jacob Epstein (Albert Einstein), Henry Moore (Oval with Points), Isamu Noguchi (White Sun), and Pablo Picasso (Head of a Woman). Richard Serra's The Hedgehog and The Fox is located between Peyton and Fine halls next to Princeton Stadium and the Lewis Library.
At the southern edge of the campus is Lake Carnegie, an artificial lake named for Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie financed the lake's construction in 1906 at the behest of a friend and his brother who were both Princeton alumni. Carnegie hoped the opportunity to take up rowing would inspire Princeton students to forsake football, which he considered "not gentlemanly." The Shea Rowing Center on the lake's shore continues to serve as the headquarters for Princeton rowing.
Buried in the ground at the center of the lawn south of Nassau Hall is the "Big Cannon," which was left in Princeton by British troops as they fled following the Battle of Princeton. It remained in Princeton until the War of 1812, when it was taken to New Brunswick. In 1836 the cannon was returned to Princeton and placed at the eastern end of town. It was removed to the campus under cover of night by Princeton students in 1838 and buried in its current location in 1840. A second "Little Cannon" is buried in the lawn in front of nearby Whig Hall. This cannon, which may also have been captured in the Battle of Princeton, was stolen by students of Rutgers University in 1875. The theft ignited the Rutgers-Princeton Cannon War. A compromise between the presidents of Princeton and Rutgers ended the war and forced the return of the Little Cannon to Princeton. The protruding cannons are occasionally painted scarlet by Rutgers students who continue the traditional dispute.
Princeton's grounds were designed by Beatrix Farrand between 1912 and 1943. Her contributions were most recently recognized with the naming of a courtyard for her. Subsequent changes to the landscape were introduced by Quennell Rothschild & Partners in 2000. In 2005, Michael Van Valkenburgh was hired as the new consulting landscape architect for Princeton's 2016 Campus Plan. Lynden B. Miller was invited to work with him as Princeton's consulting gardening architect, focusing on the 17 gardens that are distributed throughout the campus.
Nassau Hall is the oldest building on campus. Begun in 1754 and completed in 1756, it was the first seat of the New Jersey Legislature in 1776, was involved in the Battle of Princeton in 1777, and was the seat of the Congress of the Confederation (and thus capitol of the United States) from June 30, 1783, to November 4, 1783. Since 1911, the front entrance has been flanked by two bronze tigers, a gift of the Princeton Class of 1879, which replaced two lions previously given in 1889. Starting in 1922, commencement has been held on the front lawn of Nassau Hall when there is good weather. In 1966, Nassau Hall was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Nowadays, it houses the office of the university president and other administrative offices and remains the symbolic center of the campus.
Though art collection at the university dates back to its very founding, the Princeton University Art Museum wasn't officially established till 1882 by President McCosh. Its establishment arose for a desire to provide direct access to works of art in a museum for a curriculum in the arts, an education system familiar to many European universities at the time. The museum took on the purposes of providing "exposure to original works of art and to teach the history of art through an encyclopedic collection of world art."
Numbering over 112,000 objects, the collections range from ancient to contemporary art and come from Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. The museum's art is divided into ten extensive curatorial areas. There is a collection of Greek and Roman antiquities, including ceramics, marbles, bronzes, and Roman mosaics from faculty excavations in Antioch, as well as other art from the ancient Egyptian, Byzantium, and Islamic worlds. Medieval Europe is represented by sculpture, metalwork, and stained glass. The collection of Western European paintings includes examples from the early Renaissance through the 19th century, with pieces by Monet, Cézanne, and Van Gogh, and features a growing collection of 20th-century and contemporary art, including paintings such as Andy Warhol's Blue Marilyn.
The museum also features a collection of Chinese and Japanese art, with important holdings in bronzes, tomb figurines, painting, and calligraphy, as well as collections of Korean, Southeast, and Central Asian art. Its collection of pre-Columbian art includes examples of Mayan and Olmec art, and its indigenous art ranges from Chile to Alaska to Greenland. The museum has collections of old master prints and drawings, and it has a comprehensive collection of over 20,000 photographs. Approximately 750 works of African art is represented. The Museum also oversees the outdoor campus Putnam Memorial Collection of 22 outdoor sculptures.
