AskDefine | Define Yale

Dictionary Definition



1 a university in Connecticut [syn: Yale University]
2 English philanthropist who made contributions to a college in Connecticut that was renamed in his honor (1649-1721) [syn: Elihu Yale]

User Contributed Dictionary


Proper noun

Yale (more properly Yale University)
  1. A university in eastern United States.
  2. A set of romanisation schemes for Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, and Korean.

Related terms

Extensive Definition

Yale University is a private university in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701 as the Collegiate School, Yale is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and is a member of the Ivy League. Particularly well-known are its undergraduate school, Yale College, and the Yale Law School, each of which has produced a number of U.S. presidents and foreign heads of state. In 1861, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences became the first U.S. school to award the Ph.D. Also notable is the Yale School of Drama, which has produced many prominent Hollywood and Broadway actors and writers, as well as the art, divinity, forestry and environment, music, medical, management, nursing, and architecture schools, each of which is often cited as among the finest in its field.
The university's assets include a $22.5 billion endowment (the second-largest of any academic institution) and more than a dozen libraries that hold a total of 12.5 million volumes (the second-largest university library system). Yale has 3,300 faculty members, who teach 5,300 undergraduate students and 6,000 graduate students. Yale is organized as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.
Yale's 70 undergraduate majors are primarily focused on a liberal arts curriculum, and few of the undergraduate departments are pre-professional. About 20% of Yale undergraduates major in the sciences, 35% in the social sciences, and 45% in the arts and humanities. All tenured professors teach undergraduate courses, more than 2,000 of which are offered annually.
Yale uses a residential college housing system modeled after those at Oxford and Cambridge. Each of 12 residential colleges houses a representative cross-section of the undergraduate student body and features facilities, seminars, resident faculty, and support personnel.
Yale's graduate programs include those in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences — covering 53 disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, biology, physical sciences, and engineering — and those in the Professional Schools of Architecture, Art, Divinity, Drama, Forestry & Environmental Sciences, Law, Management, Medicine, Music, Nursing, and Public Health.
Yale and Harvard have been rivals in almost everything for most of their history, notably academics, rowing, and American football. In sports, the Harvard-Yale Regatta and The Game are annual contests.
Yale president Rick Levin summarized the university's institutional priorities for its fourth century: "First, among the nation's finest research universities, Yale is distinctively committed to excellence in undergraduate education. Second, in our graduate and professional schools, as well as in Yale College, we are committed to the education of leaders."
The nicknames "Elis" (after Elihu Yale) and "Yalies" are often used, both within and outside Yale, to refer to Yale students.


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 led by James Pierpont, all of whom were Harvard alumni (Harvard having been the only college in North America when they were school-aged), met in the study of Reverend Samuel Russell in Branford, Connecticut, to pool their books to form the school's first library. The group is now known as "The Founders." Yale was founded to train ministers.
Originally called the Collegiate School, the institution opened in the home of its first rector, Abraham Pierson, in Killingworth (now Clinton). It later moved to Saybrook, and then Wethersfield. In 1718, 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. In 1718, at the behest of either Rector Andrew or Governor Gurdon Saltonstall, Cotton Mather contacted a successful businessman in Wales named Elihu Yale to ask him for financial help in constructing a new building for the college. Yale, who had made a fortune through trade while living in India as a representative of the East India Company, donated nine bales of goods, which were sold for more than £560, a substantial sum at the time. Yale also donated 417 books and a portrait of King George I. Cotton Mather suggested that the school change its name to Yale College in gratitude to its benefactor, and to increase the chances that he would give the college another large donation or bequest. Elihu Yale was away in India when the news of the school's name change reached his home in Wrexham, North Wales, a trip from which he never returned. And while he did ultimately leave his fortunes to the "Collegiate School within His Majesties Colony of Connecticot," the institution was never able to successfully lay claim to it.
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. The 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 schools), requiring all freshmen to study Hebrew (in contrast to Harvard, where only upperclassmen were required to study the language) and is responsible for the Hebrew words "Urim" and "Thummim" on the Yale seal. Stiles' greatest challenge occurred in July, 1779 when hostile British forces occupied New Haven and threatened to raze the College. Fortunately, Yale graduate Edmund Fanning, Secretary to the British General in command of the occupation, interceded and the College was saved. Fanning later was granted an honorary degree for his efforts.
In 1966, Yale initiated discussions with its sister school Vassar College concerning the possibility of a merger as an effective means to achieve coeducation. However, Vassar declined Yale's invitation and, ultimately, both Yale and Vassar decided to remain separate and introduce coeducation independently in 1969. Amy Solomon was the first woman to register as a Yale undergraduate; she was also the first woman at Yale to join an undergraduate society, St. Anthony Hall. (Women studied at Yale University as early as 1876, but in graduate-level programs at the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.)
Yale, like other Ivy League schools, instituted policies in the early twentieth century designed artificially to increase the proportion of upper-class white Christians of notable families in the student body (see numerus clausus), and was one of the last of the Ivies to eliminate such preferences, beginning with the class of 1970.
The President and Fellows of Yale College, also known as the Yale Corporation, is the governing board of the University.

