StudyAdvantage Magazine

Princeton is Worth $22 Billion – This Man Made It Happen

Published: December 22, 2016

Well, Princeton has an endowment of roughly $22bn, and it pretty much tripled during the involvement of John T. Miller, a Princeton alumnus and former paparazzi photographer. 



In fact, Princeton is the third (financially) best-endowed university in the US, according to US News’ ranking (as of end of ’15):

  1. Harvard, $37.6bn
  2. Yale, $25.5bn
  3. Princeton, $22.3bn
  4. Stanford, $22.2bn
  5. MIT, $13.5bn

But this ranking misses out on two factors. Firstly, it is single-campus based, and if we include ‘University Systems’ like those in Texas and California, actually the University of Texas System beats all institutions except Harvard. Secondly, if you include non-US institutions, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia ranks somewhere in the top 10, and possibly in the top 5 (depending on the year…and maybe oil prices?).  Cambridge beats Oxford as the second best-endowed university outside the US.

Princeton Football Michelle Princeton

To the left a retro picture of the Princeton Tigers (football team), and to the right Princeton alumna Michelle Obama


Fundraising for Universities is a peculiar and interesting industry – and a very large one. Mr. Miller joined Princeton with a past as a paparazzi photographer. The story of the career that brought him to Princeton is interesting (and includes spending time there as an undergraduate student), but his stories of the operations behind arguably the most successful fundraising University in the world, are even more revealing. The last time a campaign failed for Princeton was in 1837, the way to avoid it is the so-called ‘quiet phase’ during campaigns, and 60% of undergraduate alumni donate money to their alma mater every year. For the complete insider perspective from the $22bn man himself, head over to The Atlantic and read the full story.

Natalya Rahman2


Want to know what it’s really like at Princeton? Check out Natalya’s blog, she goes there. 


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