Princeton University was chartered on October 22nd, 1746 as the College of New Jersey by the Presbyterian Synod. According to the university’s website, the school was originally located in Elizabeth and was moved to Newark the next year. The move to Princeton took place in 1756 (although the name wasn’t changed until 1896).

It was under university president John Witherspoon (you know, the one who signed the Declaration of Independence and who has a bunch of stuff named after him in Princeton) that the school took a more secular turn; he was president from 1768-94. In 1777, the British took over Nassau Hall until Continental forces under the command of George Washington drove them out. Princeton is the fourth oldest college in the country and is one of the “Colonial Nine,” the nine colleges that were founded prior to the US becoming a country (Rutgers belongs to that group, as well).

From 2001 to 2018, US News and World Report ranked Princeton as the top university in the nation. The school has produced two US presidents and 12 Supreme Court justices. It’s old name, the College of New Jersey, was taken by the former Trenton State College in 1996.

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