History won’t only be taught at Princeton University — it will be made.
The Ivy League college is naming a residential college after Mellody Hobson, an influential finance expert who is an alumna and major donor to the school.
She will be the first Black woman to have that honor in the Elizabeth, New Jersey-based school’s 274-year history.
Hobson College will be built on a site once named for former President Woodrow Wilson, who served as the commander-in-chief from 1913 to 1921.
Amid America’s racial reawakening following the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, Princeton announced that it would remove the late Democratic politician’s name from its School of Public and International Affairs and one of its residential colleges, citing his “racist thinking and policies.”
“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 Princeton’s Class of 1991, said. “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.”
On Thursday, the prestigious school announced that Hobson, who is the co-CEO of Ariel Investments and a former CBS News contributor, have made the lead gift to establish a new residential college which will begin construction in 2023 with plans to open in 2026.
“This extraordinary gift will be transformative for Princeton,” President Christopher L. Eisgruber shared. “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.”
The school said it began discussing the donation with Hobson, who is married to “Star Wars” producer George Lucas, last year.
Named one of the “100 Most Influential People” in the world, the Chicago native is vice chair of World Business Chicago, a board member 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.
The 51-year-old businesswoman is a champion of corporate diversity and has appeared as a contributor and analyst for CBS and ABC news programs.
The financial literacy and investor education advocate married Lucas in 2013.
Together, they co-chair the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. The couple were awarded the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy in 2019.
Hobson also serves a board member of the George Lucas Education Foundation.
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