Yale and politics in the modern era

The Boston Globe wrote that "if there's one school that can lay claim to educating the nation's top national leaders over the past three decades, it's Yale." Yale alumni have been represented on the Democratic or Republican ticket in every U.S. Presidential election since 1972. Yale-educated Presidents since the end of the Vietnam War include Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and major-party nominees during this period include John Kerry (2004), Joseph Lieberman (Vice President, 2000), and Sargent Shriver (Vice President, 1972). Other Yale alumni who made serious bids for the Presidency during this period include Hillary Rodham Clinton (2008), Howard Dean (2004), Gary Hart (1984 and 1988), Paul Tsongas (1992) and Jerry Brown (1976, 1980, 1992).
Several explanations have been offered for Yale’s representation in national elections since the end of the Vietnam War. Various sources note the spirit of campus activism that has existed at Yale since the 1960s, and the intellectual influence of Reverend William Sloane Coffin on many of the future candidates. Yale President Richard Levin attributes the run to Yale’s focus on creating "a laboratory for future leaders," an institutional priority that began during the tenure of Yale Presidents Alfred Whitney Griswold and Kingman Brewster. Richard H. Brodhead, former dean of Yale College and now president of Duke University, stated: "We do give very significant attention to orientation to the community in our admissions, and there is a very strong tradition of volunteerism at Yale." Yale historian Gaddis Smith notes "an ethos of organized activity" at Yale during the 20th century that led John Kerry to lead the Yale Political Union's Liberal Party, George Pataki the Conservative Party, and Joseph Lieberman to manage the Yale Daily News. Camille Paglia points to a history of networking and elitism: "It has to do with a web of friendships and affiliations built up in school." CNN suggests that George W. Bush benefited from preferential admissions policies for the "son and grandson of alumni," and for a "member of a politically influential family." New York Times correspondent Elisabeth Bumiller and The Atlantic Monthly correspondent James Fallows credit the culture of community and cooperation that exists between students, faculty and administration, which downplays self-interest and reinforces commitment to others.
During the 1988 presidential election, George H. W. Bush (Yale '48) derided Michael Dukakis for having "foreign-policy views born in Harvard Yard's boutique;" when challenged on the distinction between Dukakis' Harvard connection and his own Yale background, he said that, unlike Harvard, Yale's reputation was "so diffuse, there isn't a symbol, I don't think, in the Yale situation, any symbolism in it" and said Yale did not share Harvard's reputation for "liberalism and elitism" In 2004, Howard Dean stated, "In some ways, I consider myself separate from the other three (Yale) candidates of 2004. Yale changed so much between the class of '68 and the class of '71. My class was the first class to have women in it; it was the first class to have a significant effort to recruit African Americans. It was an extraordinary time, and in that span of time is the change of an entire generation."
More recently, Yale has become a center for studying grand strategy, a catch-all phrase meant to encompass military history, statesmanship, leadership, and other disciplines thought useful for future American leaders. Each year the renowned professors Charles Hill, Paul Kennedy and John Lewis Gaddis teach a year-long seminar in grand strategy to a highly selective group of graduate and undergraduate students with the aim of preparing them for wielding power in government, business and public life. Students of the seminar are encouraged to network with one another and with guest speakers and participants. Grand Strategy alumni organizations have already sprung up in Washington, D.C. and New York City.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair will be teaching a seminar on faith and globalization through the Divinity School and the School of Management (open to undergraduate, graduate and professional students) for three years starting in the 2008-2009 academic year.


