Because of my interest in the role Princeton played in Philadelphia medical history of the 18th century, I wonder if the "ordinary student" referred to in this article is related to a long line of Philadelphia Shippens with strong ties to the College of New Jersey (Princeton) during that era. Judge Edward Shippen of Lancaster was a trustee of the College from 1748 to 1767. His son Joseph Shippen Jr. was a member of the Class of 1753, a soldier, merchant and public figure.
Edward Shippen's brother, William Shippen Sr., was a prominent Philadelphia physician who as a trustee of the College helped architect Robert Smith with the plans for Nassau Hall. His son, William Shippen Jr. Class of 1754, became one of the most noted physicians in Philadelphia, a professor in America's first medical school at the University of Pennsylvania, and director general and chief physician of the armed forces of the American Army during the Revolutionary War. His Brother, John Shippen Class of 1758, studied medicine with his father but had a subsequent life cut short by illness.
If the "ordinary student" was indeed the privileged legacy of the esteemed Shippen family, his ancestors may have been more worthy of a profile in PAW than the student who hid containers of ale in the grass around Nassau Hall.