The total invested funds of the University amount at par value to but $2,705,500, yielding an income of $185,261.65. The total income of the University, from all sources, is but $460,863.20, the balance over and above income from investments being derived chiefly from tuition and other fees $188,763.26, room rents $45,344.57, and from annual gifts $35,219.99.

The Final Installment of the President’s Annual Report, Together with the Gifts of a Year and a Half

Below is given the final installment of President Wilson’s annual report to the Board of Trustees, two parts of which, on (1) the general condition and the registration of the University, and (2) the new course of study, have already appeared in The Weekly. Several appendices are to accompany the document, including the Treasurer’s report, which is awaited with much interests, as it will be the first detailed statement of Princeton’s finances ever made public. At the present writing this statement is not yet ready for publication, but it is promised for an early number. Meantime, alumni will be interested to see the list of gifts to Princeton for the year and a half ending December 1st, 1904, which, as one of the appendices to the President’s report, is reproduced below. In a period quite barren of large single benefactions, most of us will be surprised to learn that for this year and a half the occasional donations of loyal alumni and friends of the University have reached the very respectable figure of over $300,000. And, as mentioned before, even more surprise will be occasioned by the President’s revelations concerning the invested funds of the University, - “surprise…to learn upon how slender a capital she has conducted a great and successful business.” The President’s report:

Material growth. Must necessarily go hand in hand with the development of studies and the perfection of methods of work. The material growth of the University has already seriously lagged behind its actual development in work and energy. I am not now speaking directly of the lack of money, but of the lack of dormitories, laboratories, and class rooms. Dormitories are necessary to our life, not only because the town is small and affords inadequate accommodation for the men for whom there is no room in the college buildings, but also because the characteristic life of the place, the things which give vitality alike to its intellectual and to its social character, centre in the campus associations, in the close daily contacts which make the undergraduate body a consciously corporate community. The solidarity and democracy of that community are at once its strength and its hope of continues distinction. There are now nearly four hundred undergraduates who must room in the expensive, scattered, inadequate lodgings of the town; and the dormitories are improperly crowded. Dormitories ought to be built for the accommodation of the entire body of undergraduates, as nearly as possible, to say nothing of the many graduate students who seem thrust out of the life of the place altogether because lodgings must be denied them in the college dormitories. These things must certainly be done, and done soon. And it is plain that, what with new dormitories, new recitation halls, laboratories, museums, and graduate schools of one sort and another, which we wish presently to be adding, it is an imperative counsel of prudence and forethought that we should take immediate steps for the preparation of a comprehensive architectural and landscape plan for the development of our campus, a plan which will have not the next decade merely, but the next fifty years in view, if we must be so long about it, - whatever length of time may turn out to be necessary for making Princeton what she now demands to be made in respect of her material equipment and development.

The careful study beforehand of matters like this is not a mere dictate of convenience; it afford invaluable assistance in working out purposes which are not material but of the spirit of all our hope and endeavour. This is the concrete way to express our plans for the intellectual, social, and moral life of the University, and to set out thoughts upon definite objects. When we have once, in our imagination, seen Princeton what we mean to make her, or to enable those who come after us to make her, we have made every vague purpose definite, and have clarified our perception of the means by which they are to be attained. I hope that funds will be provided for making such a plan at once. It will be both a guide and a safeguard.

The report of the Treasurer of the University, printed with this report, shows how greatly our endowments must be added to if we are to go forward with the great undertakings we have set before ourselves, or even maintain the University efficient in its present work. This is the first time that a financial statement of the condition and resources of the University has been made public. It is by your direction that the Treasurer’s report is now published, and I think the step very wise and very significant. There is a sense in which every university, whatever the circumstances of its establishment or the plan of its government, is a public institution. Princeton, certainly, though privately endowed and governed as a close corporation, was conceived and has always served as an institution of the state and nation. Her endowments have been drawn from men of all interests and connections, and her claim for additional endowment is made upon grounds, not of special or of local, but of general and national interest. It is eminently proper, therefore, that a public statement should be made concerning her property, her annual expenditures, her investments, and all her sources of income.

It will be a matter of no small surprise to those who have known her history and the distinguished work she has done to learn upon how slender a capital she has conducted a great and successful business. The total invested funds of the University amount at par value to but $2,705,500, yielding an income of $185,261.65. The total income of the University, from all sources, is but $460,863.20, the balance over and above income from investments being derived chiefly from tuition and other fees $188,763.26, room rents $45,344.57, and from annual gifts $35,219.99. The expenses of the University sum up quite $482,122.26, which represents the most economical possible administration of its affairs. The budget shows, therefore, for 1904-5, and estimated deficit of nearly $18,000. There was an actual deficit during the fiscal year 1903-4 of $17,280.32, which was covered by generous gifts of money made for the purpose, as, apparently, the current deficit of the present year will have to be.

This represents the growth of the University and the continuous expansion of its work without any proportionate increase in its endowment. To borrow, and pervert, a phrase of the political economists, her life is seriously pressing upon the means of subsistence. The University never showed greater vitality. Her growth cannot be stopped except by processes which would sap that vitality. The plan for increasing her endowment which your Committee on Finance presents to you at this meeting is, therefore, the business which most presses for your immediate and careful consideration. There is more hope than anxiety in these evidences of the University’s needs. They mean that she is springing forward from one stage of life to another; but they mean also that our efforts to supply her with means must be proportioned to her opportunities and capacities.

Respectfully submitted,

Woodrow Wilson

This was originally published in the January 21, 1905 issue of PAW.