The Princeton University Chapel is located on the north side of campus near Nassau Street. It was built between 1924 and 1928 at a cost of $2.3 million, approximately $34.7 million adjusted for inflation in 2020. Ralph Adams Cram, the university's supervising architect, designed the chapel, which he viewed as the crown jewel for the Collegiate Gothic motif he had championed for the campus. At the time of its construction, it was the second largest university chapel in the world, after King's College Chapel, Cambridge. It underwent a two-year, $10 million restoration campaign between 2000 and 2002. The Chapel seats around 2,000 and serves as a site for religious services and local celebrations.
Measured on the exterior, the chapel is 277 feet (84 m) long, 76 feet (23 m) wide at its transepts, and 121 feet (37 m) high. The exterior is Pennsylvania sandstone, trimmed with Indiana limestone, and the interior is made of limestone and Aquia Creek sandstone. The design evokes characteristics of an English church of the Middle Ages. The extensive iconography, in stained glass, stonework, and wood carvings, has the common theme of connecting religion and scholarship.
Published in 2008, the Sustainability Action Plan was the first formal plan for sustainability enacted by the university. It focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, conservation of resources, and research, education, and civic engagement for sustainability through 10 year objectives. Since the 2008 plan, Princeton has aimed at reducing its carbon dioxide emissions to 1990 levels without the purchase of market offsets and predicts to meet the goal by 2026 (the former goal was by 2020 but COVID-19 requirements delayed this). Princeton released its second Sustainability Action Plan in 2019 on Earth Day with its main goal being reducing campus greenhouse gases to net zero by 2046 as well as other objectives building on those in the 2008 plan. In 2021, the university agreed to divest from thermal coal and tar sand segments of the fossil fuel industry and also from companies that are involved in climate disinformation after student protest.
Princeton's Sustainability Action Plan also aims to have zero waste through recycling programs, sustainable purchasing, and behavioral and operational strategies.
Organization and administration
Governance and structure
Princeton's 20th and current president is Christopher Eisgruber, who was appointed by the university's board of trustees in 2013. The board is responsible for the overall direction of the university. It consists of no fewer than 23 and no more than 40 members at any one time, with the president of the university and the Governor of New Jersey serving as ex officio members. It approves the operating and capital budgets, supervises the investment of the university's endowment, and oversees campus real estate and long-range physical planning. The trustees also exercise prior review and approval concerning changes in major policies such as those in instructional programs and admission as well as tuition and fees and the hiring of faculty members.
The university is composed of the Undergraduate College, the Graduate School, the School of Architecture, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the School of Public and International Affairs. Additionally, the school's Bendheim Center for Finance provides education for the area of money and finance in lieu of a business school. Princeton did host a Princeton Law School for a short period, before eventually closing in 1852 due to poor income. Princeton's lack of other professional schools can be attributed to a university focus on undergraduates.
Princeton is a member of the Association of American Universities, the Universities Research Association, and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. The university is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), with its last reaffirmation in 2014.
Princeton University's endowment of $26.6 billion (per 2020 figures) was ranked as the fourth largest endowment in the United States, and it had the greatest per-student endowment in the world at over $3 million per student. The endowment is sustained through the continued donations of its alumni and is maintained by investment advisers. Princeton's operating budget is over $2 billion per year.
Undergraduates fulfill general education requirements, choose among a wide variety of elective courses, and pursue departmental concentrations and interdisciplinary certificate programs. Required independent work is a hallmark of undergraduate education at Princeton. Students graduate with either the Bachelor of Arts (A.B.) or the Bachelor of Science in Engineering (B.S.E.).
The Graduate School offers advanced degrees spanning the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering. Doctoral education is available in most disciplines. It emphasizes original and independent scholarship whereas master's degree programs in architecture, engineering, finance, and public affairs and public policy prepare candidates for careers in public life and professional practice.
The university has ties with the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton Theological Seminary, Rutgers University, and the Westminster Choir College of Rider University. Students in the graduate school can participate in regional cross-registration agreements, domestic exchanges with other Ivy League schools and similar institutions, and in international partnerships and exchanges.
