Summer/Fall  2000
Volume 5 Number 1

Muriel Van Orden In remembrance of Princeton  Seminary’s first woman B.D. graduate, who died earlier this year and is the subject of an article in this issue, inSpire dedicates this light-hearted section to the vibrant personality of Mrs. Muriel Van Orden Jennings, Class of 1932. The following stories were gathered from previous interviews with Mrs. Jennings conducted by Seminary archivist William O. Harris and Barbara A. Chaapel, director of communications/publications.

A Clothes Call

One of the conditions the faculty and trustees established before Mrs. Jennings received her degree was that she "not disturb the men" during her time of study. In the following story, Jennings recounts a close call.

"Dr. Robert Dick Wilson was much more interested in the mind and in getting students to know the Old Testament than he was in how he was clad. He used to come to class with his suspenders held in place by two safety pins. Sometimes he had a belt, and sometimes he forgot the belt. He wore horn-rimmed glasses and put them down his nose when he wanted to look at you. He just started lecturing and never stopped. Sometimes he called the roll, but other times he forgot.

This particular day I had to finish my thesis so it could go to the typist. I said to a couple of boys in the class that I had to cut Dr. Wilson’s class the next hour. I told them that if Wilson wanted to know where I was, to say that I had taken a cut to go to the

 Punch Drunk!

"Harvey Jennings came to Princeton Seminary from Waynesburg College during my second year. He eventually became my husband. I first met him at a reception at Springdale. Mrs. Stevenson [wife of Seminary president Ross Stevenson] always had me help out at receptions by pouring punch. I noticed one particular young man, a student, and thought, ‘Who is this person? Doesn’t he do anything besides drink punch? He has already had fifteen glasses of punch!’ What I did not realize at the time was that it was Harvey, and he was drinking the punch just to be near me."


 library. In those days no one cared if you cut class. When I came back from the library and was walking across campus, every group of boys I met was howling with laughter. I wondered what in the world they were laughing at. I checked to see if my clothes were in order. I wondered what I had done to make them laugh. Finally, my own class came out of Stuart, and I asked [fellow student] Bill Rogan why everyone was laughing. We sat down on a bench and he told me what had happened.

Apparently, when Wilson came to class he was a little more disheveled than usual, and he was late. He put down his notes and his Bible. He asked people to sign an attendance sheet, and he started lecturing. He had a way of wildly gesticulating while he lectured, and suddenly the last safety pin popped out of his suspenders. Down came his trousers to the floor. The poor, embarrassed man picked up his pants and said, ‘Where is she? Where is she?’ [referring to Mrs. Jennings, the only female student in the class]. The boys just howled. One of them said, ‘Don’t worry, Dr. Wilson. She cut class to go to the library.’ He put up his hands and said, ‘Praise God from whom all blessings flow!’

This is a true story. 

If you have humorous anecdotes or photographs relating something funny from your days at Princeton Seminary, send them to us at Funny You Should Remember, c/o inSpire, P. O. Box 821, Princeton, NJ 08542-0803 or by email to Of course, the editors reserves the right to decide what is appropriate for this column.

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