Welcoming the incoming engineering class to Princeton on the evening of Sept. 7, Dean Andrea Goldsmith called on students to forge lifelong friendships, take intellectual risks and embrace the liberal arts as well as science and engineering.
“I really hope you will find yourselves transformed by all of the things that Princeton has to offer, and you will leave here a slightly different person because of the experience that you have here, because of the friends and mentors that you will encounter,” said Goldsmith, the Arthur LeGrand Doty Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
Princeton Engineering is expanding, Goldsmith told members of the new class gathered beneath a tent in the Friend Center courtyard. Besides creating a new engineering and environmental science campus, Princeton is hiring 40 to 50 new faculty and adding to its strengths in bioengineering, robotics and computer science.
“This is a very exciting time to be an engineering student,” she said. “We are really transforming the school.”
With a record 440 first-year students, engineering undergraduates represent roughly 30% of the entering class of 2026. Goldsmith told the new students that they had made a wise choice in attending Princeton because of the commitment of its faculty to education and the quality and enthusiasm of their classmates.
“We know you probably had many options of places you could go to study engineering,” she said. “We are going to do everything possible to exceed your expectations in coming here.”
Goldsmith said Princeton is striving to increase diversity in engineering and this remains one of the school’s priorities.
“I am very passionate about diversity because I don’t believe engineering can meet its full potential without a diversity of people and diverse ideas,” she said.
Peter Bogucki, the associate dean for undergraduate affairs, introduced faculty representatives of the engineering school’s departments. The representatives described research and academic strengths of their fields and encouraged students to explore all their options at the university. Representatives of student engineering organizations followed with presentations about their groups.
In her address, Goldsmith urged students to take risks and to persevere, noting that in her first year as an engineering student she failed a physics and received Cs in calculus. She considered dropping out. “But I decided no I am going to keep going,” she said.
“That may seem scary,” she said. “But taking risks is how you learn. It’s also how you forge new paths and break new ground.”