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Whitman to be Princeton’s Sixth Residential College

— Princeton University has received a gift from alumna Meg Whitman to establish a sixth Princeton residential college. It will be named Whitman College and construction is expected to begin on its new buildings in 2004.

Although Harvard in the 1930s was the first university in the United States to establish a system of residential colleges, the collegiate idea had been proposed more than a decade earlier at Princeton University by Woodrow Wilson, then Princeton’s president and later President of the United States. (The money for the first residential colleges at Harvard came from a Yale alumnus, and the joke of the time was that the colleges were “a Princeton idea being tried out at Harvard with Yale money.”) Because Princeton has historically had a very strong system of private social clubs, when the university did at last begin to implement some of Wilson’s original plans in the 1960s it focused on colleges for freshmen and sophomores rather than for the entire undergraduate population. The Princeton colleges are now gradually broadening that original arrangement, and Whitman College as well as two of the existing colleges will soon take in members from all the undergraduate classes, as well as some graduate students.

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