On October 1, 1959, Trustees and Alumni gathered in Princeton for a significant event. “This cause we serve is a cause of great importance to all Americans and throughout the Free World,” James F. Oates ’21 boomed, before handing over the microphone to Judge Harold R. Medina ’09 and President Bob Goheen ’40. The cause was Princeton’s $53 Million Campaign, and the 500 alumni from twelve different states, the first volunteers for the campaign, were attending the kick-off meeting of the total solicitation phase.
Oates, the Chairman of the $53 Million Campaign, may have sounded overwrought, but the three-year campaign was of historical proportions indeed. It was Princeton’s first professional fund raising effort, run with the help of the new Development Office (established in 1956), a fund raising firm, and ultimately almost 5,000 volunteers, coordinated by eight regional offices from coast to coast. The financial goal was of historical proportions too, and so was the list of projects to be funded, including $30 million for new buildings on campus, including the Engineering Quad, the New Quad, the Woolworth Music building, and the School of Architecture. Thus, the $60.7 million raised by the end of the campaign, pledged by 17,925 donors, enabled the growth and change with which the presidency of Robert F. Goheen (1957-1972) has come to be associated.
The film, presented as a newsreel for alumni, opens with excerpts of speeches by Jim Oates (0:54 and 4:05), Harold Medina (2:09) and Robert Goheen (6:04). It ends with footage of Jim Oates at the opening of a football match later that day, where he announces the launch of the campaign and receives a special shirt as ‘quarterback’ of the campaign (8:56).
Since it was posted on Princeton’s Campus Life channel, “An Undergraduate View of Princeton University,” produced by the Orange Key Society in 1962, has received unexpected attention. In the film, which is staged as an instructional meeting for Orange Key guides, Charles W. Greenleaf ’63, vice-president of the Keycept Program, discusses what distinguishes Princeton from other universities, with emphasis on teacher-student relationships and opportunities for individual growth. Created several years before rebellion and reforms swept the campus, the well-scripted film is an interesting artifact.
The film includes extensive footage of faculty and campus. Subjects discussed are: faculty and the preceptorial system (with professors John Turkevich (chemistry) and Eric Goldman (history) 3:30); independent research projects (with Professor D.C. Hazen (aeronautical engineering) 6:52); research at Firestone Library (9:13); freshman advisers (11:29 and 13:44); the honor system (15:33); financial aid (17:23); dormitories (18:02); extracurricular activities and sports (19:30).
Documents within the University Archives reveal very little about the context in which the film was produced. We therefore are calling on alumni who participated. Can you tell us anything about the making of the film? Who wrote the script? What was the audience, and how long was the film in use? We look forward to your comments!
This 16mm film is part of the University Archives’ Historical Audiovisual Collection (item no. 0091).