Can FitzRandolph descendants attend Princeton University for free?
According to legend, an agreement between Nathaniel FitzRandolph and
the College of New Jersey (as Princeton was then known) was made in 1753. In exchange for donating the land on which
Nassau Hall now resides, the College agreed to pay tuition for all of
his descendants to attend the institution. Unfortunately, this is not
true. No such provision was incorporated into the deed of gift.
Nathaniel FitzRandolph, a Quaker, was primarily responsible for raising
the money and securing the land required by the trustees to locate the
College in Princeton,
which they did in 1756. The citizens of Princeton complied with the trustees'
request to raise £1,000 (actually they raised £1,700), provide
ten acres of cleared land for the campus and 200 acres of woodland for
fuel. FitzRandolph himself donated £20 and 4.5 acres of land.
FitzRandolph died in 1780 and was buried in the family burial ground
which was located on the present site of Holder Hall. Remains from 32
family graves were recovered during the excavation for the building in
1909. University President Woodrow Wilson directed the remains to be re-interred under the
eastern arch of Holder Hall. A memorial tablet bears the inscription,
"Near this spot lie the remains of Nathaniel FitzRandolph, the generous
giver of the land upon which the original buildings of this university
were erected. In agro jacet nostro immo suo (In our ground he sleeps,
nay, rather in his own)."
In 1905 the FitzRandolph Gateway was erected through a bequest from
Augustus van Winkle in honor of his ancestor Nathaniel FitzRandolph.
This gateway adorns the main entrance of the campus from Nassau Street.
Historical Subject Files Collection, 1746-2005
Kristine Marconi McGee
Tuesday, 24-Apr-2012 14:06:48 EDT