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Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014

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Video: Princeton at 265


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The independent spirit of Princeton's charter -- granted Oct. 22, 1746 -- continues to infuse the University today. Read more.


Video Closed Captions

[music]

Daniel Linke:
Welcome to the 265th anniversary of the signing
of the Princeton University charter, granted

Daniel Linke:
on Oct. 22, 1746, a time of great religious
tumult known as the "Great Awakening."

[music]

Daniel Linke:
Join us as we delve into the archives at Mudd
Library to look back at previous celebrations

Daniel Linke:
and to see the oldest extant copy of the University's
charter, which has only been on display three

Daniel Linke:
times in the last 60 years.

Daniel Linke:
This historic document, crafted by seven
radical-minded founders, embodies the "genius

Daniel Linke:
loci," or spirit of the place, of Princeton, known
for its constant innovation and groundbreaking research.

Daniel Linke:
So this is the oldest extant copy of the University charter.

Daniel Linke:
You can see how lovingly it's been preserved.

Daniel Linke:
It's a beautiful document. I don't
even get to look at this very often.

Daniel Linke and Dave Gillespie:
I just love, "George II, by the grace of God,
of Great Britain, France and Ireland, king

Daniel Linke:
and defender of the faith."

Daniel Linke:
Charter Day is like the University's birthday,
and so in the 19th Century, it was a day to

Daniel Linke:
celebrate, with speech-making contests and
other festivities. In the 20th Century, the

Daniel Linke:
practice tapered off a little bit, but we
had really big celebrations for the 200th

Daniel Linke:
and 250th anniversaries.

Documentary narrator:
On Oct. 19, 1946, Princeton University celebrated
its 200th Charter Day. In 1746, under the

Documentary narrator:
seal of George II, the original charter was
granted. The University was founded, and seven

Documentary narrator:
years later, plans for Nassau Hall were drawn
up. Now, on this bright October morning two

Documentary narrator:
centuries later, a great university pauses
to look back upon a long and honorable history of

Documentary narrator:
useful service to the United States and the world.

Daniel Linke:
For the 250th, there were three specially commissioned
poems, and Sandra Bermann read one of them.

Sandra Bermann:
Now surely, there is no knowledge we
cannot conquer. We are scarcely aware of the

Sandra Bermann:
dialectical ghosts among whom we walk, who
peer invisibly from leaded windows, who lift

Sandra Bermann:
the cups from which we are to drink.

Gabriella Ravida:
It's just really exciting to be among all of the history,
actually, first-hand. And, speaking with professors

Gabriella Ravida:
that have experienced it all and are making history.

Toni Morrison:
In private memory this place is its halls,
its library, its chapel worn satin by the

Toni Morrison:
encounters and collaborations among and between
strangers from other neighborhoods and strangers

Toni Morrison:
from other lands.

Toni Morrison:
Every doorway, every tree and turn is haunted
by laughter, by murmurs of loyalty and love.

Toni Morrison:
Yet woven into these instances of private
memory are other more complicated ones that

Toni Morrison:
are the property of public memory.

Daniel Linke:
What made Princeton's founding notable was
that, unlike other institutions which were

Daniel Linke:
primarily devoted to training ministers, Princeton
was interested in all of the thoughts and

Daniel Linke:
knowledge that were available. This spirit
of dissent transfused the institution and

Daniel Linke:
it's a line that you can trace all the way
through the American Revolution with John Witherspoon.

Toni Morrison:
The founders of Princeton knew well, better
perhaps than the founders of any American

Toni Morrison:
institution of high learning at that time, they knew
the necessity of being open to the unforeseeable.

Toni Morrison:
Princeton was the place of the independent
idea, the place where conscience was prized

Toni Morrison:
above orthodoxy, the place of the dissenting idea.

[music]

Daisy Lopez:
I feel so grateful to be here, where so many
great minds have walked the same paths that

Daisy Lopez:
I do, and seeing how much they've done makes
me feel like I should do something great.

Gabriella Ravida:
It's just really humbling being here and very,
very exciting at the same time.

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