|Motto|| אורים ותמים (Hebrew)|
Lux et veritas (Latin)
(Light and truth)
|President||Richard C. Levin|
|Location||New Haven, Connecticut, USA|
|Campus||Urban, 260 acres (1.1 km²)|
|Enrollment|| 5,350 undergraduate,|
6,000 graduate and professional
|Mascot||Bulldogs – "Handsome Dan"|
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).
Table of contents
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. . 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 .
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.
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.
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)|
|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)|
|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– )|
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 begining 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 Emìlia 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.
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, 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
- Sterling Memorial Library
- Harkness Tower
- Woolsey Hall
- Beinecke Rare Book Library
- British Art Center
- Payne Whitney Gymnasium
- Ingalls Rink
- Battell Chapel
- Yale School of Architecture
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 rich 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 luminaries 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):
- Berkeley College  – named for the Rt. Rev. George Berkeley (1685–1753), early funder of Yale. Pronounced BERK-lee.
- Branford College  – named for Branford, Connecticut, where Yale was briefly located.
- Calhoun College  – named for John C. Calhoun, vice-president of the United States.
- Davenport College  – named for Rev. John Davenport, the founder of New Haven. Occasionally called "D'port".
- 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.
- 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.
- Morse College  – named for Samuel Morse, inventor of Morse Code. Also designed by Eero Saarinen.
- Pierson College  – named for Yale's first rector, Abraham Pierson.
- Saybrook College  – named for Old Saybrook, Connecticut, the town in which Yale was founded.
- Silliman College  – named for noted scientist and Yale professor Benjamin Silliman. Approximately half of its structures were originally part of the Sheffield Scientific School,
- Timothy Dwight College  – named for the two Yale presidents of that name, Timothy Dwight IV and Timothy Dwight V. Usually called "T.D."
- Trumbull College  – 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. Calhoun 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 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, the oldest daily college newspaper 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. But a decade of slow renaissance (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, fully leased office towers and boarded up factories, quaint stores and big chains, crime-infested housing projects and one of the world's richest universities. Today, Yale's urban surroundings add greatly 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:
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.
- George Akerlof (B.A. 1962). Economics, 2001
- Raymond Davis. Physics, 2002.
- John F. Enders (B.A. ca. 1921). Physiology or Medicine, 1954.
- John Fenn (Ph.D. ca. 1940). Chemistry, 2002.
- Murray Gell-Mann (B.S. 1948). Physics, 1954.
- Alfred G. Gilman. Physiology or Medicine, 1994.
- Ernest Lawrence (Ph.D. 1925). Physics, 1939. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory & Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are named for him.
- Joshua Lederberg (Ph.D. 1948). Physiology or Medicine, 1958.
- David Lee (Ph.D. 1959). Physics, 1996.
- Sinclair Lewis (B.A. 1908). Literature, 1930.
- Lars Onsager (Ph.D. 1935). Chemistry, 1968.
- Dickinson Richards. Physiology or Medicine, 1956.
- William Vickrey (B.S. 1935). Economics, 1996.
- George Whipple (A.B. 1900). Physiology or Medicine, 1934.
- Eric Wieschaus (Ph.D.). Physiology or Medicine, 1995.
Technology & innovation
- Francis S. Collins (Ph.D.), director, Human Genome Project
- Lee De Forest (B.S. 1896, Ph.D. 1899), inventor of the triode
- Eric Fossum (Ph.D. 1984), inventor of CMOS image sensor
- W. Edwards Deming (Ph.D. 1928), "total quality management" (TQM) guru
- Irving Fisher (B.A. 1888, Ph.D. 1891), economist, "father of monetarism"
- J. Willard Gibbs (1858, Ph.D. 1863), mathematician, physical chemist, thermodynamicist, known for Gibb's Phenomenon
- Grace Hopper (Ph.D. 1934), inventor of COBOL programming language
- Art Laffer (B.A. 1963), economist, best known for the "Laffer Curve"
- Paul D. MacCready, "Engineer of the Century," won the Kremer Prize for first human-powered flying machine, pioneer in solar-powered flight
- Saunders MacLane (B.A. 1930), mathematician, one of the founders of "category theory"
- Jordan Mechner (B.A. 1985), videogame developer, created Prince of Persia
- Samuel Morse (1810), telegraph pioneer, inventor of Morse code
- Harry Nyquist (Ph.D. 1917), engineer known for the Nyquist theorem
- John Ousterhout, creator of the Tcl programming language
- Ronald Rivest (B.S. 1969), computer scientist, the "R" in the RSA cryptography, 2002 Turing Award receipient
- George B. Selden, Awarded the first United States patent for an automobile in 1895
- Benjamin Spock (B.A. 1925), child psychology guru
- Eli Whitney (1792), inventor of the cotton gin
Founders, entrepreneurs, & CEOs
- Robert M. Bass, (B.A. 1971) President, Keystone, Inc.
