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Princeton Dropping Woodrow Wilson and Renaming a College After Black Alumna

Wilson had overseen the segregation of federal government offices, including the Treasury Department. In a meeting in the Oval Office with the civil rights leader Monroe Trotter, Wilson said, “Segregation is not humiliating, but a benefit, and ought to be so regarded by you gentlemen,” according to a transcript of the meeting.

The decision in June contrasted with a vote by Princeton trustees in 2016 to keep Wilson’s name on campus buildings and programs, despite student protests that led to a review of his legacy there.

Last year, Princeton honored Ms. Hobson with the Woodrow Wilson Award, the university’s highest honor for undergraduate alumni. During her acceptance speech, Ms. Hobson reflected on her experiences as a Black student at Princeton and remarked that receiving the Woodrow Wilson Award as a woman of color “requires some cognitive dissonance,” The Daily Princetonian reported.

“Despite the school’s colors, Woodrow Wilson failed to see that orange and black belong together,” she said at the time.

Ms. Hobson studied at the school of international relations and public policy, then named after Wilson, she told The New York Times.

“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,” Ms. Hobson said in the university’s announcement on Thursday. “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.”

Residential communities are central to student life at Princeton and include dormitories, dining facilities and extracurricular programming. Hobson College will be established with a donation from Mellody Hobson and the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation, named for Ms. Hobson and her husband, George Lucas, the filmmaker.

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