West College will be renamed for professor emerita and Nobel laureate in literature Toni Morrison, the University announced April 18. Dodds Auditorium, the most prominent teaching space in the Woodrow Wilson School, will be renamed the Arthur Lewis Auditorium. It honors W. Arthur Lewis, a winner of the Nobel Prize in economics and a member of the Wilson School’s faculty from 1963 to 1983.
The name of former Princeton president Harold Dodds *1914 will be transferred to the atrium of Robertson Hall, recognizing Dodds’ role in the development of the Wilson School.
The changes, approved by Princeton trustees to take effect July 1, were recommended by a committee created to offer suggestions on the naming of buildings or other spaces “to recognize individuals who would bring a more diverse presence to the campus.”
The naming group was one of several initiatives resulting from the report of the University’s Wilson Legacy Review Committee. A separate group is developing recommendations for a permanent marker to be located on Scudder Plaza “that educates the campus community and others about both the positive and negative dimensions of Wilson’s legacy.”
More than 210 members of the University community submitted naming suggestions through a website created last fall.
“By taking these steps we begin to recognize more completely the extraordinary range of individuals and groups that have made this University what it is today,” President Eisgruber ’83 said, “and to inscribe upon the fabric of our campus a fuller account not only of Princeton’s history, but also of the commitments to both excellence and inclusivity that must guide our aspirations for the future.”
Morrison taught courses at Princeton in the humanities and African American studies from 1989 to 2006. In 1993, she became the first African American to win the Nobel Prize in literature.
Lewis taught courses in economic development and economic history at Princeton from 1963 to 1983. Lewis was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1963 and won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1979, and he remains the only person of African descent to win a Nobel Prize in a field other than literature or peace. He died in 1991.
West College, built in 1836, is “the most prominent and central building on campus that is not currently named to honor an individual, family, or group,” Eisgruber said previously. The “west” in West College refers to its location to the west of Cannon Green.
The naming announcement followed a decision last winter by the Princeton Club of New York to rename its dining room from the Woodrow Wilson Room to “Nassau 1756,” the year Nassau Hall opened its doors, said club president Richard Block ’73.
“A group of minority members attended a meeting of the club’s board to share their feelings regarding the name and why they thought it would be important to remove it,” Block said in an email. “After thoughtful discussion, the board voted and a majority agreed to remove the name.”