1974 - 1980
The International Center was founded in 1974 by volunteers - faculty, alumni and their spouses, and community residents - with an office space allocated by the University at 5 Ivy Lane. The volunteers welcomed newly arrived international graduate students and visiting scholars with regular social hours, Host Family, and English Conversation Tutoring programs. In 1978, Dean of the Chapel Ernest Gordon invited the volunteers to move their office to Murray Dodge Hall, the site of his office. A few months later President William Bowen agreed for the University to take over the Center and placed it under the Office of Undergraduate Student Life. Paula Chow, one of the co-founders, became the Director. Her founding partner Louise Sayen sp '38 became the first President of Friends of International Center, which continued to motivate the same volunteers to service Princeton’s international new arrivals. The Friends have continued this relationship with the International Center, both in their services and in their fund raising efforts to benefit the Center and its various initiatives.
1980 - 2007
The International Center extended its programs to enhance intercultural and international understanding on- and off-campus by working with students and offices and initiating additional social, cultural, and extra-curricular educational programs. It was moved to Stevenson Hall in 1999 and then to the new Frist Campus Center in 2001.
2007 - 2010
On May 10, 2007 the Center was named the Kathryn W. and Shelby Cullom Davis ’30 International Center through a generous endowment from Ms. Kathryn W. Davis. Her son Shelby Davis ’58, a trustee of Princeton, had initiated this endowment as a partial celebration for Ms. Davis’s centennial birthday. Ms. Davis together with her late husband and philanthropic family has supported many programs involving world peace and international understanding. We are grateful for their trust, which has enabled us to sustain our support for international students and our efforts to promote cross cultural competency and understanding.
2010 - 2016
In the summer of 2010 following the retirement of long-time Director Paula Chow, the Davis International Center was reorganized and expanded. Staff members from offices that were previously located in separate areas of campus – The Office of Visa Services, the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students, and the International Center were reorganized into one central organization - the Davis International Center - with a new mission to promote the success and well-being of international students and scholars on multiple levels: immigration advising, cultural adjustment, and social enrichment programs, and assistance with practical matters related to living in the U.S. The Center was located in two temporary locations pending completion of a permanent home - the first at 120 Alexander Road (2010-13) and secondly at 87 Prospect Avenue (2013-2016). Jacqueline Leighton was hired to direct the new Center now with nine staff members. The expanded Center adapted a new look and a new mission, but the values remained the same. They were still dedicated to promoting internationalization and cultural understanding at Princeton.
2016 - Present
In December of 2016, the Davis International Center finally moved to their permanent home in the newly renovated Louis A. Simpson International Building A45 located at 20 Washington Road (formerly the old Frick Chemistry Building). Due to the growing international population and increase in complexity of immigration responsibilities, the University supported an expansion and restructuring of the Davis IC staff resulting in a total staff of 12 administrators, advisors, and programmers.