The Yale Provost's Office has helped launch several women into prominent university presidencies. In 1977, Hanna Holborn Gray was appointed acting President of Yale from that position, and went on to become president of the University of Chicago, the first woman to be full president of a major university. In 1994, Yale Provost Judith Rodin became the first female president of an Ivy League institution at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2002, Provost Alison Richard became the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge. In 2004, Provost Susan Hockfield became the President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2007, Deputy Provost Kim Bottomly was named President of Wellesley College.


For the Class of 2012, Yale accepted 1,892 students out of the 22,813 total early and regular applicants, hitting a University record-low acceptance rate at 8.3%.
For the Class of 2011, Yale College accepted 9.6% of its applicants, with a 70.6% yield.
For the Class of 2010, the acceptance rate was 8.9%--lowest among the Ivy League--with a 71.1% yield; 728 were waitlisted, of which 56 were admitted. The interquartile range (25th percentile-75th percentile) for both the Math and Verbal sections of the SAT was 700-790.
Yale College offers need-blind admissions and need-based financial aid to all applicants, including international applicants. Yale commits to meet the full demonstrated financial need of all applicants, and more than 40% of Yale students receive financial assistance. Most financial aid is in the form of grants and scholarships that do not need to be paid back to the University, and the average scholarship for the 2006–2007 school year will be $26,900.
Half of all Yale undergraduates are women, more than 30% are minorities, and 8% are international students. Furthermore, 55% attended public schools and 45% attended independent, religious, or international schools. The main library, Sterling Memorial Library, contains about four million volumes, and other holdings are dispersed at subject libraries.
Rare books are found in a number of Yale collections. The Beinecke Rare Book Library has a large collection of rare books and manuscripts. The Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library includes important historical medical texts, including an impressive collection of rare books, as well as historical medical instruments. The Lewis Walpole Library contains the largest collection of 18th-century British literary works. The Elizabethan Club, technically a private organization, makes its Elizabethan folios and first editions available to qualified researchers through Yale.
Yale's museum collections are also of international stature. The Yale University Art Gallery is the country's first university-affiliated art museum. It contains more than 180,000 works, including old masters and important collections of modern art, in the Swartout and Kahn buildings. The latter, Louis Kahn's first large-scale American work (1953), was renovated and reopened in December 2006. The Yale Center for British Art, the largest collection of British art outside of the UK, grew from a gift of Paul Mellon and is housed in another Kahn-designed building.
The Peabody Museum of Natural History is New Haven's most popular museum, well-used by school children as well as containing research collections in anthropology, archaeology, and the natural environment. The Yale University Collection of Musical Instruments, affiliated with the Yale School of Music, is perhaps the least well-known of Yale's collections, because its hours of opening are restricted.

