9. Education ought to be a gymnastic to all our powers.
    –James McCosh


Photo used with permission from the Office of Communications

Photo by Dino Palomares

Upon arriving in Princeton to accept the university presidency in 1868, James McCosh immediately gained the support of the student body by expressing his approval of organized athletics in his inaugural address, arguing that “every college should have a gymnasium for the body as well as for the mind.” Chosen because of his status as an eminent ecclesiastical figure, McCosh proved to be a dynamic educator and leader who made Princeton a great university in fact, though its name was not changed until 1896. During his twenty-year tenure, McCosh introduced electives to the curriculum, founded schools of science, philosophy and art, eliminated fraternities and secret societies, doubled the student body, tripled the faculty roll, filled the new 70,000 volume Chancellor Green library, and embarked upon an impressive program of campus construction and beautification. McCosh insisted that science and religion were not mutually exclusive, and stood nearly alone among American clergyman in his support of Darwin’s new theory of evolution.