Undergraduate courses in the humanities are traditionally either seminars or lectures held 2 or 3 times a week with an additional discussion seminar that is called a "precept." To graduate, all A.B. candidates must complete a senior thesis and, in most departments, one or two extensive pieces of independent research that are known as "junior papers." Juniors in some departments, including architecture and the creative arts, complete independent projects that differ from written research papers. A.B. candidates must also fulfill a three or four semester foreign language requirement and distribution requirements (which include, for example, classes in ethics, literature and the arts, and historical analysis) with a total of 31 classes. B.S.E. candidates follow a parallel track with an emphasis on a rigorous science and math curriculum, a computer science requirement, and at least two semesters of independent research including an optional senior thesis. All B.S.E. students must complete at least 36 classes. A.B. candidates typically have more freedom in course selection than B.S.E. candidates because of the fewer number of required classes. Nonetheless, in the spirit of a liberal arts education, both enjoy a comparatively high degree of latitude in creating a self-structured curriculum.
Undergraduates agree to adhere to an academic integrity policy called the Honor Code, established in 1893. Under the Honor Code, faculty do not proctor examinations; instead, the students proctor one another and must report any suspected violation to an Honor Committee made up of undergraduates. The Committee investigates reported violations and holds a hearing if it is warranted. An acquittal at such a hearing results in the destruction of all records of the hearing; a conviction results in the student's suspension or expulsion. Violations pertaining to all other academic work fall under the jurisdiction of the Faculty-Student Committee on Discipline. Undergraduates are expected to sign a pledge on their written work affirming that they have not plagiarized the work.
The first focus on issues of grade inflation began in 1998 when a university report was released showcasing a steady rise in undergraduate grades from 1973 to 1997. Subsequent reports and discussion from the report culminated to when in 2004, Nancy Weiss Malkiel, the Dean of the College, implemented a grade deflation policy to address the findings. Malkiel's reason for the policy was that the A was becoming devalued as a larger percentage of the student body received one. Following its introduction, the number of A's and average GPA on campus dropped, although A's and B's were still the most frequent grades awarded. The policy received mixed approval from both faculty and students when first instituted. Criticism for grade deflation continued through the years, with students alleging negative effects like increased competition and lack of willingness to choose challenging classes. Other criticism included job market and graduate school prospects, although Malkiel stated that she sent 3,000 letters to numerous institutions and employers informing them. In 2009, transcripts began including a statement about the policy.
In October 2013, Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber created a faculty committee to review the deflation policy. In August 2014, the committee released a report recommending the removal of the policy and instead develop consistent standards for grading across individual departments. In October 2014, following a faculty vote, the numerical targets were removed as recommended by the committee. In an analysis of undergraduate grades following the removal of a policy, there were no long-lasting effects, with the percent of students receiving A's higher than in 1998.
The Graduate School has about 2,600 students in 42 academic departments and programs in social sciences, engineering, natural sciences, and humanities. These departments include the Department of Psychology, Department of History, and Department of Economics.
For the 2021–2022 academic year, it received 12,553 applications for admission and accepted 1,322 applicants, with a yield rate of 51%. The university also awarded 318 Ph.D. degrees and 174 final master's degrees for the 2019–2020 academic year. It offers professional graduate degrees in architecture, engineering, finance, and public policy, the last through the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, founded in 1930 as the School of Public and International Affairs, renamed in 1948 after university president (and U.S. president) Woodrow Wilson, and most recently renamed in 2020.
From 2001 through 2021, Princeton University was ranked either first or second among national universities by U.S. News & World Report, holding the top spot for 19 of those 21 years (sole #1 fourteen times, tied with Harvard for #1 five times). Princeton was ranked first in the 2021 U.S. News rankings. Princeton ranked fourth for undergrad teaching for 2021, falling from first place in the 2020 rankings. In the 2021 Times Higher Education assessment of the world's greatest universities, Princeton was ranked 9th. In the 2022 QS World University Rankings, it was ranked 20th overall in the world.
In the 2021 U.S. News & World Report "Graduate School Rankings," 13 of Princeton's 14 graduate programs were ranked in their respective top 10 (with Engineering 22nd), 7 of them in the top 5, and two in the top spot (Economics and Mathematics).
Princeton is classified among "R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity." Based on data for the 2020 fiscal year, the university received approximately $250 million in sponsored research for its main campus, with 81.4% coming from the government, 12.1% from foundations, 5.5% from industry, and 1.0% from private and other. An additional $120 million in sponsored research was for the Plasma Physics Lab; the main campus and the lab combined totaled to $370 million for sponsored research. Based on 2017 data, the university ranked 72nd among 902 institutions for research expenditures.
