Oct 9, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Princeton to honor Black alumna at college previously named for Woodrow Wilson

Mike Allen

Photo: Sameer A. Khan/Fotobuddy

Princeton University, which said in June that it was dropping Woodrow Wilson's name on campus because of his racist views, will tear down Wilson College and replace it on the site as Hobson College, named for boardroom powerhouse Mellody Hobson, one of the most senior women in finance.

Why it matters: Hobson College will be the first residential college at Princeton named for a Black woman. (Princeton's residential colleges are complexes of dormitories and social space.)

Hobson and the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation made the lead gift for the new college. Construction will begin in 2023.

  • "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," Hobson said in Princeton's announcement.
  • "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."

The backstory: Hobson's "career as co-CEO of Ariel Investments began with a summer internship in 1989. She also ... serves on the boards of Starbucks and JPMorgan Chase. Previously, she served as a director of Estée Lauder and board chair of DreamWorks Animation SKG," Princeton said.

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