Princeton to name new dorm Hariri Hall after ‘major gift’ from couple

A new dorm scheduled to open on the Princeton University campus next fall will be named Hariri Hall, thanks to a major gift from Margaret and Robert Hariri, the school announced this week.

The Hariris made the gift to the school’s Venture Forward campaign to support undergraduate student expansion at Princeton. Hariri Hall, a new dormitory in Yeh College, will welcome students in the fall of 2022.

Robert Hariri is the founder, chair and CEO of Celularity Inc., a leading human cellular therapeutics company. He is a pioneer in the use of stem cells to treat life-threatening diseases and has made transformative contributions in the field of tissue engineering.

Margaret Hariri is a former special education teacher who switched gears to do marketing and regulatory affairs alongside her husband at Neurodynamics and currently manages several of the Hariri family businesses. She has played a leading role as a trustee, board member or campaign vice chair for several organizations, including Liberty Science Center, Overlook Medical Center and BlinkNow, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to empowering youth in Nepal.

Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber said the gift will help the school fulfill its mission of expanding access.

“Maggie and Bob Hariri have embraced Princeton’s mission-driven focus on expanding opportunities to students from every socioeconomic background,” Eisgruber said. “We are deeply grateful for their leadership and its impact on the generations of Princeton students who will call Hariri Hall home.”

The Hariris said they were delighted to make the contribution.

“Education is the great equalizer, and one of the things that always impressed us about Princeton is how the university focuses on using its campus environment to foster tremendously close relationships between the students,” Robert Hariri said.

“The faculty and people of Princeton are so generous with their time and their intellect, and so deeply committed to the University, that they help perpetuate this Princeton community that lasts the students’ whole lifetimes.”

Margaret Hariri agreed.

“It’s a thrill to be able to make this gift so that others like us — with working-class backgrounds — might be able to attend Princeton,” she said. “We are fortunate to be able to support expanding the opportunities of a Princeton education so that students from a variety of backgrounds can pursue their dreams and proudly wear those beautiful Princeton colors throughout their lives.”

The residential colleges have shaped Princeton’s campus life since the current system was instituted in the early 1980s, and the close-knit community of colleges — which currently include Butler, First, Forbes, Mathey, Rockefeller and Whitman — remain essential to Princeton’s mission and distinctive educational model. The colleges integrate campus dining, social and academic life, and are designed as “centers not only for living but for learning,” providing collegial and collaborative learning environments that are integral to student development and support an inclusive campus community.

Once Yeh College and New College West open in the fall, the university will close First College, which dates back to 1968, and begin to build Princeton’s eighth residential college, Hobson College, in its place.

Yeh College and New College West will share some important features, such as dining areas and common spaces. Their location extends the university’s residential district southward to a point where the more formal landscapes of the central campus lead into the natural landscapes of Lake Carnegie. The proximity to other residential colleges — Butler, First and Whitman — and the recreational open space on Poe and Pardee fields will support interaction, engagement and a strong sense of community.

Jill Dolan, dean of the college, said the gift will have great impact.

“The residential college system is the cornerstone of student life at Princeton, and the construction of new dormitories is essential to the preservation and extension of the University’s dynamic undergraduate experience,” she said.

The Hariri Family Foundation has made numerous philanthropic gifts to support scientific and health research, education, the arts and community service organizations, including the American Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the ALS/TDF Foundation, the National Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, the Roundabout Theater and the Intrepid Historical Foundation. The Hariris have established two professorships at Robert Hariri’s alma maters: Columbia University and Weill Cornell Medicine.

Neither of the Hariris attended Princeton, but two of their children are alumni, and a third is currently enrolled.