Born in Hatfield, Massachusetts, Jonathan Dickinson graduated from the Collegiate School of Connecticut (later known as Yale University). Dickinson studied theology and around 1707 or 1708, he became pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethtown, New Jersey.
In 1739, Dickinson became one of the leaders for a seminary of learning in the middle colonies. He won a Royal Charter creating the College of New Jersey on October 22, 1746. The first trustees announced Dickinson’s appointment as the first president in April 1747.
The College was founded in Elizabethtown. During that first year, Dickinson was president and the only teacher for about 10 students, housed with various families in town.
After Dickinson's death on October 7, 1747, the school was later moved to Newark in 1748.
The Reverend Jonathan Dickinson
College of New Jersey
(now Princeton University)