*The residential college at Princeton University formerly named after Woodrow Wilson will be rebuilt and renamed Hobson College. It will be the first building on campus to honor a Black woman.
Alumna Mellody Hobson’s name will grace the school’s newest dorm which houses freshmen students, the university announced.
“This extraordinary gift will be transformative for Princeton,” Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber said. “It will enable us to improve the student experience at Princeton and to reimagine a central part of our campus, while also recognizing a remarkable woman who is a positive, powerful force for change in the world. Mellody Hobson is a wonderful role model for our students, and we are thrilled that her name will now grace our newest residential college.”
The newest residential college will be built on the site of First College, which previously bore the name of Princeton University’s former president, Wilson. The university plans to begin work on Hobson College in 2023 after two brand-new, currently under-construction dorms open. Hobson College is tentatively scheduled to open in Fall 2026, with the goal of welcoming students from the Class of 2030.
A 1991 graduate of the Ivy League school, Hobson serves as Co-CEO of a Chicago-based investments company called Ariel Investments.
“No one from my family had graduated from college when I arrived at Princeton from Chicago, and yet even as I looked up at buildings named after the likes of Rockefeller and Forbes, I felt at home,” said Hobson, whose husband is filmmaker George Lucas. “My hope is that my name will remind future generations of students — especially those who are Black and brown and the ‘firsts’ in their families — that they too belong. Renaming Wilson College is my very personal way of letting them know that our past does not have to be our future.”
Watch a video of her remarks below.
Princeton also snatched Wilson’s name from its public policy school, and had renamed it School of Public and International Affairs.
Wilson served as Princeton’s 13th university president from 1902-1910 before being elected New Jersey’s 34th governor in 1911. Two years later, he became the 28th President of the United States and served two terms in the White House.
However, Wilson has received strong criticism for furthering racial segregation and white supremacy across the country. During his presidency, Wilson segregated the nation’s civil service after it had been integrated for decades.