Princeton University Class of 1955

Fifty Five Fund for Senior Thesis Research


   Do you recognize this petroglyph? It is on the west wall of Dillon Gym at the bottom of the short flight of stairs which lead toward Pyne Hall. It was installed on the occasion of our 25th Reunion to commemorate our class gift of a $100,000 scholarship.     

   In 1980, Princeton University was the beneficiary of the 25 year term life insurance policies which Jim Babcock, class agent in 1955, convinced 94% of classmates to purchase. These policies, with an annual premiums of $10 to $ 20, constituted the Class Memorial Fund. When that fund matured, it yielded just over $307,930. Instead of adding the entire sum to the great anonymous pool of unrestricted gifts, our class elected to use $100,000 to endow a scholarship to help students defray the expenses involved in creating their senior thesis. Another $5,000 was used to install the memorial niche pictured here. The remaining $202,930 was added to the Annual Giving total of $1,035,709, at the time, Princeton all class, all time record.    

   The Fifty Five Fund for Senior Thesis Research as of May, 2016, had a market value of $1,888,514.00. To date, 1111 seniors have benefited. Last year, 64 members of the Class of 2016 shared some portion of $76,162.00, mostly in the form of travel grants. 

   Since 2005, the Office of the Dean of the College which administers this fund has awarded an average of $66,000 annually.  (Click here to read thank you letters.) Even though there is income of $79,970.00 available for distribution this year, grants from the Fifty Five Fund have been insufficient to provide support for every applicant.   

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