Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Princeton University. Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students.
Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students Records
Princeton University Archives
Permanent URL:
135 boxes, 3 folders, 6 items, and 1 websites
Storage Note:
  • This is stored in multiple locations.
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1-73
  • sc: Boxes 1, 1, D-64


The Dean of Undergraduate Students, formerly known as the Dean of Students and the Dean of Student Affairs, is the University's administrative office charged with oversight of undergraduate residential life, extracurricular activities, and student discipline. The Dean of Undergraduate Students records contain correspondence, memos, and meeting minutes, as well as the financial records of student organizations.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The records of the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students contain correspondence with other administrators and students, memoranda, press releases, subject files of clippings and notes, pamphlets, and brochures. Some of this material is duplicated in other University Archives collections. The records primarily document the Dean's supervision of student organizations and participation on committees; however, some files are dedicated to disciplinary infractions, athletics, or other topics which pertain to students. Prior to the creation of the office, the Dean of the College overaw these matters; therefore, some material originating from the Office of the Dean of the College was subsequently transferred to the Dean of Undergraduate Students and has been included with these records.

Please see series descriptions in contents list for additional information about individual series.

Deans of Students, Department, Tenure as Dean

William D. Lippincott, None, 1954-1968

Neil L. Rudenstine, English, 1968-1972

Adele S. Simmons, History, 1972-1977

J. Anderson Brown, Psychology, 1977-1983

Eugene Y. Lowe, Jr., Religion, 1982-1993

Janina Montero, English, 1993-2000

Kathleen Deignan, None, 1999-

Collection Creator Biography:

Princeton University. Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students.

The Dean of Undergraduate Students, formerly known as the Dean of Students and the Dean of Student Affairs, is the University's administrative office charged with oversight of undergraduate residential life, extracurricular activities, and student discipline. The Office of the Dean of Students was established in 1954 by president Harold W. Dodds to fill the need for a dedicated administrator to supervise the social and extracurricular activities of Princeton's undergraduate student population. This decision was largely driven by the increase in undergraduate enrollment and heightened campus activity which characterized the post-war years at Princeton. Though many of the responsibilities of the newly appointed Dean of Students such as oversight of student discipline and registration of student organizations had previously been overseen by the Dean of the College, the increasing amount of time that office dedicated to issues relating to the academic curriculum necessitated a new full-time position for the extracurricular.

Since 1954 several titles have been used for the position, including Dean of Students, Dean of Student Affairs, Dean of Student Life, and in its most recent incarnation, Dean of Undergraduate Students. Despite the changes in nomenclature, the Dean's responsibilities have remained largely the same over the years. Like other Deans at Princeton, the Dean of Undergraduate Students reports directly to the President.

The first individual appointed as the Dean of Students was William d'Olier Lippincott '41 (1954-1968), who had served as Assistant to the Dean of the College since 1946. With his trademark pipe in hand, Lippincott soon became a familiar figure to the thousands of undergraduates who passed through Princeton's doors during his tenure. As Dean of Students through much of the '50s and '60s, Lippincott was forced to reconcile many of the seemingly anachronistic rules of the university with the attitudes and actions of an increasingly modern and worldly student body. Serious disciplinary infractions included the presence of females in the dormitory rooms after hours and the use of personal automobiles on campus. Student dissatisfaction with the University administration over social and political issues was a recurring problem.

On two separate occasions during Lippincott's tenure, everyday campus agitation exploded into rioting and the destruction of private and university property, the "Joe Sugar Riot" of 1957 and the "Spring Riot" of 1963. In both of these instances, the Dean of Students presided over the ensuing disciplinary proceedings. Lippincott retired in 1968 to become Executive Director of the Alumni Council, citing the need to narrow "the gap in age between the Dean and those with whom he works so closely."

Lippincott's successor was Harvard University English professor Neil Rudenstine '56. Upon arriving on campus as Dean of Students one of Rudenstine's primary goals was to develop a stronger relationship between the academic and social lives of undergraduates, however the dominant issue of his brief deanship was University involvement in the Vietnam War. On multiple occasions Rudenstine was faced with antiwar protests from sometimes hostile student groups such as Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and in one notable incident was punched in the fracas that ensued during a demonstration. Rudenstine also weighed in on the disciplinary proceedings following the notorious "Hickel Incident" of 1970 in which the visiting Secretary of the Interior was heckled relentlessly during a speech on campus.