- Roland W. Betts, investor, film producer, owner of Chelsea Piers, lead owner in George W. Bushs Texas Rangers partnership
- Tim Collins, (M.B.A.) Founder and CEO, Ripplewood Holdings
- John Thomas Daniels, founder, Archer Daniels Midland
- Ted Forstmann, co-founder & senior partner of Forstmann Little & Company, member of the Forbes 400
- Robert Glaser, (B.A., M.A.) founder & CEO, RealNetworks
- Bing Gordon, co-founder, executive vice-president, and chief creative officer of Electronic Arts
- Roberto Goizueta, former CEO, Coca-Cola (namesake of Emory University's business school)
- Briton Hadden, co-founder of TIME Magazine.
- Curtis Jensen, (M.B.A.) Co-Chief Investment Officer, Third Avenue Funds
- Charles B. Johnson, chairman, Franklin Templeton Investments
- Ellis B. Jones, (M.B.A.) CEO, Wasserstein & Co.
- Mitch Kapor, founder, Open Source Applications Foundation, investor (Kapor Enterprises), former founder & CEO, Lotus Software
- Herbert Kohler, chairman & president, Kohler Company
- Clarence King, founder of the US Geological Survey (USGS)
- Edward Lampert, founder & chairman, ESL Investments (hedge fund), bought Kmart, now acquiring Sears
- Henry Luce (B.A. 1920), co-founder of TIME Magazine.
- John Franklyn Mars, CEO, Mars, Incorporated (as in Mars & M&M candy)
- Robert Moses, middle 20th century New York City construction czar
- Indra Nooyi, (M.B.A.) President and CFO, Pepsi
- Gifford Pinchot, founder of the United States Forest Service
- Wilbur Ross, investor, steel magnate, member of the Forbess 400
- Stephen A. Schwarzman, co-founder & CEO of the Blackstone Group, member of the Forbes 400
- Robert Sargent Shriver III (Law), part-owner of the Baltimore Orioles
- Timothy Perry Shriver, CEO of the Special Olympics
- Frederick W. Smith, founder & CEO, FedEx
- Harold Stanley, founder, Morgan Stanley
- Richard Thalheimer, founder & CEO of The Sharper Image
- John Thornton , (M.B.A.) Former President and COO, Goldman Sachs
- Juan Trippe, founder & CEO, Pan Am
- Frederick E. Weyerhaeuser, founder, Weyerhaeuser
- Richard H. Brodhead, president of Duke University
- Gerhard Casper (L.L.M, 1962; Honorary doctorate, 2000), ninth president of Stanford University, former provost at the University of Chicago, member of the Yale Corporation
- Alan Dershowitz, law professor at Harvard University
- Jonathan Dickinson, founder of Princeton University
- Daniel Coit Gilman, first president of Johns Hopkins University
- William Rainey Harper, first president of the University of Chicago
- Yamakawa Kenjiro, founder of Kyushu Institute of Technology
- Lawrence Lessig (J.D. 1989), copyright activist, law professor at Stanford University
- Reinhold Niebuhr (DIV 1914), author, theologian
- Camille Paglia (Ph.D.), author of Sexual Personae
- Alvin Plantinga (Ph.D.), Christian philosopher, professor at University of Notre Dame
- John Griggs Thompson (1955), mathematician, winner of the Fields Medal in 1970
- Andrew Dickson White, first president of Cornell University
- Yung Wing (1854), first Chinese person to receive an American college degree
Law & politics
Presidents & vice presidents
- George H. W. Bush (B.A. 1948), President of the United States (1989–1993), Vice President of the United States (1981–1989)
- George W. Bush (B.A. 1968), President of the United States (2001-present), former Governor of Texas
- Karl Carstens (L.L.M. 1949), Fifth President of Germany (1979–1984)
- John Calhoun (B.A. 1804), Seventh Vice President of the United States, for two different presidents, John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson; Senator; Member of the House of Representatives; Secretary of State in the Tyler presidential administration
- Richard B. Cheney*, Vice President of the United States (2001-present)
- William Jefferson Clinton (J.D.), President of the United States (1993–2001), former Governor of Arkansas
- Gerald Ford (J.D.), President of the United States (1974–1977), Vice President of the United States (1973–1974), member of the House of Representatives
