Kicking off the $53 Million Campaign, October 1, 1959

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).
This 16mm film is part of the University Archives’ Historical Audiovisual Collection (item no. 0125). For more information about the $53 Million Campaign, see Gregg Lange’s article in the Princeton Alumni Weekly (November 4, 2009).

One thought on “Kicking off the $53 Million Campaign, October 1, 1959

  1. They did a nice job on the 3 camera shoot back then. The Broadcast Center will have to step up all of our productions for people that will look at our videos 51 years from now. 😉



    Broadcast Center

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