Yale University

Template:Infobox University2 This article is about the institution of higher learning in the United States. For other uses, see Yale (disambiguation).

Yale University is a private university in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701 as the Collegiate School, Yale is the third-oldest American institution of higher education. The University has graduated numerous Nobel Prize laureates and U.S. Presidents, including William Howard Taft, Gerald Ford (LL.B), George H.W. Bush (BA), Bill Clinton (JD), and George W. Bush (BA). Its $12.7 billion academic endowment is the second largest worldwide (behind only its larger rival, Harvard University).

Yale's emphasis on undergraduate teaching is unusual among its peer research universities. The undergraduate College is one of the most selective in the United States, accepting fewer than 10 percent of its applicants, and has produced more Rhodes Scholars than any institution save Harvard. Undergraduates live in a unique residential college system. Yale's graduate schools include strong drama, music, architecture, and medical programs. The Yale Law School is the most selective in the United States, and has graduated U.S. presidents and Supreme Court justices. Overall, the University has more than 3,000 faculty members, among whom Sterling Professors are considered the highest rank.

Yale is one of the eight members of the Ivy League. The rivalry between Yale and Harvard is long and storied, by far the oldest in the Ivy League; from academics to rowing to college football, their historic competition is similar to that of Oxford and Cambridge.

Where the more subjective question of "prestige" is concerned, Yale also fares well. For example, in the faculty reputational surveys which form a key component of the college and university rankings published annually by US News & World Report, Yale consistently ranks in the top echelon (along with Princeton, Harvard, MIT, and Stanford).



Yale traces its beginnings to "An Act for Liberty to Erect a Collegiate School" passed by the General Court of the Colony of Connecticut and dated October 9, 1701. Soon thereafter, a group of ten Congregationalist ministers, all of whom were Harvard alumni, met in Branford, Connecticut, to pool their books to form the school's first library. [1] (http://www.thecrimson.com/fmarchives/fm_03_11_1999/article5I.html). The group is now known as The Founders.

Originally called the Collegiate School of Connecticut, the institution opened in the home of its first rector, Abraham Pierson, in Killingworth, Connecticut. In 1716, the college moved to New Haven, Connecticut, where it remains to this day.

In the meanwhile, a rift was forming at Harvard between its sixth president Increase Mather (Harvard A.B., 1656) and the rest of the Harvard clergy, which Mather viewed as increasingly liberal, ecclesiastically lax, and overly broad in Church polity. The relationship worsened after Mather resigned, and the administration repeatedly rejected his son and ideological colleague, Cotton Mather (Harvard A.B., 1678), for the position of the Harvard presidency. The feud caused the Mathers to champion the success of the Collegiate School in the hopes that it would maintain the Puritan religious orthodoxy in a way that Harvard had not [2] (http://college.hmco.com/history/readerscomp/rcah/html/ah_057300_matherincrea.htm).

In 1718, at the behest of either Rector Andrew or Governor Gurdon Saltonstall, Cotton Mather contacted a successful businessman in England named Elihu Yale to ask him for financial help in constructing a new building for the college. Yale responded with a generous gift of nine bales of goods, which were then sold for a net profit of over 560—a substantial sum of money at the time. Yale also donated 417 books and a portrait of King George I. Cotton Mather suggested that the building adopt the name Yale in gratitude, and eventually the entire institution became Yale College. Elihu Yale never saw the school that bore his name; he died three years later in 1721.

Serious American students of theology and divinity, particularly in New England, regarded Hebrew as a classical language, along with Greek and Latin, and essential for study of the Old Testament in the original words. Reverend Ezra Stiles, president of the College from 1778 to 1795, brought with him his interest in the Hebrew language as a vehicle for studying ancient Biblical texts in their original language (as was common in other prestigious schools, for instance Harvard), requiring all freshmen to study Hebrew (in contrast to Harvard, where all upperclassmen were required to study the language) and is responsible for the Hebrew words "Urim" and "Thummim" on the Yale seal.

