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Frequently Asked Questions
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.


Related Source

Historical Subject Files Collection, 1746-2005


Kristine Marconi McGee


Last modified: Tuesday, 24-Apr-2012 14:06:48 EDT