Witherspoon Statue

The CPUC Committee on Naming is currently considering a proposal from members of the University community to remove or replace the statue of John Witherspoon that was installed on campus in 2001. The committee will evaluate this question with consideration of the established principles to govern renaming and changes to campus iconography. The Committee’s work will be informed by rigorous research and the appropriate scholarly expertise within and beyond the University community. Input from the broad University community will also be invited and encouraged.

Please share your feedback using the Witherspoon Statue Feedback Form.

Witherspoon Symposium

On Friday, April 21, 2023, the CPUC Committee on Naming hosted the symposium, John Witherspoon in Historical Context. A panel of scholarly experts explored John Witherspoon’s life in Scotland and America, his theological and political formation, his contributions to Princeton and the US, and his complex relationship to slavery and abolitionism. The video recordings of their remarks are posted below where available.

Welcome and Introduction
Angela N. H. Creager, Chair of the CPUC Committee on Naming; Thomas M. Siebel Professor in the History of Science and Chair, Department of History

“John Witherspoon, the Scottish Common-Sense School, and Early American Political Philosophy”
Peter Wirzbicki, Assistant Professor of History, Class of 1942 Preceptor in History, Princeton University

“John Witherspoon: The Man Behind the Granite”
Rev. Kevin DeYoung, Senior Pastor, Christ Covenant Church, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary

“Teaching Witherspoon’s Pedagogical Legacy at Princeton”
Emmanuel C. Bourbouhakis, Associate Professor of Classics and the Stanley J. Seeger ’52 Center for Hellenic Studies, Princeton University,

“John Witherspoon and Slavery:  Ideology versus Praxis”
Lesa Redmond, doctoral candidate, History and African & African American Studies, Duke University, Princeton University Class of 2017

"John Witherspoon and the Abolitionist Travail"
Sean Wilentz, George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of American History, Princeton University

“Slavery in American Life and History”
Tera Hunter, Edwards Professor of American History and Professor of African-American Studies, Princeton University

“Partial Iconoclasm: Witherspoon’s Presbyterian Political Theology and Slavery”
Rev. Gordon Mikoski, Associate Professor of Christian Education, Princeton Theological Seminary