Yale College expanded gradually, establishing the Yale Medical School (1810), Yale Divinity School (1822), Yale Law School (1843), Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (1847), the Sheffield Scientific School (1861), and the Yale School of Fine Arts (1869). (The divinity school was founded by Congregationalists who felt that the Harvard Divinity School had become too liberal.) In 1887, as the college continued to grow under the presidency of Timothy Dwight V, Yale College was renamed to Yale University. The university would later add the Yale School of Music (1894) and Yale School of Public Health (1915), and reorganize its relationship with the Sheffield Scientific School. The University's youngest school, the Yale School of Management (http://www.mba.yale.edu/), was founded in 1976.

See also: Oxbridge rivalry, which documents a similar history in which Cambridge University was founded by dissident scholars from its "rival" Oxford University

Heads of Collegiate School, Yale College, and Yale University

Rectors of Yale College birth–death years as rector
1 Rev. Abraham Pierson (1641–1707) (1701–1707) Collegiate School
2 Rev. Samuel Andrew (1656–1738) (1707–1719) (pro tempore)
3 Rev. Timothy Cutler (1684–1765) (1719–1726) 1718/9: renamed Yale College
4 Rev. Elisha William(s) (1694–1755) (1726–1739)
5 Rev. Thomas Clap (1703–1767) (1740–1745)
Presidents of Yale College birth–death years as president
1 Rev. Thomas Clap (1703–1767) (1745–1766)
2 Rev. Naphtali Daggett (1727–1780) (1766–1777) (pro tempore)
3 Rev. Ezra Stiles (1727–1795) (1778–1795)
4 Timothy Dwight IV (1752–1817) (1795–1817)
5 Jeremiah Day (1773–1867) (1817–1846)
6 Theodore Dwight Woolsey (1801–1899) (1846–1871)
7 Noah Porter III (1811–1892) (1871–1886)
8 Timothy Dwight V (1828–1916) (1886–1899) 1887: renamed Yale University
9 Arthur Twining Hadley (1856–1930) (1899–1921)
10 James Rowland Angell (1869–1949) (1921–1937)
11 Charles Seymour (1885–1963) (1937–1951)
12 Alfred Whitney Griswold (1906–1963) (1951–1963)
13 Kingman Brewster, Jr. (1919–1988) (1963–1977)
14 Hanna Holborn Gray (1930– ) (1977–1977) (acting)
15 A. Bartlett Giamatti (1938–1989) (1977–1986)
16 Benno C. Schmidt, Jr. (1942– ) (1986–1992)
17 Howard R. Lamar (1923– ) (1992–1993) (acting)
18 Richard C. Levin (1947– ) (1993– )

Intellectual "schools"

Because of its age and prestige, Yale has been responsible for many intellectual trends. Most famously, these have come out of Yale's English and literature departments, starting with New Criticism. Of the New Critics, Robert Penn Warren, W.K. Wimsatt, and Cleanth Brooks were all Yale faculty. Later, after the passing of the New Critical fad, the Yale literature department became a center of American deconstruction, with French and Comparative Literature departments centered around Paul de Man and supported by the English department. This has become known as the "Yale School." Yale's history department has also originated important intellectual trends. Historian C. Vann Woodward is credited for beginning in the 1960s an important stream of southern historians; likewise, David Montgomery, a labor historian, advised many of the current generation of labor historians in the country. Most noticeably, a tremendous number of currently active Latin American historians were trained at Yale in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s by Emlia Viotta da Costa; younger Latin Americanists tend to be "intellectual cousins" in that their advisors were advised by the same people at Yale. Because so many of the country's law professors were trained at Yale Law School, there is a similar effect in legal education.


Yale's library system is the second largest in North America with a total of almost 11 million volumes, after Harvard (15 million volumes). The main library, Sterling Memorial Library, contains about 4 million volumes. The Beinecke Rare Book Library is housed in a marble building designed by Gordon Bunshaft, of the firm of Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill. Its courtyard sculptures are by Isamu Noguchi. Other resources include the Peabody Museum of Natural History and the Yale Center for British Art.

