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| Published in Interesting Facts | Written by Irene Adler

Interesting Facts about Famous Universities

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How well do you know the university or college you are going to study at? You might have learned everything starting from its date of establishment and up to the most popular songs of its marching band. There are things, however, that don’t lie on the surface. We had no intention to drawn you in the sea of facts and figures. Instead, we picked a few entertaining pieces of information that seem to be of interest for those whose choice fell on the universities of Yale, Oxford, and Princeton.

  • The Great Conspiracy of Yale

Skull and Bones is probably the most mysterious secret society in the world. Being the oldest at Yale University, it unites members that originate from various backgrounds and are known unofficially as ‘Bonesmen’. Its history goes back to 1832 when three Yale societies: Calliopean Society, Linonia, and Brothers in Unity had a debate over Phi Beta Kappa awards.

One of the theories claims that its main founder William Huntington Russell brought the idea from Germany where he had previously studied. The first name of the society was Eulogian Club, but later its founders adopted the symbol of death as their main emblem and renamed the society into Skull and Bones.

Two main reasons for speculations are secrecy and a notable line-up. Among its members were George Bush, John Kerry, and many other famous figures.

The way that sittings of the society are held is hardly known to anyone. Over the years, its members managed to prevent almost all informational leaks. It is known, however, that during the graduation year its members have to go through a confession ritual. While being in the Tomb (the name of their hall) at night, they have to share their dreams and wishes. The next night is the time for revealing sexual experiences of childhood and youth. It is sometimes claimed that a pledge should lie in a coffin and then, publicly masturbating in the presence of other society members, tell his embarrassing sexual secrets. The thing raising the most discussions is that the pledge has to commit a certain offence for the glory of the society.

  • The Legend of Frideswide of Oxford

The legend of Oxford saint patron Frideswide is a beautiful and unexpectedly happy ending one. Frideswide was a young princess who lived in the city of Oxford with her father. She had no mother and was brought up and cared about by kind nuns. Probably this is why she resolved that she would never have a husband and would devote her life to god. As years went by, she got prettier and princes from neighboring regions and remote kingdoms came to ask to marry her. Her father declined all the offers saying that his daughter was not old enough to wed until, one day, she was. Upon hearing that she was to marry, Frideswide gathered some food, took her ladies and ran away. Together they took a boat and hid in a tiny village down the river, waited until the sounds of their pursuit grew fainter and then continued their journey.

A few weeks later Frideswide heard that her father was dead with grief for her absence and decided to return home. As soon as she entered the city of Oxford, the bells started ringing and her father the King rose happily from his sick bed.

However, the prince heard about her return as well and came to claim her hand.

Having seen him, Frideswide started praying to God for help, and amazingly, God answered with a bolt of lightning that made the prince blind. The prince weighed up his priorities and decided that his desire for Frideswide was much weaker that his desire to see again. Frideswide prayed once more, and God restored prince’s ability to see. Thus, Frideswide’s intention to become a nun was respected, and she was never forced to marry again.


  • A Giant Leap for Mankind. Princeton University

As a matter of fact, Princeton is the only educational establishment in the world that had its flag placed on…the moon!!! On 19 November 1969, Charles “Pete” Conrad, an American astronaut and Princeton graduate, became the third person to step on the moon. Along with a quite expected American symbol (flag), Conrad decided to commemorate his own alma mater by setting its pennant on the surface of the Earth’s satellite.

Not that nobody expected the career Conrad decided to take up. While being an undergraduate, he joined Aeronautical Engineering program, worked as Vice-President of the Flying Club and in general was very fond of everything related to flying. In 1962, he applied for the astronaut position and was selected one of the nine trainees.

The famous flag is still kept in the University Archives.

We hope it was quite interesting for you. To tell the truth, there are plenty of exciting and even mysterious things to find out about old universities around the world. All you have to do is search for information more thoroughly.