Yale architecture

Yale is noted for its harmonious yet fanciful largely Collegiate Gothic campus as well as for several iconic modern buildings commonly discussed in architectural history survey courses: Louis Kahn's Yale Art Gallery and Center for British Art, Eero Saarinen's Ingalls Rink and Ezra Stiles and Morse Colleges, and Paul Rudolph's Art & Architecture Building. Yale also owns many noteworthy 19th century mansions along Hillhouse Avenue.
Many of Yale's buildings were constructed in the neo-Gothic architecture style from 1917 to 1931. Stone sculpture built into the walls of the buildings portray contemporary college personalities such as a writer, an athlete, a tea-drinking socialite, and a student who has fallen asleep while reading. Similarly, the decorative friezes on the buildings depict contemporary scenes such as policemen chasing a robber and arresting a prostitute (on the wall of the Law School), or a student relaxing with a mug of beer and a cigarette. The architect, James Gamble Rogers, faux-aged these buildings by splashing the walls with acid, 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 merely simulate Middle Ages architecture, for though they appear to be constructed of solid stone blocks in the authentic manner, most actually have steel framing as was commonly used in 1930. One exception is Harkness Tower, tall, which was originally a free-standing stone structure. It was reinforced in 1964 to allow the installation of the Yale Memorial Carillon.
Other examples of the Gothic (also called neo-Gothic and collegiate Gothic) style are on Old Campus by such architects as Henry Austin, Charles C. Haight and Russell Sturgis. Several are associated with members of the Vanderbilt family, including Vanderbilt Hall, Phelps Hall, St. Anthony Hall (a commission for member Frederick William Vanderbilt), the Mason, Sloane and Osborn laboratories, dormitories for the Sheffield Scientific School (the engineering and sciences school at Yale until 1956) and elements of Silliman College, the largest residential college.
Ironically, the oldest building on campus, Connecticut Hall (built in 1750), is in the Georgian style and appears much more modern. Georgian-style buildings erected from 1929 to 1933 include Timothy Dwight College, Pierson College, and Davenport College, except the latter's east, York Street façade, which was constructed in the Gothic style.
The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, designed by Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, is one of the largest buildings 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." The library's 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).
Alumnus Eero Saarinen, Finnish-American architect of such notable structures as the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Washington Dulles International Airport main terminal, and the CBS Building in Manhattan, designed Ingalls Rink at Yale and the newest residential colleges of Ezra Stiles and Morse. These latter were modelled after the medieval Italian hilltown of San Gimignano — a prototype chosen for the town's pedestrian-friendly milieu and fortress-like stone towers. These tower forms at Yale act in counterpoint to the college's many Gothic spires and Georgian cupolas.
Yale's secret societies, whose buildings (some of which are called "tombs") were built both to be intensely private yet ostentatiously theatrical, display diversity and fancifulness of architectural expression, include:
The Elizabethan Club, while not a secret society, nevertheless attracts many of Yale's social elite, especially those with literary or artistic interests. It boasts the largest endowment of any organization at Yale, and has in its collection of first editions a Shakespeare Folio, several Shakespeare Quartos, a first edition of Milton's Paradise Lost, and many other literary treasures. Membership is competitive and by invitation only.

Campus life

Residential colleges

Yale has a system of 12 residential colleges, instituted in 1933 through a grant by Yale graduate Edward S. Harkness, who admired the college systems at Oxford and Cambridge. 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 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. Although each freshman is assigned to a residential college, only two residential colleges house their newest members. All other students spend their first year on the freshman quad.
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:
  1. Berkeley College, named for the Rt. Rev. George Berkeley (1685–1753), early benefactor of Yale.
  2. Branford College, named for Branford, Connecticut, where Yale was briefly located.
  3. Calhoun College, named for John C. Calhoun, vice-president and influential member of Congress of the United States.
  4. Davenport College, named for Rev. John Davenport, the founder of New Haven. Often called "D'port".
  5. Ezra Stiles College, 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, 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, named for Samuel F. B. Morse, inventor of Morse code and the telegraph. Also designed by Eero Saarinen.
  8. Pierson College, named for Yale's first rector, Abraham Pierson.
  9. Saybrook College, named for Old Saybrook, Connecticut, the town in which Yale was founded.
  10. Silliman College, named for noted scientist and Yale professor Benjamin Silliman. About half of its structures were originally part of the Sheffield Scientific School.
  11. Timothy Dwight College, named for the two Yale presidents of that name, Timothy Dwight IV and Timothy Dwight V. Often abbreviated "T.D."
  12. Trumbull College, named for Jonathan Trumbull, Governor of Connecticut.
In 1998, Yale launched a series of massive renovations 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. Renovations to many of the colleges are now complete, and among other improvements, renovated colleges feature newly built basement facilities including restaurants, game rooms, theaters, athletic facilities and music practice rooms.
The Yale administration is currently evaluating the feasibility of building two new residential colleges.


