Dear families of the great Class of 2025,
As Head of First College, I offer my warm welcome and congratulations! First College will be your students’ home away from home at Princeton and I am so pleased to welcome them this fall. With this letter, I would like to introduce you to our vibrant and diverse community.
As our name indicates, First College is the oldest of the six Residential Colleges at Princeton, founded as the Woodrow Wilson Lodge in 1957 by students with the aim to “provide a place where individuals…could be accepted for who they are,” and that still forms our guiding principle. For more information about First College, including our history, please visit our website. We also hope that you’ll visit our Facebook page, where we’ll post photos during the year.
In addition to being Head of First College, I am also a Professor in the Religion Department, teaching and researching on religion in Mediterranean antiquity. I thoroughly enjoy getting to know the students, together with my husband Jan Willem van der Werff and our four children (21-year old Kees, 16-year old Erik, and the 8-year-old twins Rosemarie and Annabel), and puppy Bobo! We invite the first-year students to our home with their roommates and friends, and these dinners are a highlight of my role. I am so looking forward to being back in-person with our “Firsties” to create community, get to know one another, learn and relax.
Our wonderful full-time professional staff at First College assists each student in many different ways, academically and personally. Dr. Anne Caswell-Klein is Dean of First College. She and Dr. Johanna Rossi Wagner, Director of Studies, offer guidance with academic matters. Garrett Meggs, Director of Student Life, leads the Residential College Advisers (RCAs) and provides non-academic advising. Dianne Spatafore is the College Program Administrator and Sue Giranda is the College Office Coordinator. I am certain our first-year students will enjoy getting to know them. In addition to the staff, our community consists of Residential College Advisers (RCAs), Peer Academic Advisers (PAAs), Resident Graduate Students (RGS), faculty advisers, and other members of the faculty and staff.
As excited as we are to welcome the Class of 2025 to campus, our first focus is of course on their safety. To stay up to date regarding information around health policies, move-in processes, etc. we recommend that you regularly consult the Path to Princeton website.
I wish you a wonderful remainder of the summer. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have.
With kind greetings,
Head of First College