Additionally, as the Dean responsible for oversight of housing and extracurricular activities, Rudenstine was responsible for negotiating some of the delicate practicalities of undergraduate coeducation, which began at Princeton in 1969. Neil Rudenstine stepped down as Dean of Students in 1972, and went on to serve as Dean of the College and Provost into the early 1980s.

In 1963 a five-year term was placed upon the academic officers of the University, including the Dean of Students. While individuals could be reelected at the end of the term, the 5-year period enabled frequent evaluation and promoted the development of new ideas and fresh young administrators in the Office of the Dean of Students.

The successive terms of Adele Smith Simmons (1972-1977) and J. Anderson Brown (1977-1982) bore witness to a period of relative quiet among undergraduates, as the tumult of Vietnam dissipated and students returned to academics. An increasing international presence on campus (marked by the formation of the International Center in 1975) led to the diversification of the office's staff, and numerous programs designed to promote social interaction outside of Princeton's traditional avenues for undergrads were instituted. Notable among these was the development and implementation of the residential college system, a move sparked by the recommendations made in the 1979 Report of the Committee on Undergraduate Residential Life. The focus upon the social lives of Princeton students which characterized these initiatives was continued during the 11-year deanship of Eugene Y. Lowe, Jr. (1982-1993) and that of Janina Montero (1993-2000).

An administrative rearrangement in late 1999 brought the first major change to the Dean's responsibilities. The former Dean of Students was renamed the Dean of Undergraduate Students, and the position's oversight of student life was narrowed to focus upon the undergraduate.

From the time of its inception the position of Dean of Students has been set apart from other administrative posts by its high rate of turnover and the diversity of the individuals who have staffed it. The deanship has seen Princeton University's youngest dean, its first female dean, and its first African American dean. Many individuals who have served as Dean of Students have also been professors or lecturers at the University and have gone on to high-profile administrative positions at Princeton and other universities.

Collection History


The records of the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students were transferred to the University Archives in multiple accessions between 1972 and 2021 .


Additional transfers of records are expected from the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students indefinitely.


In the course of processing these records, two boxes of material documenting Neil Rudenstine's courses and research in the English Department were separated and removed to the Department of English Records.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Daniel Brennan with assistance from Joshua Muketha '10 in March and April, 2007. Finding aid written by Daniel Brennan in May of 2007.

An accrual, accession number AR.2021.029, was added in September, 2021 by Phoebe Nobles.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Records of the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students are closed for a period of 30 years from the date of the creation of the record, with the exception of the Audiovisual Materials in Series 5, which are open for research use, and Series 6: Student Discipline files, which are closed during the lifetime of the student. Some series or folders are subject to additional restrictions beyond 30 years. These restrictions are noted in the relevant series and folder descriptions.

Series 8: Residential College Public Websites is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. The Trustees of Princeton University hold copyright to all materials generated by Princeton University employees in the course of their work. For instances beyond Fair Use, if copyright is held by Princeton University, researchers do not need to obtain permission, complete any forms, or receive a letter to move forward with use of materials from the Princeton University Archives.

For instances beyond Fair Use where the copyright is not held by the University, while permission from the Library is not required, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students Records; Princeton University Archives, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library
Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library
65 Olden Street
Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
(609) 258-6345
Storage Note:
  • This is stored in multiple locations.
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1-73
  • sc: Boxes 1, 1, D-64

Find More

Related Materials

Several collections held by the Mudd Library contain records which relate to the Dean of Undergraduate Students. These include the Office of the President Records, the Office of the Provost Records, the Office of the Dean of the College Records, the Office of the Dean of the Chapel Records, and the Historic Subject Files. Additionally, yearly volumes of the Bric-A-Brac document the many student organizations over which the Dean of Undergraduate Students presides, and the Annual Reports to the President contain the yearly progress reports of the office.

Other Finding Aids

Full text searching of the archived websites is available through the Archive-It interface.

Subject Terms:
College Discipline.
College Students -- Discipline - New Jersey - Princeton.
College Students -- Societies, etc. -- New Jersey -- Princeton.
College students -- Social conditions -- New Jersey -- Princeton.
Educational counseling.
Student-administrator relationships.
Genre Terms:
Web sites.
Princeton University
Princeton University - Administration.
Princeton University. Office of the Dean of Student Affairs.
Princeton University. Office of the Dean of Student Life.
Princeton University. Office of the Dean of Students.
Lowe, Eugene Y., 1949-
Rudenstine, Neil L.
Simmons, Adele