Yale supports 35 varsity athletic teams that compete in the Ivy League Conference, the Eastern College Athletic Conference, the New England Intercollegiate Sailing Association, and Yale is an NCAA Division I member. Like other members of the Ivy League, Yale does not offer athletic scholarships and is no longer competitive with the top echelon of American college teams in the big-money sports of basketball and football. Nevertheless, 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 Yale Bowl (the nation's first natural "bowl" stadium, and prototype for such stadiums as the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and the Rose Bowl), located at The Walter Camp Field athletic complex, and the Payne Whitney Gymnasium, the second-largest indoor athletic complex in the world.
October 21st, 2000 marked the dedication of Yale's fourth new boathouse in 157 years of collegiate rowing. The Richard Gilder Boathouse is named to honor former Olympic rower Virginia Gilder '79 and her father Richard Gilder '54, who gave $4 million towards the $7.5 million project. Yale also maintains the Gales Ferry site where the heavyweight men's team trains for the prestigious Yale-Harvard Boat Race. Yale crew is the oldest collegiate athletic team in America, and today Yale Rowing boasts lightweight men, heavyweight men, and a women's team. All of an internationally competitive caliber.
The Yale Corinthian Yacht Club, founded in 1881, is the oldest collegiate sailing club in the world. The yacht club, located in nearby Branford, Connecticut, is the home of the Yale Sailing Team, which has produced several Olympic sailors.


The school mascot is "Handsome Dan," the famous Yale bulldog, and the Yale fight song (written by Cole Porter while he was a student at Yale) contains the refrain, "Bulldog, bulldog, bow wow wow." The school color is Yale Blue.
Yale athletics are 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 includes about ten different sports. 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.

Student life

Yale College students come from a variety of ethnic, national, and socio-economic backgrounds. Of the 2006-07 freshman class, 9% are international students, while 54% went to public high schools. Yale is also an open campus for the gay community. Its active LGBT community first received wide publicity in the late 1980s, when Yale obtained a reputation as the "gay Ivy," due largely to a 1987 Wall Street Journal article written by Julie V. Iovine, an alumna and the spouse of a Yale faculty member. During the same year, the University hosted a national conference on gay and lesbian studies and established the Lesbian and Gay Studies Center. The slogan "One in Four, Maybe More; One in Two, Maybe You" was coined by the campus gay community. While the community in the 1980s and early 1990s was very activist, today most LGBT events have become part of the general campus social scene. For example, the annual LGBT Co-op Dance attracts gay as well as straight students. The strong programs at the School of Music, School of Drama, and School of Art also thrive.
Campus cultural life features many concerts, shows, recitals, and operas.

