Notes on Naming


In 1951 the building that is now Corwin Hall was constructed at the corner of Washington Road and Prospect Avenue to house the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. It was known as Woodrow Wilson Hall. In 1963 it was moved to its current location. In 1965 it became the home of the Department of Politics and was named for Edward S. Corwin, the first chair of that department at Princeton.  Robertson Hall was constructed on its former site to serve as the home of the Woodrow Wilson School. There are named spaces within the building, but the atrium has never been named.

West College

West College was built as a dormitory in 1836 on the west side of Cannon Green opposite a building known as East College that had opened as a dormitory just two years earlier. These buildings were named at a time when Nassau Hall was often referred to as Old North.

In 1897 East College was torn down to make way for Pyne Library. Pyne Library was not known as East Pyne until 1965 when the University added the word “East” in connection with the opening of New South. From the beginning, the “West” in West College referred only to the fact that it was located to the west of Cannon Green. 

Honorific Names

Many buildings at Princeton are named for donors or their friends, families or alumni classes, but some have honorific names that were requested by the donors: two examples are Lewis Thomas Laboratory, named at the request of Laurance Rockefeller ’32 for Lewis Thomas ’33, a prominent doctor and essayist, and Bowen Hall, named at the request of Gordon Wu ’58 for former Princeton President William G. Bowen *58. Other buildings have honorific names that were assigned by the Trustees, such as John Maclean House, which was named for the Princeton president who founded the Alumni Association when that office moved into the building in 1968. The building previously had served as the home of the Dean of the Faculty, during which time it was known as the Dean’s House.