Yale architecture

Missing image
Harkness Tower

Although most of the Yale buildings have a Gothic architecture similar to that of Cambridge or Oxford universities and appear ancient, in fact they were built in the 1930s, a fact which becomes apparent when the gargoyles on the roofs of the buildings are more closely examined; they portray such distinctly contemporary college denizens as a writer, an athlete, a tea-drinking socialite, and a student. Similarly, the decorative friezes on the buildings depict such distinctly contemporary scenes as policemen chasing a robber and arresting a prostitute, or a student relaxing with a mug of beer and a cigarette. The architect, James Gamble Rogers, added to the appearance of great age of these buildings by splashing the walls with acid (http://www.yaleherald.com/article.php?Article=3566), deliberately breaking their leaded glass windows and repairing them in the style of the Middle Ages, and creating niches for decorative statuary but leaving them empty to simulate loss or theft over the ages. In fact, the buildings do not merely simulate Middle Ages architecture, but are actually constructed of solid stone blocks in the authentic manner. Harkness Tower, at 216 feet, was, when built, the tallest free-standing stone structure in the world; it has since been reinforced, however, as a precaution.

The truly old buildings on campus, paradoxically, are built in the Georgian style and appear much more modern. This includes the oldest building on campus, Connecticut Hall (built in 1750). Newer Georgian structures include Timothy Dwight College, Pierson College, and the interior of Davenport College.

The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, designed by Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, is the largest building in the world reserved exclusively for the preservation of rare books and manuscripts. It is located near the center of the University in Hewitt Quadrangle, which is now more commonly referred to as "Beinecke Plaza". A six-story above-ground tower of book stacks is surrounded by a windowless rectangular building with walls made of translucent Vermont marble, which transmit subdued lighting to the interior and provide protection from direct light, while glowing from within after dark. The sculptures in the sunken courtyard by Isamu Noguchi are said to represent time (the pyramid), the sun (the circle), and chance (the cube).

Nonresidential campus buildings

Campus Life

Residential colleges

Yale has a system of 12 residential colleges, instituted in the early 1930s through a grant by Yale graduate Edward S. Harkness, who admired the college system at Oxford and Cambridge. Undergraduate students are accepted by the university as a whole, and assigned to residential colleges at random. (A special dispensation, though, is made for "legacy" students or students with siblings currently enrolled in Yale College; they may request to be placed in the same college or to be placed in a different college.) Each college has a carefully constructed support structure for students, including a Dean, Master, affiliated faculty, and resident Fellows. Each college also features distinctive architecture, secluded courtyards, and facilities ranging from libraries to squash courts to darkrooms. While each college at Yale offers its own seminars, social events, and Master's Teas with guests from the outside world, Yale students also take part in academic and social programs across the university, and all of Yale's 2,000 courses are open to undergraduates from any college.

Residential colleges are named for important figures or places in university history or notable alumni; they are deliberately not named for benefactors.

Residential Colleges of Yale University (official list (http://www.yale.edu/admit/freshmen/residential_life/index.html)):

  1. Berkeley College [3] (http://www.yale.edu/berkeley/) - named for the Rt. Rev. George Berkeley (1685-1753), early funder of Yale.
  2. Branford College [4] (http://www.yale.edu/branford/) - named for Branford, Connecticut, where Yale was briefly located.
  3. Calhoun College [5] (http://www.yale.edu/calhoun/) - named for John C. Calhoun, vice-president of the United States.
  4. Davenport College [6] (http://www.yale.edu/davenport/) - named for Rev. John Davenport, the founder of New Haven. Occasionally called "D'port".
  5. Ezra Stiles College [7] (http://www.yale.edu/stiles/) - named for the Rev. Ezra Stiles, a president of Yale. Generally called "Stiles," despite an early-1990s crusade by then-master Traugott Lawler to preserve the use of the full name in everyday speech. Its buildings were designed by Eero Saarinen.
  6. Jonathan Edwards College [8] (http://www.yale.edu/je/) - named for theologian, Yale alumnus, and Princeton co-founder Jonathan Edwards. Generally called "J.E.". The oldest of the residential colleges, J.E. is the only college with an independent endowment, the Jonathan Edwards Trust.
  7. Morse College [9] (http://www.yale.edu/morse/) - named for Samuel Morse, inventor of Morse Code. Also designed by Eero Saarinen.
  8. Pierson College [10] (http://www.yale.edu/pierson/) - named for Yale's first rector, Abraham Pierson.
  9. Saybrook College [11] (http://www.yale.edu/saybrook/) - named for Old Saybrook, Connecticut, the town in which Yale was founded.
  10. Silliman College [12] (http://www.yale.edu/sm/) - named for noted scientist and Yale professor Benjamin Silliman. Approximately half of its structures were originally part of the Sheffield Scientific School,
  11. Timothy Dwight College [13] (http://www.yale.edu/td/) - named for the two Yale presidents of that name, Timothy Dwight IV and Timothy Dwight V. Usually called "T.D."
  12. Trumbull College [14] (http://www.yale.edu/trumbull/) - named for Jonathan Trumbull, governor of Connecticut.