Student organizations

There are a large number of student organizations.
The Yale Political Union, the oldest student political organization in the United States, is often the largest organization on campus, and is advised by alumni political leaders such as John Kerry and George Pataki.
The university hosts a variety of student journals, magazines, and newspapers. The latter category includes the Yale Daily News, which was first published in 1878 and is the oldest daily college newspaper in the United States, as well as the weekly Yale Herald, first published in 1986. 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 Yale College Council runs several agencies that oversee campus wide activities and student services. The Yale Dramatic Association and Bulldog Productions cater to the theater and film communities, respectively.
The campus also includes several fraternities and sororities. The campus features at least 18 a capella groups, the most famous of which is The Whiffenpoofs, who are unusual among college singing groups in being made up solely of senior men.
Yale is known for a number of prominent secret societies, including the senior societies Skull and Bones, Scroll and Key, Wolf's Head, Book and Snake, Elihu, Berzelius, and the three-year society St. Anthony Hall. Their large historic buildings are prominent features on Yale's streetscape but entry is usually strictly for members only. The Elizabethan Club is a prominent club that also has a small membership, but guests of members may be invited inside for tea.


Yale's Office of Sustainability generates momentum and facilitates the process of developing and implementing best sustainability practices at Yale. Yale is committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 10% below 1990 levels by the year 2020. As part of this commitment, the university allocates renewable energy credits to offset some of the energy used by residential colleges. Eleven campus buildings are candidates for LEED design and certification. The Yale Sustainable Food Project initiated the introduction of local, organic vegetables, fruits, and beef to all residential college dining halls. Yale was listed as a Campus Sustainability Leader on the Sustainable Endowments Institute’s Campus Sustainability Report Card 2008, and received a “B+” grade overall.

Notable people


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:

Notable alumni and faculty

All U.S. presidents since 1989 have been Yale graduates, namely George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton (who attended the University's Law School along with his wife, New York Senator Hillary Clinton), and George W. Bush. Vice President Dick Cheney attended Yale, although he did not graduate. Many of the 2004 presidential candidates attended Yale: Bush, John Kerry, Howard Dean, and Joe Lieberman.
Other Yale-educated presidents were William Howard Taft (B.A.) and Gerald Ford (LL.B). Alumni also include several Supreme Court justices, including current Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.
Additional famous alumni are noted in the List of Yale University people, including Nobel Laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, statesmen, politicians, artists, athletes, activists, and numerous others.

Staff and labor unions

Much of Yale University's staff, including most maintenance staff, dining hall employees, and administrative staff are unionized. Yale has a history of difficult and prolonged labor negotiations, often culminating in strikes. There have been at least eight strikes since 1968, and the New York Times wrote that Yale has a reputation as having the worst record of labor tension of any university in the U.S. Yale's unusually large endowment further exacerbates the tension over wages. Yale has been accused of failing to treat workers with respect, in addition to the usual concerns over wages. In a 2003 strike, however, more Union employees were working than striking. There are currently at least three unions of Yale employees.

Miscellany and traditions

  • Yale students claim to have invented Frisbee, by tossing around empty pie tins from the Frisbie Pie Company. Another traditional Yale game was bladderball, played between 1954 and 1982.
  • Yale's Handsome Dan is believed to be the first live college mascot in America, having been established in 1889.
  • Yale seniors at graduation smash clay pipes underfoot to symbolize passage from their "bright college years."
  • Yale's student tour guides tell visitors that students consider it good luck to rub the toe of the statue of Theodore Dwight Woolsey on Old Campus. Actual students rarely do so.
  • The college is, after normalization for institution size, the tenth-largest baccalaureate source of doctoral degree recipients in the United States, and the largest such source within the Ivy League.