Based on 2018 data, Princeton's National Academy Membership totaled to 126, ranking 9th in the nation. The university hosts 75 research institutes and centers and two national laboratories. Princeton is a member of the New Jersey Space Grant Consortium.
The Princeton University Library system houses over 13 million holdings through 11 buildings, including seven million bound volumes, making it one of the largest university libraries in the world. Built in 1948, the main campus library is Firestone Library and serves as the main repository for the humanities and social sciences. Its collections include the autographed manuscript of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby and George F. Kennan's Long Telegram. In addition to Firestone library, specialized libraries exist for architecture, art and archaeology, East Asian studies, engineering, music, public and international affairs, public policy and university archives, and the sciences. The library system also provides access to subscription-based electronic resources and databases to students.
The Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) stemmed from Project Matterhorn, a top secret cold war project created in 1951 aimed at achieving controlled nuclear fusion. Princeton astrophysics professor Lyman Spitzer became the first director of the project and remained director until the lab's declassification in 1961 when it received its current name. Today, it is an institute for fusion energy research and plasma physics research.
Founded in 1955 and located at Princeton's Forrestal Campus since 1968, the NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) conducts climate research and modeling. Princeton faculty, research scientists, and graduate scientists can participate in research with the lab.
Admissions and financial aid
Princeton offers several methods to apply: the Common Application, the Coalition Application, and the QuestBridge Application. Princeton's application also requires several writing supplements and a submitted graded written paper.
Princeton's undergraduate program is highly selective, admitting 5.8% of undergraduate applicants in the 2019–2020 admissions cycle (for the Class of 2024). The middle 50% range of SAT scores was 1470–1560, the middle 50% range of the ACT composite score was 33–35, and the average high school GPA was a 3.91. In 2011, The Business Journal rated Princeton as the most selective college in the Eastern United States.
In the 1950s, Princeton used an ABC system to function as a precursory early program, where admission officers would visit feeder schools and assign A, B, or C ratings to students.[b] From 1977 to 1995, Princeton employed an early action program, and in 1996, transitioned to an early decision program. In September 2006, the university announced that all applicants for the Class of 2012 would be considered in a single pool, ending the school's early decision program. In February 2011, following decisions by the University of Virginia and Harvard University to reinstate their early admissions programs, Princeton announced it would institute a single-choice early action option for applicants, which it still uses.
Costs and financial aid
As of the 2021–2022 academic year, the total cost of attendance is $77,690. 61% of all undergraduates receive financial aid, with the average financial aid grant being $57,251. Tuition, room, and board is free for families making up to $65,000, and financial aid is offered to families making up to $180,000. In 2001, expanding on earlier reforms, Princeton became the first university to eliminate the use of student loans in financial aid, replacing them with grants. In addition, all admissions are need-blind, and financial aid meets 100% of demonstrated financial need. The university does not use academic or athletic merit scholarships.
Kiplinger magazine in 2019 ranked Princeton as the fifth best value school in a combined list comparing private universities, private liberal arts colleges, and public colleges, noting that the average graduating debt is $9,005. In 2017, Princeton ranked as fifth in a list for universities with students with the least amount of debt upon graduating. For its 2021 rankings, the U.S. News & World Report ranked it second in its category for "Best Value Schools."
Student life and culture
The university guarantees housing for students for all four years, with more than 98% of undergraduates living on campus. Freshman and sophomores are required to live on campus, specifically in one of the University's six residential colleges. Once put into a residential college, students have an upperclassmen residential college adviser to adjust to college life and a faculty academic adviser for academic guidance. Upperclassmen are given the option to keep living in the college or decide to move into upperclassmen dorms; upperclassmen still remain affiliated with their college even if they live somewhere else.
Each residential college has its own distinct layout and architecture. Additionally, each college has its own faculty head, dean, director of studies, and director of student life. The colleges feature various amenities, such as dining halls, common rooms, laundry rooms, academic spaces, and arts and entertainment resources. Three of the colleges house students from all classes while the other three house only underclassmen.
