Princeton University Presidents Oral History Collection
Permanent URL: http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/x920fw87s
- Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library.
- Title and dates:
- Princeton University Presidents Oral History Collection
- The Princeton University Presidents Oral History Project consists of two projects undertaken by the Princeton University Archives in conjunction with the Office of the Secretary to document the recollections and reminiscences of Princeton University's 16th president and seventeenth Presidents Robert F. Goheen and William G. Bowen. Consists of taped interviews with former Princeton Presidents Robert F. Goheen William G. Bowen and accompanying transcripts, as well as a Goheen video retrospective titled 'Reflections of a President' produced for a 2006 Princeton University Library exhibit.
- 0.42 linear feet
- 1 box
- Call number:
- Princeton University. Library. Dept. of Rare Books and Special Collections
Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library.
Princeton University Archives.
Princeton, New Jersey 08540 USA
- Language(s) of materials:
- Storage note:
- This collection is stored onsite at the Mudd Manuscript Library.
The Princeton University Presidents Oral History Project consists of two projects undertaken by the Princeton University Archives in conjunction with the Office of the Secretary to document the recollections and reminiscences of Princeton University's 16th and 17th presidents Robert F. Goheen and William G. Bowen.
Robert (Bob) Francis Goheen ’40 (1919-2008) was Princeton University’s sixteenth president, serving from 1957-1972, but he had many ties to Princeton. In 1936, he entered the University as member of the Class of 1940 and continued his Princeton education as a graduate student in September 1940. However, his studies were interrupted by the Second World War. When he returned to civilian life, Goheen was one of the first four recipients of a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, established at Princeton to enable war veterans to consider a career in teaching. He received his MA in 1947 and PhD in 1948, and continued teaching as an instructor in Classics until his appointment as assistant professor of Classics in 1950. Six years later, in December 1956, Goheen was elected as the youngest president in Princeton University’s history since the eighteenth century. His experience as National Director of the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Program, a half-time position he combined with half-time teaching from 1953-1956, paved the way for Goheen's presidency, as well as his post-presidential career in the area of foundations and philanthropy. During his fifteen-year term, Goheen led Princeton University through a process of growth and change. The University substantially increased its physical plant, as well as its student enrollment, faculty, and staff, while alumni contributions more than doubled and the annual budget quadrupled. Faced with the social and political challenges of the 1960s, Goheen encouraged student involvement in decision-making processes, initiated active recruitment of minorities and, in 1969, the admission of women, which was particularly criticized by some alumni. Many attributed the avoidance of campus violence during this time to the patience, wisdom, and flexibility of Goheen's administration. Retiring from the presidency in 1972, Goheen returned to Princeton in 1980 as the Senior Fellow of Public and International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School. He also worked for the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, directing the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship Program in the Humanities.
William Gordon Bowen *58 (1933- ) served as Princeton University's seventeenth president from 1972 to 1988. Bowen came to Princeton in 1955 on a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship to study economics at the Graduate School. After earning his doctorate in 1958, he was appointed assistant professor of economics and research associate in the Industrial Relations Section, where he quickly became a popular and highly respected professor. In 1967, President Robert F. Goheen ’40 chose Bowen as the University's second provost. During his tenure, Bowen oversaw coeducation’s implementation and balancing the University's budget while remaining popular in the University community. In 1972, Bowen became the first Princeton president who was neither a Presbyterian minister nor the son of one. Under his leadership, Princeton expanded to accommodate more women students, initiated its undergraduate residential college system, and completed a fundraising campaign that netted $410 million. Bowen had a reputation for being an astute manager of the University’s resources, as well as very detail-oriented. His tenure was not without controversy, as students staged numerous protests around the University’s investments in South Africa. In January 1987, Bowen announced his intention to leave Princeton a year later. He went on to assume leadership of the Mellon Foundation from 1988 to 2006.
Harold Tafler Shapiro *64 (1935- ) was Princeton University's eighteenth president from 1988 to 2001. A native of Montreal and a graduate of McGill University, Shapiro began his graduate studies at Princeton University in the fall of 1961, and earned his Ph.D. in three years. He specialized in econometrics, mathematical economics, and the evolution of higher education. Upon completing his doctorate, Shapiro accepted a faculty position in the University of Michigan's economics department, and subsequently held a series of administrative appointments. In recognition of his sound budgetary policies as Vice President for Academic Affairs and chairman of the Committee on Budget Administration, and in the midst of a statewide economic recession, Shapiro was appointed president of University of Michigan in 1980. On January 8, 1988, Shapiro was officially installed as Princeton's 18th president, making him the University's first Jewish president and the first drafted from outside the ranks of the faculty in over 120 years. Compared to Bowen, Shapiro's administrative style was more laissez faire. Despite assuming office amidst an economic recession, over the course of his presidency, Shapiro nearly quadrupled the University's endowment and set into motion ambitious plans that indelibly changed the face of the campus and of academics and student life, including the construction of a campus center, the expansion of the student body and the residential college system, and the implementation of a no-loan financial aid policy. Almost immediately after taking office, Shapiro was confronted with student unrest concerning the administration’s relations with campus minority groups and turmoil related to alcohol-related injuries. In 1991, Shapiro enacted an unpopular ban on all keg beer at University engagements that only lasted a semester, and he vowed to make the development of improved race relations a focal point of the remainder of his presidency. When Shapiro announced his resignation at the close of the 2000 academic year, he had hired and promoted numerous women and minorities within his administration. Following his presidency and a one-year sabbatical, Shapiro returned to full-time teaching in the economics department.
Consists of taped interviews with former Princeton President Robert F. Goheen and William G. Bowen and accompanying transcripts, as well as a video retrospective titled 'Reflections of a President' produced for a 2006 Princeton University Library exhibit. In the interviews Goheen discusses many notable aspects of his presidency including the advent of coeducation at Princeton and the establishment of the Council of the Princeton University Community. The collection consists of analog and digital formats on storage media as well as digitized materials available as online resources.
Access and Use
The collection is open for research use.
Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
Access to collection materials follows Mudd Manuscript Library policy for preservation and access to audiovisual materials.
Restrictions on Use and Copyright Information
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. For quotations that are fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For those few instances beyond fair use, users must submit the Publication and Broadcast Form. The Trustees of Princeton University hold copyright to all materials generated by Princeton University employees in the course of their work. For materials where the copyright is not held by the University, in addition to completing this form for Princeton, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold the copyright and obtaining approval from them.
Location of Copies or Alternate Formats
Transcripts and video of the 2004/2005 interviews are linked to this finding aid in Series 1: Interviews.
Processing and Other Information
Descriptive Rules Used
Finding aid content adheres to that prescribed by Describing Archives: A Content Standard.
Machine-readable finding aid encoded in EAD 2002 created from MARC record via MarcEdit and XSL stylesheets in 2007.
Language(s) of this Finding Aid
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Collection Title, Box and Folder Number; Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.
- Goheen, Robert F. (Robert Francis), 1919-
- Patterson, Gardner.
- Goheen, Robert F.(Robert Francis),1919-
- Linke, Daniel J.
- Princeton University -- Administration.
- Princeton University -- Presidents.
- Coeducation -- New Jersey -- Princeton.
- College presidents.
- Oral history.
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