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Princeton to Name Residential College After a Black Woman

Nov 12, 2020 08:00AM ● By Boitumelo Masihleho
hobson college princeton

Princeton University will name a residential college after Mellody Hobson, a Black woman, making this a first in the history of the institution.

Hobson College will be built on the site of what was Wilson College, with construction on the site is scheduled to begin in 2023 and be completed in 2026. In June 2020, the Board of Trustees voted to remove Woodrow Wilson’s name from the School of Public and International Affairs and Wilson College.

The school recognized that despite the former Princeton president and the 28th U.S. president’s achievements and contributions, his racist views and policies made naming a college after him inappropriate and that students and alumni must stand against racism.


Hobson has become a powerhouse and was named as one of the “100 Most Influential People” in the world by Time Magazine in 2015. She was born in Chicago, the youngest of six children, to a single hard working mother. "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 said in Princeton’s statement.

Hobson graduated from Princeton in 1991 and soon after became an intern at Ariel Investments, a Chicago investment firm, where she is the co-CEO. Hobson once served as a director of Estée Lauder and the board chairwoman of DreamWorks Animations. In 2017, she became the first African-American woman to head The Economic Club of Chicago.

Hobson continues to show her love and compassion for her home city by serving as the chairwoman of After School Matters, a Chicago non-profit organization providing jobs and enrichment programs for inner-city teens. A nationally recognized voice on financial literacy and investor education, Hobson said everyone deserves access to the best education. “Princeton is leading the way to make sure higher education better reflects our society as a whole,” said Hobson.

“I was so proud to serve on the board when the University developed its generous ‘no-loan’ financial aid program. By inviting more students from a variety of backgrounds to attend and contribute, we are not only building a better University community, we’re helping create a better world.”


Princeton University

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 Boitumelo Masihleho is a South African digital content creator. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Rhodes University in Journalism and Media Studies and Politics and International Studies.  

She's an experienced multimedia journalist who is committed to writing balanced, informative and interesting stories on a number of topics. Boitumelo has her own YouTube channel where she shares her love for affordable beauty and lifestyle content.