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 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. In 1896, when expanded program offerings brought the College university status, the College of New Jersey was officially renamed Princeton University. The Graduate School was established in 1900.
Fully coeducational since 1969, Princeton for the past academic year (2018–19) enrolled 8,374 students — 5,321 undergraduates, 2,946 graduate students and 107 special students.
The University provides its students with academic, extracurricular and other resources — in a residential community committed to diversity — that prepare them for positions of leadership and lives of service in many fields of human endeavor.
Living up to its informal motto, “In the Nation’s Service and the Service of Humanity,” the University has educated thousands of individuals who have dedicated their lives to public service, including two U.S. presidents (James Madison and Woodrow Wilson); 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 dozens of governors.
Each year, many members of the student body, faculty, staff and local alumni volunteer in community service projects throughout the region. The University as an institution supports many service initiatives.
As a global 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.
Princeton’s main campus consists of approximately 9.5 million square feet of space in more than 200 buildings on 600 acres. The University also accommodates more than 1,000 units, totaling more than 1.2 million square feet, of rental housing for graduates and faculty/staff. The University owns more than 1,040 acres in Princeton, more than 835 acres in Plainsboro Township and more than 520 acres in West Windsor Township.
The University, with approximately 7,000 benefits-eligible employees, is one of the region’s largest private employers. It brings close to 860,000 visitors to the region each year.