Biography and History

Princeton University's Navy Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program was started in 1946 amidst a wave of enthusiasm for the ROTC that followed World War II. It joined the Army ROTC unit on campus, which had operated since 1919, and was followed by the formation of an Air Force ROTC unit in 1951. By the 1950s however, faculty opposition to the degree-credit granting programs had risen high enough to merit their reformation, and special University-taught courses were added to the curricula. This was a only temporary solution however, and as Vietnam became a prevalent issue on campus, enrollment in the ROTC programs dropped. In 1969 with faculty and student opposition at a peak President Robert Goheen appointed a special faculty committee to recommend a course of action. The committee elected to continue all three ROTC units on campus, however they were stripped of their departmental status, essentially becoming extracurricular activities. Shortly thereafter, the Trustees voted to terminate all three ROTC programs by 1972, however a 1971 undergraduate referendum convinced the Board to reverse the decision. The Air Force and Navy ROTC units were ultimately unwilling to submit to the 1969 reforms however, and closed their programs on campus.

Source: From the finding aid for AC209

  • Princeton Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps Records. 1948-1972 (inclusive).

    Call Number: AC209

    Princeton University's Navy Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program was started in 1946 amidst a wave of enthusiasm for the ROTC that followed World War II. The collection consists of publications, bulletins, course materials, and manuals pertaining to the Navy ROTC program at Princeton.