Medalist: Princeton

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Citation and Sesquicentennial Medal presented on May 15, 2015

Some of America's best minds and artists have been visiting, meeting and performing in Princeton for more than 200 years — from the first sessions of the Continental Congress to the numerous performances of today's thriving local arts community. For this reason and many others, the Westminster Choir College of Rider University is proud to call Princeton home.

In 1932, John Finley Williamson, the founder of the Westminster Choir and the Westminster Choir College, joined a welcoming and caring community in Princeton. Known then and now for its love of the arts, the town has celebrated and supported our musical endeavors from our earliest roots, and for that, we remain very thankful.

Westminster's classes in Princeton were first held in the First Presbyterian Church and the Princeton Seminary until 1934 when the Choir College moved to its present campus. Then, as they do now, students and families have been welcomed by Princeton for commencements and homecoming concerts, and benefited from the many shops, restaurants and museums Princeton offered, making their experience of the town that much more enjoyable.

Over the ensuing decades, Westminster Choir College continued to grow and flourish, culminating with the most recent building of our new Marion Buckelew Cullen Center and the renovation of Robert L. Annis Playhouse. Throughout our growth, we always knew we had a partner in Princeton. From residents attending our events to city planners guiding us through the building process, Princeton has been by our side.

Today, with nearly 500 undergraduate and graduate students, Westminster remains a proud and integral part of the Princeton community. Public performances are held throughout the year, bringing countless guests to enjoy our musical treasures. Westminster’s alumni total 5,000 strong all across the United States and the world. Many remain very connected to Westminster, returning often for performances and alumni events. For them, Princeton will always be home.

But our partnership does not begin and end with the Choir College. Westminster Conservatory, our community music school, welcomes musicians of all ages and stages of learning, many of them from Princeton.

While we look forward to the future with confidence, it is also important and fitting, to take time to commemorate our past. So, on the occasion of Rider University’s 150th anniversary, it seems more than fitting to bestow a Sesquicentennial Medal of Excellence to Princeton, the beloved and longtime home of Westminster Choir College. We are indebted and thankful to Princeton for the positive relationship we have had for over eight decades, and continue to share today.

-Dr. Marshall Onofrio, interim dean of the Westminster College of the Arts