Bronze tiger statue with fall leaves

Our History

Our History

Chartered in 1746, Princeton is the fourth-oldest college in the United States. The University has been led by 20 presidents, spanning colonial times to the 21st century.

2013

  • Christopher L. Eisgruber named 20th president of Princeton

2009

  • Bridge Year Program begins with 20 students deferring admission for one year to engage in international service

  • Program in Latino Studies established

2007

  • Center for African American Studies (CAAS) established; trustees approve African American studies concentration, department in 2015

  • Four-year residential college system launched with the opening of Whitman College

2006

  • Princeton launches the Office of Disability Services

  • University Center for the Creative and Performing Arts established (renamed the Lewis Center for the Arts in 2007), with a mandate to enhance the role of the arts in the University and community

2005

  • Princeton launches the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Center

2001

  • Shirley M. Tilghman named 19th president of Princeton

  • Financial aid policy changes, replacing loans with grants that do not need to be repaid

  • Princeton confers its first honorary degree on a Native American, Kevin Glover '78, a Pawnee/Comanche

1996

  • 250th anniversary celebrated

1994

  • Center for Jewish Life is established

1982

  • System of residential colleges established

1971

  • Third World Center founded (renamed the Fields Center for Equality and Cultural Understanding in 2002) and Women's Center are founded

1970

  • Council of the Princeton University Community (CPUC), a deliberative body of faculty, students, staff and alumni, is established

1969

  • Trustees vote to admit women undergraduates

1968

  • Carl A. Fields is appointed as assistant dean of the college, becoming the first African American to serve as dean at an Ivy League institution

  • Suzanne Keller becomes the first tenured female member of the faculty.

1964

  • Ph.D. degree awarded to a woman, T'sai-ying Cheng, for the first time

1955

  • Princeton appoints its first African American professor, Charles T. Davis

1951

  • Forrestal Campus established on U.S. Route 1; "Project Matterhorn" research in nuclear fusion begins there; in 1961 its name is changed to the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL)

1948

  • Helen Baker, associate director of the Industrial Relations Section, is the first woman appointed to the faculty by the Board of Trustees

  • James Everett Ward and Arthur Jewell Wilson Jr., both admitted to the Navy's V-12 Program in 1945, become Princeton's first African American graduates

  • Firestone Library dedicated

1947

  • The Student Hebrew Association is founded and holds the first Jewish service on campus, which is attended by Albert Einstein; a year later, the student organization joins the Hillel Foundation

1940

  • Program of Annual Giving established; undergraduate radio station (then WPRU, now WPRB) founded

1933

  • Albert Einstein becomes a life member of the Institute for Advanced Study, with an office on the Princeton University campus

1930

  • School of Public and International Affairs established

1928

  • Princeton University Chapel dedicated

1921

  • School of Engineering established

1919

  • School of Architecture established; Princeton's Army ROTC unit established 

1913

  • Graduate College dedicated

1906

  • Lake Carnegie created by Andrew Carnegie

1905

  • President Woodrow Wilson establishes system of preceptorials

1900

  • Graduate School established

1896

  • Name officially changed to Princeton University

1893

  • Honor system established

1888

  • Pedro Rioseco becomes the first known Hispanic graduate from Princeton

1883

  • Triangle Club (originally called the Princeton College Dramatic Association) founded

1882

  • Princeton University Art Museum founded

1876

  • Hikoichi Orita becomes the first known Asian graduate from Princeton

  • The Princetonian is published for the first time (still published daily by students during the academic year)

1842

  • William Potter Ross graduates from Princeton; he became principal chief of the Cherokee Nation in 1861

1826

  • James Madison, Class of 1771 and former president of the United States, becomes the first president of the Alumni Association of the College of New Jersey

1792

  • John Chavis becomes the first African American to study at Princeton; he is one of a handful of African Americans to pursue private studies with faculty members during the 18th century

1783

  • Continental Congress meets in Nassau Hall, which served as the United States Capitol from June until November

1777

  • George Washington drives the British from Nassau Hall

1776

  • President John Witherspoon signs the Declaration of Independence

1770

  • Cliosophic Debating Society formed

1769

  • American Whig Debating Society formed

1756

  • Nassau Hall completed; College of New Jersey moves from Newark to Princeton

1753

  • Nathaniel and Rebeckah FitzRandolph and others deed 10 acres in Princeton to the College

1748

  • Present charter granted in New Brunswick, New Jersey

1747

  • College moves to Newark, New Jersey

1746

  • College of New Jersey founded in Elizabeth, New Jersey, by the Presbyterian Synod

1696

  • Town of Princeton settled