First College (formerly Wilson College), the first of Princeton's six residential colleges, began in 1957 when a group of students formed the “Woodrow Wilson Lodge.” The Lodge advocated a more thorough integration of academic, social, and residential life on campus, and offered students “a place where individuals could be accepted for who they are.” The next few years saw an increased interest among students in joining this “alternative facility.” The Woodrow Wilson Lodge grew to number nearly four hundred students, and was renamed Woodrow Wilson College in 1968. Known affectionately as “The College of Destiny” by its residents, the college has maintained a tradition of student governance and promotion of diversity; it is a tradition that inspired the creation of an expanded residential system which now includes six residential colleges and serves undergraduates from all four class years.
First College today is home to roughly 500 first-years and sophomores, eighteen upper-class Residential College Advisors (RCAs) and ten Residential Graduate Students (RGSs). The college staff includes head of college AnneMarie Luijendijk, dean, director of studies, director of student life, college program administrator and college office coordinator. Approximately 450 juniors and seniors remain members of First College as well, living in dormitories near our quads. The college contains a ceramics studio, Black Box Theater, dance studio, kitchen, and the beautiful Julian Street Library, among other amenities.
Regardless of where they live, First College students benefit from a continued relationship with their residential college community. First College's academic and social programming, much of which is organized by students, complements the classroom and extracurricular experience. The college functions as an integrated living and learning environment with something to offer students at every stage of their undergraduate careers.