The following is excerpted from Ambassador Goheen’s Alumni Day remarks:

It is for me particularly poignant to receive this award on the 100th anniversary year of Woodrow Wilson’s graduation. Anyone who today looks at the history of this university cannot miss how deeply and permanently Wilson invigorated the essential life of the place. At the same time, of course, he infused into this university and its successive graduates a greatly heightened sense of public mission. Everyone who has followed him here as a student or a faculty member or as president is greatly in his debt.

That fact was not so apparent when the Class of 1940 was making its way through Princeton. Perhaps our elders were still too close in time to the events of Wilson’s presidency here to fully understand their significance. And I suppose the scars of the Quadrangle plan controversy and the West-Wilson feud were still too fresh.

In the spring of 1939 when some of us set out to discover what visible testimonials of Wilson’s presidency there were on the campus, we were only able to find three small signs: the rather grim official portrait of Wilson that still hangs in the faculty room; the far more vital and attractive Yates portrait which now hangs in the entrance vestibule of Prospect but which in our day was confined to the dim inner recesses of the old Whig Hall; and then finally the handsome bust which is now displayed in the new Woodrow Wilson School Building but which in those days stood on a dusty, high, dark shelf looking down into the reading room of the old Pyne Library.

We could not then perceive how soon the strong, determined, but quiet efforts of people like Harold Dodds and Dean Mathey, aided by world events, were to rehabilitate Wilson’s Princeton reputation. But, by the end of the Second World War, and very markedly by the time of the celebration of Princeton’s bicentennial in 1946, what Wilson had done here could be seen in much better perspective, and his influence would be boldly heralded. And so today, of course, most happily, neither in Princeton’s campus nor in its catalog is there any dearth of testimonials to Woodrow Wilson. Among them is this award, which I am so proud to accept today.

In his inaugural address of 1902, entitled “Princeton for the Nation’s Service.” Wilson speaks quite eloquently about what being a Princetonian means. And I would like to leave you with these words: “We are but men of a single generation in the long life of an institution which will be young when we are dead. But while we live, her life is in us.”

This was originally published in the March 12, 1979 issue of PAW.