In 1990, Yale launched a series of massive overhauls to the older residential buildings, whose decades of existence had seen only routine maintenance and incremental improvements to plumbing, heating, and electrical and network wiring. Berkeley College was the first to see renovation. Various unwieldy schemes were used to house displaced students during the yearlong projects, but complaints finally moved Yale to build a new residence hall (http://yale.edu/yaleconf/facilities/housing.html?y) between the gym and the power plant. It is commonly called "Swing Space" by the students; its official name "Boyd Hall" is unused.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Yale created plans to create a thirteenth college, whose concrete facade would have broken with the campus' more prevalent Gothic and Georgian architecture. The plans were scrapped, primarily for financial reasons, and the proposed site has been filled with apartment buildings.


Yale supports 35 varsity athletic teams that compete in the Ivy League Conference and the Eastern College Athletic Conference, and Yale is an NCAA Division I member. American football was largely created at Yale by player and coach Walter Camp, who evolved the rules of the game away from rugby and soccer in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Yale has numerous athletic facilities, including the Payne Whitney Gymnasium, which is one of the largest and most elaborate indoor athletic complexes in the world. The school mascot is "Handsome Dan", the famous Yale bulldog, and the Yale fight song (written by Cole Porter) contains the refrain, "Bulldog, bulldog, bow wow wow".

Yale athletics are ably and enthusiastically supported by the Yale Precision Marching Band. The band attends every home football game and many away, as well as most hockey and basketball games throughout the winter.

Yale intramural sports are a vibrant aspect of student life. Students compete for their respective residential colleges, which fosters a friendly rivalry. The year is divided into Fall, Winter, and Spring seasons, each of which include approximately ten different sports each. About half the sports are coed. At the end of the year, the residential college with the most points (not all sports count equally) wins the Tyng Cup.


The Yale Daily News, one of the oldest daily college newspapers in the United States, has been a forum for opinion and controversy since 1878, and counts among its former chairmen Joseph Lieberman, William F. Buckley, Jr., and Strobe Talbott. The Yale Political Union is the oldest student political organization in the United States, and is advised by alumni political leaders such as John Kerry, Gerald Ford, and George Pataki. Dwight Hall, an independent, non-profit community service organization, oversees more than 2,000 Yale undergraduates working on more than 60 community service initiatives in New Haven. The Whiffenpoofs (to which Cole Porter once belonged) began the tradition of college a capella singing groups in 1909 and often perform on television and at the White House, including both simultaneously in one episode of the fictional White House based television drama, The West Wing. The Spizzwinks(?) (the question mark is part of the name) continue the a cappella tradition, adding a unique brand of humor to their musical performance. The Yale Dramatic Association, or "Dramat," is the second oldest college theater company in the country and has been putting up theatrical productions since its founding in 1900; the Dramat has featured the work of such noted artists as Cole Porter, Thornton Wilder, and Sam Waterston.

Yale is also well known as the home of several Secret Societies which select members of the student body for membership, which lasts lifelong and is sometimes rumored to confer various lifelong benefits to the member.