Princeton's residential college system dates back to when university president Woodrow Wilson's proposed the creation of quadrangles. While the plan was vetoed, it eventually made a resurgence with the creation of Wilson Lodge (now known as First College) in 1957 to provide an alternative to the eating clubs. Wilson Lodge was dedicated as Wilson College in 1968 and served as an experiment for the residential college system. When enrollment increased in the 1970s, a university report in 1979 recommended the establishment of five residential colleges. Funding was raised within a year, leading to the development of Rockerfeller College (1982), Mathey College (1983), Butler College (1983), and Forbes College (1984). Whitman College was founded and constructed in 2007 at a cost of $100 million. Butler's dorms were demolished in 2007 and a new complex was built in 2009. Butler and Mathey previously acted as only upperclassmen colleges, but transitioned to four-year colleges in fall 2009. Princeton is scheduled to open up two new residential colleges—Perelman College and College 8—in time for the 2022–2023 academic year.[c]
Princeton has one graduate residential college, known as the Graduate College, located on a hill about half a mile from the main campus.[d] The far-flung location of the Graduate College was the spoil of a squabble between Woodrow Wilson and then-Graduate School Dean Andrew Fleming West. Wilson preferred a central location for the college; West wanted the graduate students as far as possible from the campus, and ultimately, West prevailed. The Graduate College is composed of a large Collegiate Gothic section crowned by Cleveland Tower, a memorial tower for former Princeton trustee Grover Cleveland. The tower also has 67 carillon bells, making it one of the largest carillons in the world. The attached New Graduate College provides a modern contrast in architectural style to the gothic Old Graduate College. Graduate students also have the option of living in student apartments.
Eating clubs and dining
Although each residential college has a dining hall for students in the college, they each vary in their environment and food served. Upperclassmen who no longer live in the college can choose from a variety of options: join an eating club and choose a shared meal plan; join a dining co-op, where groups of students eat, prepare, and cook food together; or organize their own dining. The university also offers kosher dining through the Center for Jewish Life and halal dining options for Muslim students in the dining halls.
Academic culture is considered as "tight-knit, extremely hardworking, highly cooperative, and supportive." Social life takes place primarily on campus and is involved heavily with one's residential college or eating club. Residential colleges host a variety of social events and activities, ranging from Broadway show outings to regular barbecues. Eating clubs, while not affiliated with the university, are co-ed organizations that serve as social centers, host events, and invite guest speakers. Additionally, they serve as a place of community for upperclassmen. Five of the clubs have first-serve memberships called "sign-ins" and six clubs use a selective process, in which students must "bicker." This requires prospective members to undergo an interviewing process. Each eating club has a fee to join which ranges from around $9,000 to $10,000. As a result, Princeton increases financial aid for upperclassmen, and the eating clubs also offer financial assistance. Cumulatively, there is ten clubs located on Prospect Avenue—Cannon, Cap and Gown, Charter, Cloister, Colonial, Cottage, Ivy, Quadrangle, Tiger, and Tower—and one located on Washington Road—Terrace. 68% of upperclassmen are members of a club, with each club containing around 150 to 200 students
Princeton hosts around 500 recognized student organizations and several campus centers.
The Undergraduate Student Government (USG) serves as Princeton's student government. The USG funds student organization events, sponsors campus events, and represents the undergraduate student body when convening with faculty and administration.
Founded in about 1765, the prestigious American Whig-Cliosophic Society is the nation's oldest collegiate political, literary, and debate society, and is the largest and oldest student organization on campus. The Whig-Clio Society has several subsidiary organizations, each specialized to different areas of politics: the Princeton Debate Panel, International Relations Council, Princeton Mock Trial, and Princeton Model Congress. The International Relations Council manages two Model United Nations conferences: the Princeton Diplomatic Invitational (PDI) for collegiate competition and the Princeton Model United Nations Conference (PMUNC) for high school competition. Princeton's Model Congress is the oldest model congress in America.
There are several publications on campus and a radio station. Founded in 1876, The Daily Princetonian, otherwise known as The Prince, is the second oldest college daily student newspaper in the United States. Other publications include The Nassau Literary Review, the second oldest undergraduate literary magazine, the Princeton Tory, a campus journal of conservative thought, The Princeton Diplomat, the only student-run magazine on global affairs, the Princeton Political Review, the only multi-partisan political publication on campus, and the recently revived Princeton Progressive, the only left-leaning political publication on campus, among others. Princeton's WPRB (103.3 FM) radio station is the oldest licensed college radio station in the nation.
