One of my highest priorities as Princeton’s president is to increase the number of first-generation and lower-income (FLi) students who make it to and through college, at this University and across the United States. We know that a college education is a rocket-booster for students from less privileged backgrounds, and we know, too, that these talented young people make tremendous contributions to college campuses and to the world after graduation.
For that reason, I am thrilled that as Princeton celebrates the trailblazing achievements of our FLi students during “FLi Is Fly Week,” we are also announcing the establishment of the Emma Bloomberg Center for Access and Opportunity. The Center will be transformative for Princeton. It will enable us to expand on our efforts to ensure that FLi students thrive at Princeton—efforts that have helped us to take Princeton’s FLi enrollment from around 6% of the student body two decades ago to more than 20% today.
Our goal is not only to improve Princeton, but also to elevate this important conversation across the higher education community. The Emma Bloomberg Center for Access and Opportunity will foster new collaborations with colleges and universities around the country. We expect that Princeton can learn from what others are doing, and that we can partner to increase the presence and impact of FLi students on our campuses and beyond.
I am delighted that Associate Dean Khristina Gonzalez will become the inaugural Bob Peck ’88 Director of the Emma Bloomberg Center for Access and Opportunity. Dean Gonzalez is a national leader in her field: she understands well the strengths and the needs of lower-income students, she is deeply committed to the values of liberal arts education, and she works constructively to identify and share best practices across institutions.