The College of New Jersey recently unveiled a new exhibit titled “Our Trenton Roots” in the lobby of Trenton Hall on the college’s Ewing campus.
The display explores the history of the college from its beginning in 1855 as the New Jersey State Normal School on North Clinton Avenue in Trenton.
Trenton was added to the name in 1908 and ushered in a series of names: New Jersey State Teachers College and State Normal School at Trenton in 1929; New Jersey State Teachers College at Trenton in 1937, and Trenton State College in 1958.
The college purchased property in Ewing and began its move from Trenton in 1928. It broke completely from Trenton in 1996 when it changed its name to the College of New Jersey — a name originally used by Princeton University.
The exhibition was conceived, designed, written, and fabricated by TCNJ students and faculty from the history and interactive multimedia departments.
“Our Trenton Roots” grew from recommendations from the TCNJ Advisory Commission on Social Justice, which “aims to increase the awareness of, and engagement with, the cities of Trenton and Ewing among TCNJ students,” says a press release.
The exhibit includes informational panels, historical photos, an interactive touch screen kiosk, and vintage video and audio stations.
Members of the campus community will update the exhibition periodically.
TCNJ’s Trenton Hall reflects the institution’s interest in both the city of Trenton and social reflection.
Originally named Paul Loser Hall, its name was changed in 2017. A statement from the college notes the decision was made after “archival research conducted by TCNJ students revealed that Dr. Loser, as superintendent of Trenton schools from 1932-1955, supported and maintained a segregated school system that shaped the prospects for opportunity for generations of Trentonians.”
During the name rededication, then-TCNJ President R. Barbara Gitenstein said: “The name Trenton Hall embraces the college’s history. We have a longstanding history with the city and this name will remind us and everyone who visits campus that TCNJ’s roots run through our state capital.”
Trenton Hall houses the college’s office of admissions and school of nursing, health, and exercise science.
This article was originally published in the December 2018 Trenton Downtowner.