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This Week in Princeton History for June 3-9

By April C. Armstrong *14

In this week’s installment in our recurring series, an alum criticizes Princeton for failing to teach him about diversity, a U.S. president receives an honorary degree, and more.

June 3, 1864—The Princeton Standard sarcastically notes, “We have had the pleasure, of late, of hearing the music of the College Band in the ‘stilly air’ of midnight. Their serenades are really delightful.”

June 5, 1986—The Daily Princetonian reprints Frederick H. Borsch ’57’s call for Princeton to work harder to diversify the faculty while it recruits minority students. Borsch’s piece observes, “Princeton did a nearly failing job of giving me and my male, almost entirely white classmates any direct sense of the richness and problems of our diverse society,” as much due to the homogeneity of the faculty as to the student body.

A group of men in suits
Princeton University English department faculty, ca. 1956. Photo from 1957 Bric-a-Brac. (Frederick H. Borsch ’57 majored in English.) English was the first department known to have had African American faculty, having hired Charles T. Davis (pictured in the second row, third from left) in 1955, but as can be seen here and in other similar photos, the faculty remained overwhelmingly white and male.

June 6, 1872—In anticipation of the construction of the new School of Science, two houses and their lots have been purchased on Nassau Street for $16,000.

June 9, 1922—Warren G. Harding, in town for the dedication of the Princeton Battle Monument, is awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws. He is the 12th U.S. president to receive an honorary degree from Princeton.

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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