Campus safety

In the 1970s and 1980s, poverty and violent crime rose in New Haven, dampening Yale's student and faculty recruiting efforts. In 1991, junior Christian Prince was slain on Hillhouse Avenue, resulted in a brief decline in applications and leading Yale to boost the size of its police force, transfer secondary police responsibilities to an expanded security force, and install emergency blue phones around campus. Yale also began to make payments-in-lieu-of-taxes to the city ($2.3 million in 2005; $4.18 million in 2006).
Between 1990 and 2006, New Haven's crime rate fell by half, helped by a community policing strategy by the New Haven police and Yale's campus became the safest among the Ivy League and other peer schools. In 2002–04, Yale reported 14 violent crimes (homicide, aggravated assault, or sex offenses), when Harvard reported 83 such incidents, Princeton 24, and Stanford 54. The incidence of nonviolent crime (burglary, arson, and motor vehicle theft) was also lower than most of its peer schools.
In 2004, a national non-profit watchdog group called Security on Campus filed a complaint with the Department of Education, accusing Yale of under-reporting rape and sexual assaults.
Murders or attempted murders involving Yale students or faculty 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 her former boyfriend, Yale graduate student Richard Herrin, while she was sleeping in her parents' house in Scarsdale, New York, where he was visiting. The support of the Yale Catholic community for the perpetrator caused great controversy.
  • On June 24, 1993, computer science professor David Gelernter was seriously injured in his office in Arthur K. Watson Hall by a bomb sent by serial killer Ted Kaczynski ("The Unabomber").
  • In 1998, student Suzanne Jovin was stabbed to death in a wealthy neighborhood two miles (3 km) from the central campus. Allegations that her thesis advisor was a suspect led to the end of his career at Yale, but the crime remains unsolved.
The Yale Campus has been the site of three bombing incidents. In addition to that carried out by the Unabomber, mentioned above, on May Day in 1970, during the New Haven Black Panther trials, two bombs were set off in the basement of Ingalls Rink. No injuries resulted, and the perpetrators were never identified. On May 21, 2003, an explosive device went off at the Yale Law School, damaging two classrooms. The latter crime has not been solved, and no motive has been discerned; the bombing occurred while the nation was under an elevated terror alert, and while the university was involved in difficult labor negotiations. The homes of at least two former employees were searched, but no arrests have been made in the case.

Yale in fiction and popular culture

Books on Yale

Secret Societies

  • Robbins, Alexandra, Secrets of the Tomb: Skull and Bones, the Ivy League, and the Hidden Paths of Power, Little Brown & Co., 2002; ISBN 0-316-73561-2 (paper edition).
  • Millegan, Kris (ed.), Fleshing Out Skull & Bones, TrineDay, 2003. ISBN 0-9752906-0-6 (paper edition).
Yale in Arabic: جامعة يايل
Yale in Asturian: Yale
Yale in Bengali: ইয়েল বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়
Yale in Bulgarian: Йеилски университет
Yale in Catalan: Universitat de Yale
Yale in Czech: Yale University
Yale in Danish: Yale
Yale in German: Yale University
Yale in Estonian: Yale'i Ülikool
Yale in Modern Greek (1453-): Πανεπιστήμιο Γέιλ
Yale in Spanish: Universidad Yale
Yale in Esperanto: Universitato Yale
Yale in Basque: Yale Unibertsitatea
Yale in Persian: دانشگاه ییل
Yale in French: Université Yale
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Yale in Croatian: Sveučilište Yale
Yale in Indonesian: Universitas Yale
Yale in Icelandic: Yale-háskóli
Yale in Italian: Università di Yale
Yale in Hebrew: אוניברסיטת ייל
Yale in Georgian: იელის უნივერსიტეტი
Yale in Haitian: Yale, Iowa
Yale in Dutch: Yale-universiteit
Yale in Japanese: イェール大学
Yale in Norwegian: Yale University
Yale in Polish: Uniwersytet Yale'a
Yale in Portuguese: Universidade Yale
Yale in Romanian: Universitatea Yale
Yale in Russian: Йельский университет
Yale in Simple English: Yale University
Yale in Finnish: Yalen yliopisto
Yale in Swedish: Yale University
Yale in Tamil: யேல் பல்கலைக்கழகம்
Yale in Tatar: Yale universitetı
Yale in Thai: มหาวิทยาลัยเยล
Yale in Vietnamese: Đại học Yale
Yale in Turkish: Yale Üniversitesi
Yale in Chinese: 耶鲁大学
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