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Princeton University, located in Princeton, New Jersey, is one of the eight Ivy League universities. It was founded as the "College of New Jersey" in 1746, and was originally located in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Widely considered one of the world's most prestigious universities, the school moved to Princeton in 1756, still under the original name. The name was officially changed to "Princeton University" in 1896. While originally a Presbyterian institution, the university is now non-sectarian and makes no religious demands on its students.
The university offers two main undergraduate degrees: the bachelor of arts (A.B.) and the bachelor of science in engineering (B.S.E.). Courses in the humanities are traditionally either seminars or twice-weekly lectures with an additional discussion seminar, called a "precept" (short for "preceptorial"). This system was instituted by Woodrow Wilson, when he served as university president. All undergraduates must complete a thesis to graduate, and all juniors earning the A.B. degree complete two short pieces of independent research, known as the "junior paper."
Princeton offers postgraduate research degrees (most notably the Ph.D.), but it does not have the extensive range of professional postgraduate schools of many other universities - for example, there is no law or business school. Its most famous professional school is the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, founded in 1930 as the School of Public and International Affairs and renamed in 1948. The university also offers graduate degrees in engineering and architecture.
The university's libraries have 11 million holdings, and the main university library, Firestone Library, houses over six million volumes. In addition to Firestone Library, many individual disciplines have their own libraries, including architecture, art history, East Asian studies, engineering, geology, international affairs and public policy, and Near Eastern studies. Traditionally, each senior is given an enclosed carrel in the library for private use and the storage of books and research materials.
Students at Princeton University agree to conform to an academic honesty policy called the Honor Code. This requires students to write a pledge on all written assignments which asserts that they have neither plagiarized their work nor committed any other breach of ethics. Signing the pledge indicates the understanding of the "two-fold responsibility" of the code: to observe the code oneself, and to report possible violations of other students. As a result of this code, students take all tests unsupervised by faculty members. Violations of the Honor Code incur the strongest of disciplinary action, including suspension and often expulsion. Impressively, such action is rarely needed despite the absence of test supervision.
Nassau Hall, the University's oldest building. Note the tiger sculptures beside the steps.
The campus, located on 2 km² of lavishly landscaped grounds, features a large number of gothic-style buildings, most dating from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The main university administration building, Nassau Hall, was built in 1756 and briefly served as the United States Capitol in 1783. Contemporary additions to the campus feature some more modern architecture, including buildings by Robert Venturi and the Hillier Group. Much sculpture adorns the campus, including pieces by Henry Moore (Oval with Points), Clement Meadmoore (Upstart II), and Alexander Calder (Five Disks: One Empty). At the base of campus is the Delaware and Raritan Canal, dating from 1830, and Lake Carnegie, used for rowing.
Princeton is amongst the wealthiest universities in the world, with an endowment of over eight billion US dollars sustained through the continued donations of its alumni and maintained by expert investment advisors. Some of Princeton's wealth is invested in its impressive art museum, which features works by Monet and Andy Warhol, amongst other prominent artists.
Most of the student body lives on campus in dormitories. Freshmen and sophomores live in residential colleges. Later-year students have the option to live off-campus, but few do, as rents in the area are extremely high. Undergraduate social life revolves around a number of coeducational "eating clubs" which are open to upperclassmen and serve a similar role to that which fraternities and sororities do at other campuses.
Princeton has a "needs-blind" admission policy, in which students are accepted into Princeton on merit, regardless of their ability to pay the high tutition fees. Instead of student loans, Princeton simply pays the remainder of costs out of its endowment. Despite these policies, Princeton's student body, as a group, is generally regarded as more culturally conservative or traditional than the student bodies of peer institutions. However, since 1960, most students have voted Democratic in presidential elections.
In 1869 Princeton competed in the first ever intercollegiate football game, losing to Rutgers 6 to 4. Its rivalry with Yale, active since 1873, is the second oldest in American football. In more recent years, Princeton has excelled in men's basketball, both men's and women's lacrosse, and women's crew.
Shirley Tilghman is the current president of Princeton University.
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Ivy League: Brown University | Columbia University | Cornell University | Dartmouth College
Harvard University | Princeton University | University of Pennsylvania | Yale University
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