This prince's kingdom is covered with ivy. Princeton University is a member of the Ivy League, an elite group of top-ranked schools in the northeast US. The research university offers degrees in 34 departments and has about 7,500 students (5,000 undergraduates and 2,000 graduate students). The highly selective school admits about 10% of its total applicants, and more than half of its students receive financial aid. Nobel Prize winners associated with Princeton include Woodrow Wilson (Princeton's president before becoming US president), writer Toni Morrison, and physicist Richard Feynman. One of the US's richest universities, Princeton has an endowment of more than $16 billion.
As an Ivy League university with a top reputation in the US and internationally, Princeton did not suffer from recessionary economic conditions as much as some of its lower-ranked peers. Its endowment did take a considerable dip due to investment losses during 2009 and 2010, and the university had to take some cost-control measures in response, but by 2011 it had returned to post-recession levels.
The Princeton campus contains six residential colleges that are organized by grade level (freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors); this structure is fairly new as the university's transition to a four-year residential college system started in 2007 and was completed in 2009 when new dorms were opened at the Butler College. Other expansion efforts have included the opening of a new natural sciences facility, the Frick Chemistry Laboratory, in 2010.
The university contains three schools: the School of Architecture, School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Princeton also has a large research base, with some $200 million in funding per year, primarily from federal grants. Its plasma physics research laboratory has a sizable research contract with the federal government.
Founded in 1746 as the College of New Jersey, Princeton is the fourth-oldest college in the nation. In 1756 the college was moved to Nassau Hall, which served as the temporary capitol of the US in 1783 and is still part of the Princeton campus. The current location now includes some 180 buildings on 500 acres. – less