A veteran mutual fund industry leader is leaving her mark on an Ivy League school.
| Mellody Louise Hobson|
Yesterday Christopher Eisgruber
, president of Princeton University
that the school will name a new residential college after Mellody Hobson
, a Princeton alumna (class of 1991 and a school trustee from 2002 to 2006) who now serves as co-CEO and president of Chicago-based Ariel Investments
. Hobson and the Hobson/Lucas
Family Foundation made what the school is calling a "major gift" to Princeton.
Hobson College will replace First College, formerly known as Wilson College
after former U.S. President Woodrow Wilson. The school removed Wilson's name from the college and from its School of Public and International Affairs back in June because, the communications team explained, "Wilson's racist thinking and policies make him an inappropriate namesake for a school whose scholars, students, and alumni must be firmly committed to combatting the scourge of racism in all its forms." Now Hobson College, the building of which will start in 2023 and which is expected to open in 2026, will be the school's first residential college to be named after a Black woman.
"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 states. "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," Hobson adds. (Hobson was honored
last year with a Woodrow Wilson Award, an honor she described as strange at the time given Wilson's support of segregation.)
Hobson's move comes as Princeton is building two other colleges and engaging in a multi-year student body expansion of about 10 percent.
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