Princeton Renames a College for Mellody Hobson, Dumps Woodrow Wilson

Princeton University is naming a residential college for finance executive and alumna Mellody Hobson, recognizing her donation for a project to be built at a site that once honored Woodrow Wilson.

Hobson College, bearing the name of the Black co-chief executive officer of Ariel Investments, will be built at the site of First College, formerly known as Wilson College, Princeton said Thursday in a statement. It’s the university’s first residential college named for a Black woman.

Trustees at the Ivy League school stripped Wilson’s name from the residential college and the School of Public and International Affairs this year after determining that his persistent “racism makes him an inappropriate namesake.” The late U.S. president also served as president of Princeton.

“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,” Hobson, a member of the class of 1991, said in the statement.

“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,” she said.

The school declined to provide the amount of the donation. Hobson and the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation made the lead gift. Hobson is married to “Star Wars” filmmaker George Lucas.

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