B Y T H E N U M B E R S
The staffs charged with running today's five residential colleges can trace their roots to the middle of the last century and the establishment of Woodrow Wilson College.
The college evolved from Woodrow Wilson Lodge, which was founded in 1957 by a dozen members of the class of 1959 to provide an alternative to the eating clubs.
Madison Hall, one of the University's dining halls, served as the common dining and social facility until 1961, when the organization moved to the newly completed Wilcox Hall. At that time, it changed its name to the Woodrow Wilson Society.
The society sponsored a variety of educational and social activities, including hayrides, dances, lectures, recitals and foreign language tables. These activities were strengthened by the faculty fellow program, which brought faculty members into the life of the society.
In 1967, Julian Jaynes, then master-in-residence, proposed to the University that the society become a truly residential entity. Woodrow Wilson College was created the following spring. Two assistant masters-in-residence were appointed as well as resident advisers and academic advisers.
The college was appropriately named -- University President Woodrow Wilson first presented a plan in 1906 to create colleges or "quadrangles" in which undergraduates would live with their own recreational facilities and resident faculty masters. Although the trustees initially approved the plan in principle, they later withdrew their support under pressure from alumni.
Following the creation of Wilson College in 1968, a similar set-up was created in 1970 with the Princeton Inn (now Forbes) College.
Today's residential college system was established after a 1979 report of the Committee on Undergraduate Residential Life called for more extensive integration of dining and social life with academic life. The system is expected to change again with the expansion of the undergraduate student body in 2006, the addition of a sixth college and the creation of three four-year colleges.
Source: "A Princeton Companion" by Alexander Leitch.