122. Robert Goheen


When Hurricane Donna struck New Jersey in 1960, Princeton President Robert Goheen ’40 *48 (right) surveyed the damage firsthand.  His crisis management skills were greatly needed as the University experienced the trials of the 1960s, from student power and Vietnam protests to coeducation and greater diversity inadmissions.  Goheen also presided over a major building program on the main campus and at the Graduate College and Forrestal Research Center.  Under his leadership, the University’s annual budget quadrupled, the faculty grew from 500 to 700, undergraduate enrollment increased from 3,000 to 4,000, and the admission application rate more than doubled.  

Goheen was born in Vengurla, India, in 1919 to Presbyterian American missionary parents.  He came to the United States to further his studies, earning an A.B. with highest honors in the Humanities Program and winning the University’s highest general distinction for undergraduates, the Moses Taylor Pyne Prize.  After serving four years in the U.S. Army, Goheen returned to Princeton and received his Ph.D. in 1948.  He was only 37 years old and an assistant professor of classics when he was chosen to be president in 1957.  Leaving the presidency 15 years later, he went on to become the president of the Council on Foundations and, in 1977, the U.S. ambassador to India.  As an alumnus of the undergraduate and graduate program, Goheen is the only person to have won both of Princeton’s highest alumni honors, the Woodrow Wilson Award (1979) and the James Madison Medal (1988).   

  • To learn more about Princeton University presidents, see quotation #9, 11, 33, and 41, and Café Vivian picture #33, 40, 95, 98, 105, 113, and 125.

  • To learn more about Woodrow Wilson Award winners, see quotation #8, 16, 17, 19, 21, 33, and 37, and Café Vivian picture #17, and 122.

  • To learn more about recipients of the James Madison Medal, see quotation #3, 5, 30, and 31, and Café Vivian picture #70, and 125.

  • To learn more about Moses Taylor Pyne, see Café Vivian picture #40, 118, and 124.

  • To learn more about Princeton in the 1960s student protest era, please see quotation #2, and Café Vivian picture #106.

  • To learn more about the Forrestal Research Center, see quotation #27 and Café Vivian picture #35, 114, and 131.