Princeton Traditions

WELCOME, CLASS OF 2021!

Generations of Princetonians, now joined by the Great Class of 2021, have hailed Princeton as “the best old place of all.” The Princetoniana Committee of the Alumni Council will help you discover and appreciate the history, lore, and traditions that bind Princetonians together across generations. The beauty of the “campus” (a term first applied to Princeton), the devotion of alumni, and our enduring traditions give our college community a unique closeness that inspires life-long loyalty.

Princeton was founded as a place of learning, liberty, and tolerance. Suffused with that spirit, Princeton was at the spiritual heart of the American Revolution; indeed, President John Witherspoon was the only college president and clergyman to sign the Declaration of Independence. George Washington won a crucial victory for independence on our “campus” and the Continental Congress later met in Nassau Hall in 1783, making us the nation’s capital for 4 months. And James Madison, Class of 1771 and first president of our Alumni Association, was the intellectual force behind the framing of the Constitution. The spirit of learning, liberty, and tolerance still flourishes at Princeton in a continuum that links you and your classmates with fellow alumni across generations in affection for each other and for Old Nassau.

During Orientation, you will enter an ongoing stream of Princeton legends, songs and traditions. You will walk out of Opening Exercises in the beautiful Chapel to form the Freshman “Pre-rade,” preparing you to become the newest in the long line of alumni classes that march in the Reunions P-rade. That afternoon you will be introduced to Princeton songs and cheers at the Freshman Step Sing. Orange Key student guides will lead you on historical tours through the campus. This will be the beginning of a lifetime discovering the richness of Princetoniana.

Even as you get to know Princeton as “the best old place of all,” we know that the Class of 2021 will continue transforming our University into the “best new place of all.” With your character, intelligence, energy, and talents, that’s inevitable.

A “locomotive” for the Class of ’21! The meaning of that highest Princeton accolade will become clear during the “Pre-rade.” Welcome, newest Tigers!