Princeton Theological Seminary was founded in 1812. The seminary’s first building, Alexander Hall, was established in 1815. The plaque commemorating its establishment reads, “Alexander Hall, cornerstone laid on September 26, 1815. Named to honor the Reverend Archibald Alexander. First Professor of the Seminary (1812–1851). This is the first structure built for use as a seminary by the Presbyterian Church.” While Alexander Hall was dedicated to Archibald Alexander, there were actually three men who founded Princeton Theological Seminary: Alexander, Ashbel Green, and Samuel Miller.

Ashbel Green was born in 1762. After fighting in the Revolutionary War, he studied under John Witherspoon, who was president of Princeton University and a Presbyterian minister. Witherspoon was also the only minister to sign the Declaration of Independence. From 1812 to 1822, Green served as president of Princeton University.

In 1805, Green was the first to formally urge the Presbyterian general assembly to establish a seminary, marking the beginnings of Princeton Theological Seminary. He would serve as a professor there and also as a pastor. He died May 19, 1848.

Samuel Miller was born in 1762 in Dover, Del. He attended the University of Pennsylvania, and from 1839 to 1849, he served as professor of ecclesiastical history and church government at Princeton Theological Seminary. He died January 7, 1850.

Archibald Alexander was born on April 17, 1772, in Lexington, Va. He was a student, a pastor, and a missionary until 1797, when he became president of Hampden–Sydney College. He served in that post from 1797 to 1806. In 1807, he moved to Philadelphia, where he served as pastor of Pine Street Church until 1812. He was appointed the first professor at Princeton, and he served in that capacity from 1812 to 1851. He died October 22, 1851.

Archibald Alexander, Ashbel Green, and Samuel Miller together founded Princeton Seminary. They acted in response to a report brought to the Presbyterian church’s general assembly in 1810. The report stated that there were “no fewer than four hundred vacant congregations within our bounds.” It was with this urgent need for pastors in mind that Alexander, Green, and Miller formed Princeton Theological Seminary with the goal of supplying “learned and pious ministers for the pulpit ministry for the church.”

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