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About Princeton University

Chartered in 1746 as the College of New Jersey—the name by which it was known for 150 years—Princeton University was British North America’s fourth college. Located in Elizabeth for one year and then in Newark for nine, the College of New Jersey moved to Princeton in 1756. It was housed in Nassau Hall, which was newly built on land donated by Nathaniel FitzRandolph. Nassau Hall contained the entire College for nearly half a century. In 1896, when expanded program offerings brought the College university status, the College of New Jersey was officially renamed Princeton University in honor of its host community of Princeton. Four years later, in 1900, the Graduate School was established. In 2006, the University and the town celebrated 250 years of partnership.

Fully coeducational since 1969, Princeton for the past academic year (2006–07) enrolled 7,085 students—4,790 undergraduates (653 of whom are New Jersey residents, representing every county in the state, except Salem County) and 2,295 graduate students (degree candidates only). The ratio of full-time students to faculty members (in full-time equivalents) is 5 to 1.

The University provides its students with academic, extracurricular, and other resources—in a residential community committed to diversity in its student body, faculty, and staff—that help them achieve at the highest levels and prepare them for positions of leadership and lives of service in many fields of human endeavor.

Living up to its unofficial motto, “In the Nation’s Service and in the Service of All Nations,” Princeton University has educated thousands of individuals who have dedicated their lives to public service, including two U.S. presidents (Woodrow Wilson and James Madison); hundreds of U.S. and state legislators (the House of Representatives, for example, has housed a Princeton alumnus every year since it first met in 1789); and 44 governors, including 11 New Jersey governors. Each year, more than 2,500 members of the student body, faculty, staff, and local alumni volunteer in community service projects throughout the region. Reflecting this public service spirit, the University as an institution supports many service initiatives.

As a research university, Princeton seeks to achieve the highest levels of distinction in the discovery and transmission of knowledge and understanding. At the same time, Princeton is distinctive among research universities in its commitment to undergraduate teaching. Interdisciplinary work is vital to Princeton and is reflected in a full spectrum of academic programs, including such new initiatives as the University Center for the Creative and Performing Arts, the Center for African American Studies, and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute.

Princeton’s main campus in Princeton Borough and Princeton Township consists of approximately 8 million square feet of space in 160 buildings on 500 acres. Including Springdale Golf Course, Lake Carnegie, and roads for which the University owns the right-of-way, Princeton owns 759 acres in the township and has 214 acres in the borough. Princeton recently created an Office of Sustainability to help ensure progress in areas where the University has been a leader, such as energy conservation.

The University, with approximately 5,400 benefits-eligible employees, is one of the region’s largest private employers. It plays a major role in the educational, cultural, and economic life of the area by bringing 700,000 visitors and approximately $2 billion in economic activity to the region.