- William Howard Taft (1878), President of the United States (1909–1913), Chief Justice of the United States (1921–1930)
Supreme Court justices
- Henry Baldwin (1797), Supreme Court justice (1830–1844)
- Davis J. Brewer (1856), Supreme Court justice (1889–1910)
- Henry B. Brown (1856), Supreme Court justice (1891–1906)
- Oliver Ellsworth (Class of 1766*), Supreme Court justice (1796–1800)
- Abe Fortas (J.D. 1933), Supreme Court justice (1965–1969)
- Sherman Minton (YLS one-year degree, 1917), Supreme Court justice (1949–1956)
- George Shiras, Jr. (1853), Supreme Court justice (1892–1903)
- Potter Stewart, Supreme Court justice (1958–1991)
- William Strong (1828, GRD 1831, briefly attended YLS), Supreme Court justice (1870–1880)
- William Howard Taft (1878), President of the United States (1909–1913), Chief Justice of the United States (1921–1930)
- Clarence Thomas (J.D. 1974), Supreme Court Justice (1991-present)
- Morrison R. Waite (1837), Chief Justice of the United States (1874–1888)
- William B. Woods (1845), Supreme Court justice (1881–1887)
- Byron White, Supreme Court Justice (1962–1993)
- Dean Acheson, (BA 1915) United States Secretary of State in the Truman presidential administration
- Cecilia Altonaga (J.D.), federal judge, first Cuban American woman to be appointed as a federal judge in the United States
- James Jesus Angleton, (B.A. 1941), chief of CIA Counterintelligence Staff (1954–1974)
- John Ashcroft, U.S. Attorney General (2001–2005), U.S. Senator (1993–2001), Governor of Missouri (1985–1993)
- Les Aspin, Secretary of Defense, U.S. Congressman
- Roger Sherman Baldwin (1811), Governor of Connecticut, United States Senator
- David Boies, famous lawyer (Microsoft antitrust, Bush v. Gore, Napster v. RIAA)
- David Boren, U.S. Senator
- L. Paul Bremer, ambassador
- William F. Buckley, political pundit
- McGeorge Bundy, former Cabinet official
- Edmund Gerald "Jerry" Brown, Jr. (J.D. 1964), Mayor of Oakland, California (1999-present), Governor of California (1975–1983)
- Hillary Clinton (J.D.), U.S. Senator, New York (2001-present)
- Sir Daryl Dawson, former justice of the High Court of Australia
- Mark Dayton, U.S. Senator, Minnesota (2000-present)
- Howard Dean, Governor of Vermont (1991–2003)
- William H. Donaldson, Chairman of the S.E.C. (2003-present), co-founder of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette
- Jeremiah Evarts, author, editor, activist, opponent of the Indian Removal Act of 1830
- William M. Evarts, Secretary of State in the Hayes presidential administration, U.S. Senator
- David Gergen, political pundit, worked as an advisor for the Republican and Democratic Presidential administrations of Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton
- Porter Goss (B.A. 1960), CIA director (2004-present), Florida congressman
- Stephen Hadley, (J.D. 1972), National Security Adviser
- Nathan Hale, patriot & martyr, "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."
- James Jeffords, U.S. Senator, Vermont (1989-present)
- John Kerry, U.S. Senator, Massachusetts (1985-present)
- Tony Knowles, Governor of Alaska (1994–2002)
- Paul Krugman, respected economist, Princeton professor, NY Times columnist
- Joseph Lieberman, U.S. Senator, Connecticut (1989-present)
- Gary Locke, Governor of Washington (1997–2005)
- Edwin Meese, former United States Attorney General
- Geraldo Brindeiro, Attorney General of Brazil (1995–2003)
- John Negroponte (B.A. 1960), first U.S. Director of National Intelligence (2005-present), first ambassador to post-Saddam Iraq (2004–2005)
- Bill Nelson, U.S. Senator, Florida (2000-present)
- Eleanor Holmes Norton (M.A. 1963, L.L.B 1964), non-voting congressional delegate for District of Columbia (1991-present)
- Marvin Olasky (B.A. 1971), conservative pundit
- George Pataki, Governor of New York (1995-present)
- Clark T. Randt, Jr., U.S. ambassador to China (2001-present)
- Sargent Shriver, main organizer and first director of the Peace Corps. Husband of Eunice Kennedy, and father of Maria Shriver (news journalist and wife of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger).