Princeton is home to a variety of performing arts and music groups. Many of the groups are represented by the Performing Arts Council. Dating back to 1883, the Princeton Triangle Club is America's oldest touring musical-comedy theater group. It performs its annual Triangle Show every fall at the 1,000 seat McCarter Theatre, as well as original musical comedies, revues, and other shows throughout campus. Princeton's oldest choir is the Glee Club, which began in 1874. The comedic scramble Tiger Band was formed in 1919 and plays at halftime shows and other events. Other groups include the Princeton University Orchestra, the flagship symphony orchestra group founded in 1896, and the Princeton Symphony Orchestra, both of which perform at Alexander Hall.
A cappella groups are a staple of campus life, with many holding concerts, informal shows, and arch sings. Arch sings are where a cappella performances are held in one of Princeton's many gothic arches. The oldest a cappella ensemble is the Nassoons, which were formed in 1941. All-male groups include the Tigertones (1946) and Footnotes (1959); all-female groups include the Tigerlilies (1971), Tigressions (1981), Wildcats (1987); the oldest coed a cappella group in the Ivy League is the Princeton Katzenjammers (1973), which was followed by the Roaring 20 (1983) and Shere Khan (1994).
Princeton features several campus centers for students that provide resources and information for students with certain identities. These include the Center for Jewish Life, the Davis International Center, the Carl A. Fields Center for Equality and Cultural Understanding, the Women's Center, and the LGBT Center. The Frist Campus Center and the Campus Club are additional facilities for the entire campus community that hold various activities and events.
Princeton also features 15 chaplaincies and multiple religious student groups. The following faiths are represented on campus: Baha'i, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, Sikhism, and Unitarian Universalism.
Princeton students partake in a wide variety of campus traditions, both past and present.
Current traditions Princeton students celebrate include the ceremonial bonfire, which takes place on the Cannon Green behind Nassau Hall. It is held only if Princeton beats both Harvard University and Yale University at football in the same season. Another tradition is the use of traditional college cheers at events and reunions, like the "Locomotive", which dates back to before 1894. Princeton students also abide by the tradition of never exiting the campus through FitzRandolph Gates until one graduates. According to tradition, anyone who exits campus before their graduation will not graduate. A more controversial tradition is Newman's Day, where some students attempt to drink 24 beers in the 24 hours of April 24. According to The New York Times, "the day got its name from an apocryphal quote attributed to Paul Newman: '24 beers in a case, 24 hours in a day. Coincidence? I think not.'" Newman has spoken out against the tradition. One of the biggest traditions celebrated annually are Reunions, which are massive annual gatherings of alumni. At Reunions, a traditional parade of alumni and their families, known as the "P-rade", process through the campus.
Princeton also has several traditions that have faded into the past. One of the them was clapper theft, the act of climbing to the top of Nassau Hall to steal the bell clapper, which rings to signal the start of classes on the first day of the school year. For safety reasons, the clapper was permanently removed. Another was the Nude Olympics, an annual nude and partially nude frolic in Holder Courtyard that used to take place during the first snow of the winter. Started in the early 1970s, the Nude Olympics went co-educational in 1979 and gained much notoriety with the American press. Due to issues of sexual harassment and safety reasons, the administration banned the Olympics in 2000 to the disappointment of students.
"Old Nassau" has been Princeton University's school song since 1859, when it was written that year by freshman Harlan Page Peck. It was originally published in the Nassau Literary Magazine, where it won the magazine's prize for best college song. After an unsuccessful attempt at singing it to Auld Lang Syne's melody, Karl Langlotz, a Princeton professor, wrote the music for it.
Tiger Transit is the bus system of the university, mostly open to the public and linking university campuses and areas around Princeton. NJ Transit provides bus service on the 600, 606 and 609 lines and rail service on the Dinky, a small commuter train that provides service to the Princeton Junction Station. Coach USA, through their subsidiary Suburban Transit, provides bus service to New York City and other destinations in New Jersey.