Life in New Haven

The city of New Haven earned a reputation in the 1980's for urban decline, as crack wreaked havoc on a city that was already in trouble from the collapse of its industrial core. It has been ranked 7 on the list of the US's Most Dangerous Cities [[15] (http://www.morganquitno.com/cit05pop.htm)]. But a decade of slow regrowth (500 new housing units in the last five years) has put a new face on this colonial city. In 2003, New Haven was selected as the All-American City, in recognition of its immigrant neighborhoods and blocks of old mansions, quaint stores and big chains, and one of the world's richest universities. Today, Yale's urban surroundings add to its students' education and entertainment. Yale students run for alderman, work in City Hall, and launch non-profits. The downtown features an array of clubs, theaters, and restaurants. Yalies go to Toad's to hear bands such as Collective Soul and Lifehouse, enjoy cheap Martinis at Hot Tomatoes, or buy home-brewed beer and brick-oven pizza at Bar. Visitors check out exhibits at the Peabody Museum before taking in a show at the Schubert Theater.


Yale has had many financial supporters, but some stand out by the magnitude of their contributions. Among those who have made large donations commemorated at the university are:

Famous alumni

See article: List of Yale University People

Yale alumni (including the graduate and professional schools) are well represented in the ranks of U.S. presidents, including four of the last six: Gerald Ford, George H. W. Bush, William Clinton, and George W. Bush. Beginning with Peace Corps founder and Democratic vice-presidential nominee Sargent Shriver in 1972, at least one Yale graduate has run on either the Democratic or Republican ticket in every presidential election for the past three decades, and both the Democratic and Republican candidates for the 2004 presidential election were Yale graduates: George W. Bush and John Kerry. In the 2004 Democratic primaries, Joe Lieberman and Howard Dean were also Yale graduates.

More famous Yale alumni are noted in the List of Yale University People, including Nobel Laureates, politicians, artists, athletes, and numerous other Yalies who have led notable lives.

Famous professors

Yale has employed many famous professors in its history. A sampling of those professors can be found in the List of Yale University People.


Yale students engaged in a game called bladderball, until 1982. A story claims that students from Jonathan Edwards College broke the ball, hence their self-proclaimed motto: "J. E. Sux."

Yale students claim to have invented the Frisbee, by tossing around empty pie tins from the Frisbie Pie Company.

Yale students tend to call the school medical system, University Health Services, by its former initials "DUH", for Department of University Health.

Yale's Central Campus in downtown New Haven is 260 acres. An additional 500 acres comprises the Yale golf course and nature preserves in rural Connecticut and Horse Island. [16] (http://www.yale.edu/about/YALEFRMW.pdf)


Three on-campus bombings have occurred in recent history.

Other crimes

The 1970s and 1980s saw poverty and violent crime rise in New Haven, dampening Yale's student and faculty recruiting efforts. After much committee discussion, the university sought to ease these problems; for example, encouraging student volunteerism and, in 1991, beginning to make payments-in-lieu-of-taxes to the city ($2.3 million in 2005; to be boosted in 2006 to $4.18 million). Amid the general economic upturn of the following decade, violent crime near and on campus ebbed. The Yale administration's handling of some high-profile crimes has been criticized as more coverup than constructive engagement. Murders involving Yale students include:

  • In 1974, Yale junior Gary Stein was killed in a robbery. Melvin Jones was convicted in the case and spent fifteen years in prison.
  • In 1977, Yale student Bonnie Garland was killed by a former boyfriend, Yale graduate Richard Herrin. The support of the Yale Catholic community for the perpetrator resulted in his conviction for manslaughter rather than murder.
  • In 1991, the killing of Christian Prince on Hillhouse Avenue in the Yale campus resulted in a brief decline in applications and resulted in a re-examination of Campus security.
  • In 1998, student Suzanne Jovin was stabbed to death. Rumors that her thesis advisor was a suspect led to the end of his career at Yale, and the crime remains unsolved.

See also

External links



de:Yale University es:Universidad de Yale fr:Universit de Yale he:אוניברסיטת ייל id:Universitas Yale ja:イェール大学 ko:예일 대학교 nl:Universiteit van Yale pl:Yale University sv:Yale University ru:Йельский университет zh:耶鲁大学


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