YALE UNIVERSITY, NEW HAVEN CONNECTICUT
Incorporated as the Collegiate School, the institution traces its roots to 17th-century clergymen who sought to establish a college to train clergy and political leaders for the colony. In 1718, the College was renamed Yale College to honor a gift from Elihu Yale, a governor of the British East India Company. In 1861, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences became the first U.S. school to award the Ph.D.
Yale College was transformed, beginning in the 1930s, through the establishment of residential colleges: 12 now exist and two more are planned. Almost all tenured professors teach undergraduate courses, more than 2,000 of which are offered annually. The University’s assets include a US$16.3 billion endowment, the second largest of any academic institution, as well as the second largest academic library in the world, with some 12.5 million volumes held in more than two dozen libraries.
The Yale Provost’s Office has launched several women into prominent university presidencies. In 1977, Hanna Holborn Gray was appointed acting President of Yale from this 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.
Yale is noted for its 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 and has restored many noteworthy 19th-century mansions along Hillhouse Avenue, which was considered the most beautiful street in America by Charles Dickens when he visited the United States in the 1840s.
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).