11. Never rise to speak till you have something to say; and when you have
      said it, cease. 
      –John Witherspoon

 


Photo used with permission from the Office of Communications


Photo by Dino Palomares

John Witherspoon became the sixth president of Princeton in 1768; his 26-year term lasted longer than those of all his predecessors combined.  This Scottish minister helped firm up the finances and reputation of the young College, expanded its library with his own 300 volume collection, and enriched the curriculum with an increasing emphasis on science and the humanities, including astronomy and English rhetoric.  Witherspoon was an important advocate for American independence, becoming the only clergyman and college president to sign the Declaration of Independence and serving as a leading member of the Continental Congress between 1776 and 1782.  His example of public service inspired many of his students, among them a future U.S. president and vice-president, three Supreme Court justices, 21 senators, 39 congressmen, 10 cabinet officers, 12 governors, and five of the nine Princeton graduates at the 1787 Constitutional Convention (a total that gave Princeton higher representation than any other college).

  • To learn more about John Witherspoon, see quotation #3, and Café Vivian picture #11,19, and 80.

  • To learn more about Princetonians in national service, see quotation #3, 8, 17, 19, 20, 21, 25, 33, and 41, and Café Vivian picture #5, 15, 35, 41, 42, 74, 107, 110, and 119.

  • To learn more about Princeton University presidents, see quotation #9, 33, and 41, and Café Vivian picture #33, 40, 95, 98, 105, 113, 122, and 125.

  • To learn more about Witherspoon Hall, see Café Vivian picture #71 and 11.

  • To learn more about Princeton in the nation’s history, see Café Vivian picture #20, 33, 83, 92, 95, and 113.

  • To learn more about academics at Princeton, see quotation #9, 26, and 33 and Café Vivian picture #2, 10, 31, 50, 51, 59, 87, 93, 101, 104, 108, and 115.

  • To learn more about the University library system, see quotation #35, and Café Vivian picture #20, 47, 121, and 123.

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