Based on data from the 2019–2020 academic year, Princeton had 5,422 undergraduates and 2,997 graduates, making a total school population of 8,419. Total enrollment was split 54% male and 46% female. For the 2020–2021 academic year, racial demographics for undergraduates was roughly 29% Asian, 10% Black, 12% Hispanic, 39% White, 6% Multiracial, and 4% Unknown. Master's and doctoral students followed relatively similar trends. The student body is considered racially and ethnically diverse, although some students consider there to be social stratification.
Princeton has made significant progress in expanding the diversity of its student body in recent years. The 2021 admitted freshman class was one of the most diverse in the school's history, with 68% of students identifying as students of color. The university has also worked to increase its enrollment of first-generation and low-income students in recent years. The median family income of Princeton students is $186,100, with 72% of students coming from the top 20% highest-earning families. In 2017, 22% of freshman qualified for federal Pell Grants, above the 16% percent average for the top 150 schools ranked by the U.S. News & World Report; nationwide, the average was 44%. Based off data in a 2019 article in the The Daily Princetonian, 10% of students hail from Bloomberg's 2018 list of "100 richest places", and that the top 20 percent of high schools send as many students to Princeton as the bottom 80 percent.
In 1999, 10% of the student body was Jewish, a percentage lower than those at other Ivy League schools. Sixteen percent of the student body was Jewish in 1985; the number decreased by 40% from 1985 to 1999. This decline prompted The Daily Princetonian to write a series of articles on the decline and its reasons. Caroline C. Pam of The New York Observer wrote that Princeton was "long dogged by a reputation for anti-Semitism" and that this history as well as Princeton's elite status caused the university and its community to feel sensitivity towards the decrease of Jewish students. In the Observer, several theories are proposed for the drop, ranging from campus culture to changing admission policies to national patterns. As of 2021, according to the Center for Jewish Life on campus, the university has approximately 700 Jewish student.
Starting in 1967, African American enrollment surged from 1.7 percent to 10 percent but has stagnated ever since. Bruce M. Wright was admitted into the university in 1936 as the first African American, however, his admission was a mistake and when he got to campus he was asked to leave. Three years later Wright asked the dean for an explanation on his dismissal and the dean suggested to him that "a member of your race might feel very much alone" at Princeton University.
Princeton supports organized athletics at three levels: varsity intercollegiate, club intercollegiate, and intramural. It also provides "a variety of physical education and recreational programs" for members of the Princeton community. Most undergraduates participate in athletics at some level. Princeton's colors are orange and black. The school's athletes are known as Tigers, and the mascot is a tiger. The Princeton administration considered naming the mascot in 2007, but the effort was dropped in the face of alumni opposition.
Princeton hosts 37 men's and women's varsity sports. Princeton is an NCAA Division I school, with its athletic conference being the Ivy League. Its rowing teams compete in the Eastern Association of Rowing Colleges, and its men's volleyball team competes in the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association. Princeton's sailing team, though a club sport, competes at the varsity level in the MAISA conference of the Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association.
Princeton's football team competes in the Football Championship Subdivision of NCAA Division I with the rest of the Ivy League. Princeton played against Rutgers University in the first intercollegiate football game in the U.S. on Nov 6, 1869. By a score of 6–4, Rutgers won the game, which was played by rules similar to modern rugby. As of 2021, Princeton claims 28 national football championships, which would make it the most of any school, although the NCAA only recognizes 15 of the wins. With its last win being in 2018, Princeton has won 12 Ivy League championships. In 1951, Dick Kazmaier won Princeton its only Heisman Trophy, the last to come from the Ivy League.
The men's basketball program is noted for its success under Pete Carril, the head coach from 1967 to 1996. During this time, Princeton won 13 Ivy League titles and made 11 NCAA tournament appearances. Carril introduced the Princeton offense, an offensive strategy that has since been adopted by a number of college and professional basketball teams. Carril's final victory at Princeton came when the Tigers beat UCLA, the defending national champion, in the opening round of the 1996 NCAA tournament, in what is considered one of the greatest upsets in the history of the tournament. Recently, Princeton tied the record for the fewest points in a Division I game since the institution of the three-point line in 1986–87, when the Tigers scored 21 points in a loss against Monmouth University on Dec 14, 2005.
