In adopting the report of its Woodrow Wilson Legacy Review committee in March 2016, the Board of Trustees encouraged the University “to develop a process to solicit ideas from the University community for naming buildings or other spaces not already named for historical figures or donors to recognize individuals who would bring a more diverse presence to the campus.”
In response, the Council of the Princeton University Community (CPUC) established a Committee on Naming to provide advice to the Board of Trustees, when requested, with regard to the naming of programs, positions and spaces at Princeton. In September of 2019, the CPUC approved the extension of the committee for an additional three years.
The Committee’s responsibilities are described in the University’s Policy on Naming of Programs, Positions, and Spaces. These responsibilities include:
- recommending to the Board of Trustees names for any programs, spaces or positions referred by the Board to the Committee; and
- providing advice to the Board of Trustees about any proposed names that may be referred by the Board to the Committee.
In 2016-17 the committee recommended that the former West College be renamed Morrison Hall in honor of Nobel Laureate and former Princeton faculty member Toni Morrison; that the name of former Princeton President Harold Dodds be relocated from the main auditorium in Robertson Hall to the atrium; and that the auditorium be renamed Arthur Lewis Auditorium in honor of Nobel Laureate and former Princeton faculty member Sir Arthur Lewis.
In 2017-18 the committee recommended to name a publicly accessible garden between Firestone Library and Nassau Street for Betsey Stockton and to name the easternmost arch in East Pyne Hall for James Collins Johnson. They also recommended to the Trustees that a space be found on campus to honor influential landscape architect Beatrix Farrand. The Board of Trustees accepted their recommendation and chose a courtyard among Henry, Foulke, Laughlin and 1901 halls.
In 2018-2019 the committee recommended to name the roadway that enters the campus from Nassau Street between Firestone Library and the buildings of the Andlinger Center for the Humanities (Scheide Caldwell and Chancellor Green) for pioneering African American alumnus and longtime Princeton resident Robert J. Rivers Jr. He was among the first black undergraduates — as well as one of the first black students from the town of Princeton — admitted to the University.
In 2019-2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the work of the committee was paused.