Aaron Burr, Sr. (1716–1757) ---

Aaron Burr, Sr. (1716–1757)

American minister and educator who cofounded the COLLEGE OF NEW JERSEY, which later became Princeton University. Father of Aaron Burr, Jr., the third vice president of the United States, Burr was born in Connecticut and graduated from Yale College, then a conservative Congregationalist divinity school. Like many young ministers, he founded a secondary school as an integral part of his first parish in New Jersey, where he trained young aspirants to the ministry. A split between Presbyterian conservatives (“Old Light”) and reformers (“New Light”) in the 1730s and 1740s led to the establishment of the College of New Jersey by the New Light Synod of New York. Founded in 1746, it was first located in the home of Jonathan Dickinson of Elizabethtown, New Jersey. After Dickinson’s death in 1747, Burr succeeded to the presidency and moved it to his parsonage in Newark. In 1748, he presided over its first commencement exercises in his Newark church. Burr addressed the six graduates in Latin. Five became Presbyterian ministers and the sixth, Richard Stockton, a lawyer and signer of the Declaration of Independence.
Burr served for three years as president and pastor without salary. He drew up the first entrance requirements, the first course of study and the first set of rules and regulations. In 1756, he led the move to Nassau Hall in Princeton, where Jonathan Edwards and other trustee/ministers joined him in directing what was then the largest college in the colonies, with space for a classroom, dormitory, chapel, library and refectory.
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