Princeton women's soccer team advanced to the NCAA Division I Women's Soccer Championship semi-finals in 2004, becoming the first Ivy League team to do so in a 64 team setting. The men's soccer team was coached from 1984 to 1995 by Princeton alumnus and future United States men's national team manager Bob Bradley, who lead the Tigers to win two Ivy League titles and make an appearance at the NCAA Final Four in 1993. Princeton's men's lacrosse program undertook a period of notable success from 1992 to 2001, during which time it won six national championships. In 2012, its field hockey team became the first in the Ivy League to win a national championship.
Princeton has won at least one Ivy League title every year since 1957, and it became the first university in its conference to win over 500 Ivy League athletic championships. From 1896 to 2018, 113 athletes from Princeton have competed in the Olympics, winning 19 gold medals, 24 silver medals, and 23 bronze medals.
Club and intramural
In addition to varsity sports, Princeton hosts 37 club sports teams, which are open to all Princeton students of any skill level. Teams compete against other collegiate teams both in the Northeast and nationally. Princeton's rugby team is presently organized as a club sport but was originally among the first college sponsored teams to play intercollegiate sports against Harvard, Yale, and Columbia in the mid 1870s through 1880s.
The intramural sports program is also available on campus, which schedules competitions between residential colleges, eating clubs, independent groups, students, and faculty and staff. Several leagues with differing levels of competitiveness are available.
In the fall, freshman and sophomores participate in the intramural athletic competition called Cane Spree. Although the event centers on cane wrestling, freshman and sophomores compete in other sports and competitions. This commemorates a time in the 1870s when sophomores, angry with the freshmen who strutted around with fancy canes, stole all of the canes from the freshmen, hitting them with their own canes in the process.
U.S. Presidents James Madison and Woodrow Wilson and Vice Presidents George M. Dallas, John Breckinridge, and Aaron Burr graduated from Princeton, as did Michelle Obama, the former First Lady of the United States. Former Chief Justice of the United States Oliver Ellsworth was an alumnus, as are current U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justices Samuel Alito, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor. Alumnus Jerome Powell was appointed as Chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve Board in 2018.
Princeton graduates played a major role in the American Revolution, including the first and last Colonels to die on the Patriot side Philip Johnston and Nathaniel Scudder, as well as the highest ranking civilian leader on the British side David Mathews.
Notable graduates of Princeton's School of Engineering and Applied Science include Apollo astronaut and commander of Apollo 12 Pete Conrad, Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos, former Chairman of Alphabet Inc. Eric Schmidt, and Lisa P. Jackson, former Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Actors Jimmy Stewart, Wentworth Miller, José Ferrer, David Duchovny, and Brooke Shields graduated from Princeton as did composers Edward T. Cone and Milton Babbitt. Soccer-player alumna, Diana Matheson, scored the game-winning goal that earned Canada their Olympic bronze medal in 2012.
Writers Booth Tarkington, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Eugene O'Neill attended but did not graduate. Writer Selden Edwards and poet W. S. Merwin graduated from Princeton. American novelist Jodi Picoult and author David Remnick graduated. Pulitzer prize-winning journalists Barton Gellman and Lorraine Adams are Princeton alumni.
William P. Ross, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation and founding editor of the Cherokee Advocate, graduated in 1844.
Notable graduate alumni include Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, Thornton Wilder, Richard Feynman, Lee Iacocca, John Nash, Alonzo Church, Alan Turing, Terence Tao, Edward Witten, John Milnor, John Bardeen, Steven Weinberg, John Tate, and David Petraeus. Royals such as Prince Moulay Hicham of Morocco, Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud, and Queen Noor of Jordan also have attended Princeton.
As of 2021, notable current faculty members include Angus Deaton, Daniel Kahneman, Cornel West, Robert Keohane, Edward W. Felten, Anthony Grafton, Peter Singer, Jhumpa Lahiri, Jim Peebles, Manjul Bhargava, Brian Kernighan, and Robert P. George. Notable former faculty members include John Witherspoon, Walter Kaufmann, John von Neumann, Ben Bernanke, Paul Krugman, Joseph Henry, Toni Morrison, Joyce Carol Oates, Michael Mullen, Andrew Wiles, and alumnus Woodrow Wilson.
Albert Einstein, though on the faculty at the Institute for Advanced Study rather than at Princeton, came to be associated with the university through frequent lectures and visits on the campus.
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