Princeton University Announces New Residential College

Mellody Hobson and the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation have made a gift to Princeton University to establish Hobson College, a new residential college to replace the former Wilson College.

A woman who has been named one of the “100 Most Influential People” in the world by Time Magazine is leaving her mark on the Princeton University campus with a gift that will establish a new undergraduate residential college.

Mellody Hobson, a member of the Class of 1991, and the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation have made the lead gift to establish Hobson College. The college will be constructed on the site of what is now known as First College and will be the first residential college at Princeton to be named after a Black woman.

Until this past summer, First College was known as Wilson College and was one of the earliest parts of the university’s residential college system, established in the early 1980s. Amid nationwide reckoning about cultural and institutional racism this summer, former university and U.S. president Woodrow Wilson’s name was dropped from the college and from the university’s school of public and international affairs.

“This extraordinary gift will be transformative for Princeton,” said President Christopher L. Eisgruber in a statement. “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.”

Construction on Hobson College is anticipated to begin in 2023 and scheduled to be completed in 2026, in time to welcome the Class of 2030. In the meantime the university is constructing two additional new residential colleges, which will join Rockefeller, Mathey, Forbes, Whitman, Butler, and First for a total of eight.

“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. “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.”

In addition to her investment work Hobson is chair of After School Matters, a Chicago nonprofit providing thousands of inner-city teens with after-school enrichment programs and summer jobs. With her husband, George Lucas, the film director of “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” fame, she co-chairs the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. She is also a board member of the George Lucas Education Foundation.

Hobson is also vice chair of World Business Chicago and serves on the boards of the Economic Club of Chicago, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Bloomberg Philanthropies. She is also a trustee at the Rockefeller Foundation.

Princeton University, 1 Nassau Hall, Princeton 08544. Christopher L. Eisgruber, president.

Rider Athletics Gets $2.5 Million Donation

Two anonymous donors have made the largest ever donation to Rider University Athletics, a $2.5 million gift to help fund upgrades to the school’s Alumni Gym to create a modern NCAA Division I arena.

The school has now raised $11 million toward the project’s $17.7 million price tag. Upgrades include the addition of a practice court, new lighting and flooring, a video board, expanded and luxury box seating, new locker rooms, meeting rooms, and coaches’ offices, new ticketing and concession areas, more restrooms, and other improvements.

“Now is the time for all of us to do everything we can to support Rider athletes, and the best way to do that is to invest in the arena project,” one of the donors said in a statement. “The project plans are fantastic, and we know just how impactful this facility upgrade will be for the entire university community. Now more than ever is the time for our fellow alumni and friends to do all they can to support this project in a significant way.”

“We are incredibly grateful for this leadership gift,” Rider University president Gregory G. Dell’Omo said in the statement. “It will help us realize our vision of turning Alumni Gym into an arena and make athletic competitions there an even more enjoyable experience for both student-athletes and the spectators who cheer them on.”

For more information or to make a donation, visit or call 609-896-5291.


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