Witherspoon Statue

Latest Update: The Committee on Naming continues to evaluate Witherspoon statue proposal

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 Symposiums


Monuments, Memory, and the John Witherspoon Statue

On Friday, November 3, 2023, the CPUC Committee on Naming hosted the symposium, Monuments, Memory, and the John Witherspoon Statue. A panel of scholarly experts explored memorialization, monuments in American art history, and the university campus as a space and a community. The video recordings of their remarks are posted below.

Welcome and Introduction
Beth Lew-Williams, Chair of the CPUC Committee on Naming and Associate Professor of History, Princeton University

“Teaching the Witherspoon Statue”
Rachael DeLue, Christopher Sarofim ’86 Professor in American Art, Faculty in the Effron Center for the Study of America, Princeton University

“Community-Engaged Response to Historical Monuments”
Patricia Eunji Kim, Assistant Professor of Ancient Art and Culture, NYU, Senior Editor and Curator-At-Large, Monument Lab

“American Monuments and American Slavery”
Renée Ater, Visiting Professor in Africana Studies, Brown University, Founder of Contemporary Monuments to the Slave Past

“Thomas Jefferson, Slavery, and Memorialization at UVA”
Louis Nelson, Vice Provost of Academic Outreach, Professor of Architectural History, University of Virginia

“Space, Place, and Iconography on Princeton Campus”
Ron McCoy Jr., University Architect, Princeton University


John Witherspoon in Historical Context

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