B Y   T H E   N U M B E R S

Ballads about their professors

• In 1895, Princeton seniors began composing ballads about their professors and singing them on the steps of Nassau Hall on spring evenings. The verses of the "Faculty Song" generally were irreverent, sometimes barbed, but seldom ill-natured.

• Andrew Imbrie, a member of the class of 1895 and one of the first "composers," borrowed the idea of the song from students at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn.

  statue of Andrew Fleming West

A statue of Andrew Fleming West, frequent subject of faculty songs, stands at the Graduate College.

Kenneth Clark, a member of the class of 1905, arranged the following song about Walter Hall, a 1906 Yale graduate who was perhaps the most popular teacher of Princeton undergraduates during the first half of the 20th century:

Here's to Eli Walter Hall,
If he had any dope at all,
He'd shoot that darned New Haven pup
And bring a Princeton Tiger up!

Away away with rum, by gum!
Here they come, with a rubby-dum-dum!
Looking as if they'd been off on a bum,
The Faculty of Princeton College, oh!

• The life expectancy of the average faculty verse was only a few years, but some went on for a decade or more. A verse for Professor William Berryman Scott, composed in 1902, was still being sung in 1919. Another, celebrating the arrival of the original preceptors in 1905, was still being sung in 1930:

Here's to those preceptor guys,
Fifty stiffs to make us wise.
Easy jobs and lots of pay,
Work the students night and day.

• Some of the best-known personalities had a different verse sung about them almost every other year. Here is one from 1926 about Andrew Fleming West, the first dean of the Graduate School, with a veiled reference to the school's Procter Hall:

Here's to Andrew Fleming West,
A Latin scholar self-confessed.
He lived to see a lifetime's hope
Constructed out of Ivory Soap.

Source: "A Princeton Companion" by Alexander Leitch.