James McCosh was the eleventh president of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), from 1868 through 1888. McCosh was known as a dynamic force on campus: he taught classes while he was president, modernized the curriculum, encouraged broad elective course options, created schools of science, philosophy, and art, and expanded extracurricular activities at the University.
McCosh was an outspoken opponent of slavery. Beginning during his presidency, African American theology students were allowed to sit in on classes at the College. This prompted a walkout and calls for McCosh to ban these students from attending the classes. Ultimately, these calls were unsuccessful, and African Americans continued taking classes. However, it was not until the 1947 that the first African American students graduated from Princeton University with an undergraduate degree.