History and Sense of Place

Land Acknowledgements

The land on which the University stands is part of the ancient homeland and unceded traditional territory of the Lenape people. We pay respect to Lenape peoples, past, present, and future and their continuing presence in the homeland and throughout the Lenape diaspora. 

While Princeton does not have a policy requiring land acknowledgements, this page is designed to provide resources for offices and event planners who wish to employ the practice in a respectful, appropriate manner.

Campus Iconography Committee (CIC)

Composed of faculty, students, alumni and administrators, the Campus Iconography Committee oversees efforts to diversify campus art and iconography, and consider opportunities to express Princeton’s aspiration to be more diverse, inclusive and welcoming to all members of its community.

CIC History Working Group

Constituted in September 2017 as a working group of the Campus Iconography Committee, the History Working Group identifies opportunities to provide visual displays and/or objects on campus that communicate nuanced interpretations of Princeton’s history, including temporary and permanent exhibits. The group is currently developing new walking tours, considering additional historical markers and partnering with ODOC to incorporate some of the lesser-known histories into student orientation materials.  (In)Visible Princeton is a series of themed historical walking tours of campus that help tell a more complete narrative of the University's past and present.

CIC Public Spaces Working Group

Constituted in September 2017 as a working group of the Campus Iconography Committee, the Public Spaces Working Group identifies campus interior and exterior spaces across campus to enliven in ways that reflect and connect with the increasingly diverse campus community. The group takes the lead on “public” spaces (i.e., spaces without a primary occupant) and is available to act as a consultant/advisor to occupants of “non-public” spaces to share thoughts, values and questions identified by the working group to date.

CIC Portraiture Initiative

Constituted in September 2017 as a working group of the Campus Iconography Committee, the Portraiture Nominations Committee (PNC) collected ideas, performed research, and made recommendations to the Executive Vice President and Provost regarding the expansion of the University’s portrait collection. Eight individuals have been selected for new portraits, which will be installed on campus as they are completed, joining the existing new portraits of Toni Morrison and Sir Arthur Lewis. Per the charge to the PNC, the portrait subjects are individuals who represent diversity, broadly defined, and who, over the past 75 years, have excelled in a particular field, excelled in the nation’s service and the service of humanity, or have made a significant contribution to the culture of Princeton University.

CPUC Committee on Naming

In 2017 at the recommendation of the Committee on Naming, the Board of Trustees approved the renaming of West College, a prominent and central campus building, for the Nobel laureate Toni Morrison, an emeritus faculty member at Princeton, and the major auditorium in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs for Sir Arthur Lewis, a Nobel laureate in Economics, who served on the school’s faculty from 1963 to 1983. The Committee on Naming will soon issue a call for naming suggestions for two new sites that have been referred to them by the Board of Trustees. More information on those spaces will be available in mid-November.

Wilson Legacy Review Committee

In 2016, the Board of Trustees appointed a special committee to consider Woodrow Wilson's legacy at Princeton, and, more specifically, whether changes should be made in how the University recognizes Wilson's legacy. The committee considered information about Wilson from a range of scholars and biographers with an expertise relevant to an understanding of Wilson and a wide array of perspectives from the various constituencies that have an interest in Wilson's legacy and how it is represented on the campus. The board adopted the committee's report and recommendations, one of which was to create a marker showcasing the positive and negative elements of Wilson’s legacy. A committee of faculty, staff and students was formed, which considered a number of firms to create this marker. The installation, unveiled in October 2019, now stands on Scudder Plaza.

Additional background information about Woodrow Wilson can be found through an exhibit created at Princeton in 2016: “In the Nation’s Service? Woodrow Wilson Revisited”.