Major gift from Mellody Hobson ’91 names new residential college

Thursday, Oct 8, 2020

by University Advancement

Mellody Hobson and the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation have made the lead gift to establish a new residential college at Princeton University. Hobson College will be the first residential college at Princeton named for a Black woman and will be built on the site of First College, formerly known as Wilson College.

“This extraordinary gift will be transformative for Princeton,” said President Christopher L. Eisgruber ’83, who began discussing the gift with Hobson last year. “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. I am grateful to Mellody and the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation for their generosity and their forward-thinking commitment to Princeton.”

The University plans to begin work on Hobson College in 2023, following the opening of two new, currently under-construction colleges: Perelman College and a second undergraduate residential college. Hobson College will be the third new residential college and is tentatively scheduled to open in the fall of 2026, in time to welcome the Class of 2030.

“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, who is co-CEO of Ariel Investments and a member of Princeton’s Class of 1991. “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.”

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