Yale University is a private, Ivy League University located in downtown
New Haven, Connecticut. This weekend (October 5 -
7, 2001), Yale is celebrating the tercentennial of its
founding in 1701.
Yale was founded in 1701 as the "Collegiate School" by its first
president Reverend Abraham Pierson. The original school was founded
in what is today Old Saybrook on the Connecticut coast, and later moved to
Killingworth and Clinton. The school finally moved to New Haven around 1716.
It was renamed Yale College in 1718 for benefactor Elihu Yale.
Yale was born in 1649 in Boston, but his family returned to England when
he was very young and he never returned to the colonies. He was contacted by
Cotton Mather in 1718 and asked to contribute to the construction of a
school in New Haven, in the colonies. Yale contributed goods, books, and a
painting of King George I, some of which were sold, netting over £500.
The University itself is divided into several different schools. Yale
College is the undergraduate arm of the University. Attached to this
are twelve Residential Colleges: Berkeley, Branford, Calhoun,
Davenport, Ezra Stiles, Jonathan Edwards, Morse, Pierson, Saybrook,
Silliman, Timothy Dwight, and Trumbull. Undergraduate students live in
one of the twelve colleges, at least for their freshman year, but attend
classes together. Graduate studies are taught within the Graduate School of
Arts and Sciences, first founded in August of 1847. The Yale graduate
school was the first in the United States to award
Doctoral Degrees, with its first graduates in 1861. It
was also the first to award a Ph.D. (in Physics) to an African-American,
Edward Alexander Bouchet, in 1876. Yale Professional Schools
include the Schools of Architecture, Art, Divinity,
Music, Forestry and Environmental Studies, Law, Management, and
Medicine and Nursing. The medical school was founded in
1810, followed by the Divinity school in 1822, and the Law school in
Yale is usually ranked among the top universities in the United States,
both for undergraduate and graduate/professional education.
Its most famous professional programs are the Yale
Schools of Drama, Law, and Medicine, the latter of which
is attached to the Yale-New Haven Medical Center, one of the top 10
hospitals in the United States. Yale also has one of the largest
libraries in the world, with holdings of nearly ten million items. In
university runs several museums including the Peabody Museum
and the Yale Center for British Art. It is also one of the
more expensive universities in the United States, with one year setting you
back over $32,000(USD) (/me faints). However, a large fraction of students
receive financial aid of some sort. One would of course hope that is the
case, given that the Yale Corporation, stewards of the University, currently
control assets and an endowment worth over ten billion dollars.
The Yale campus is
thoroughly integrated into the city of New Haven. Even New Haven Green,
the town center, is bounded on two sides by buildings of the University.
Many of the town's original builders and planners (including James Hillhouse
and his son James Abraham Hillhouse)
were affiliated with Yale University, and much of the character of downtown
New Haven is influenced by the presence and architecture of the University.
However, relations between the town and the University are occasionally
strained, since New Haven has had severe problems with poverty and urban
blight for decades, while Yale itself is one of the wealthiest
institutions in the United States. Yale and New Haven used to have
severe crime problems throughout the 1980's and early 90's, but they seem to
have subsided with the improved economy.
Yale is notable because for the last twenty years, the University has
had an alumnus in the executive branch of the US government, namely
George Herbert Walker Bush (Vice-President 1981-1989,
President 1989-1993), William Jefferson Clinton (President
1993-2001), Richard B. Cheney (Vice-President 2001-), and
George Walker Bush (President 2001-). Yale would have been
represented in a Republican or Democratic administration after the 2000
Election, since Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman is
also a graduate. (The elder and younger Bushes were also reportedly members
of Skull and Bones, one of perhaps a dozen secret societies on campus.)
Some other famous Yale alumni include: architect Maya Lin,
designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington;
D.C., Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau; conservative writer
William F. Buckley; and dozens of
actors and actresses from the School of Drama including Jodie Foster,
Meryl Streep, Sam Waterston, and (way back in 1911) Cole Porter.
The school's alma mater is "Bright College Years," and the
mascot is a bulldog by the name of "Handsome Dan."
Main Street News, October 4, 2001 (http://www.mainstnews.com)