John D. Rockefeller 3rd College was created in September 1982, one of five residential colleges established in the 1980s, following the recommendation of the Committee on Undergraduate Residential Life. Trustee Laurance S. Rockefeller '32 gave $5 million in April 1980, later augmented by $1.5 million more from the Rockefeller family, to redevelop the northwest corner of the campus, including part of the former Commons, in commemoration of his brother John D. Rockefeller 3rd '29.
The buildings of Rockefeller College include some of Princeton’s most beautiful landmarks. The dormitories are Holder Hall (completed in 1910), Witherspoon Hall (completed in 1877), a portion of Blair Hall (completed in 1897), and a portion of Campbell Hall (completed in 1909). The central dining and social facilities of Rockefeller College are located in the group of buildings formerly known as Commons. This complex, designed by Day and Klauder and erected in 1916, has been called “the best example of the Collegiate Gothic style in the country.” The entire structure was completely renovated in 2007 and remodeled to connect up the dining halls of Rockefeller and Mathey Colleges through a common servery, as well as to accommodate the new programs being established at the colleges.