- Henry L. Stimson, (B.A. 1888), United States Secretary of State in the Hoover presidential administration
- Alphonso Taft, (B.A. 1933, Law) Attorney General and Secretary of War in the Ulysses S. Grant presidential administration.
- Robert Taft, Governor of Ohio (1999-present)
- Cyrus Vance, (B.A. 1939, Law 1942) United States Secretary of State in the Carter presidential administration
- Pete Wilson, Governor of California (1991–1999)
- Ernesto Zedillo, President of Mexico (1994–2000)
History, literature, art & music
- Stephen Vincent Benét, Pulitzer Prize-winning author
- Hiram Bingham, rediscovered Machu Picchu, Peru
- Harold Bloom, American literary critic
- James Fenimore Cooper, author of The Last of the Mohicans
- Briton Hadden, co-founder of Time magazine
- Charles Ives (1898), composer, classical music.
- John Knowles, author of A Separate Peace
- Maya Lin (B.A. 1981, M.Arch 1986, honorary Ph.D 1987), architect, best known for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
- Henry R. Luce, co-founder of TIME magazine
- David McCullough, famous historian, winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, best known for his books on American Presidents Harry S. Truman and John Adams.
- Camille Paglia (Ph.D. 1974), cultural critic and feminist scholar
- Cole Porter, composer
- Samantha Power (B.A. 1992), winner of the Pulitzer Prize for the book A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide
- Mark Rothko* (enrolled 1921–23), painter
- Eero Saarinen (B.Arch, 1934), architect
- Robert A. M. Stern, architect, current dean of Yale School of Architecture
- Sergio Troncoso, author of The Nature of Truth, a novel about righteousness and evil, Yale and the Holocaust.
- Garry Trudeau, Doonesbury cartoonist
- Noah Webster, author of the dictionary of the English language
- Thornton Wilder, playwright, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for the play Our Town
- Naomi Wolf, feminist writer
- Tom Wolfe (PhD), journalist, author of The Right Stuff and The Bonfire of the Vanities
- Bob Woodward, journalist and co-author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book All the President's Men
- Maury Yeston, lyricist, composer, Tony Award for Titanic
- Walter Camp (B.A. 1880), the "Father of American Football"
- Theo Epstein (B.A. 1995), became Red Sox general manager at age 28, youngest in Major League Baseball history
- Chris Hetherington (B.A. 1996), National Football League running back
- Sarah Hughes (Class of 2008), gold medalist in 2002 Olympic figure skating
- Sada Jacobson (Class of 2006), bronze medalist in 2004 Olympic women's saber
- Eric Johnson (B.A. 2001), National Football League wide receiver
- Nate Lawrie (B.A. 2004), National Football League tight end
- Frank Shorter (B.A. 1969) gold medal (1972) and silver medal (1976), Olympic Marathon
- Angela Bassett, actress
- Jennifer Beals, actress, best known for Flashdance
- Henry Bean, screenwriter/director The Believer
- Jordana Brewster, actress, plays Mia in The Fast and the Furious
- Bruce Cohen, film producer, won an Academy Award for American Beauty
- Michael Cimino, Academy Award-winning director
- Jennifer Connelly*, Academy Award-winning actress
- Claire Danes (B.A. 2002), actress
- Jodie Foster (B.A. in literature, magna cum laude), Academy Award-winning actress and director
- Paul Giamatti (MFA, 1989), actor. Starred in Academy Award nominated "Sideways".
- David Alan Grier, actor, comedian
- Kathryn Hahn, actress
- George Roy Hill, Academy Award-winning director
- Holly Hunter, Academy Award-winning actress
- Elia Kazan*, Academy Award-winning director
- Phil LaMarr (B.A. 1989), actor, comedian.
- Ron Livingston, actor. Best known for Office Space
- Frances McDormand (MFA), actress
- Paul Newman, Academy Award-winning actor
- Edward Norton (B.A. 1991), actor
- Bronson Pinchot (B.A. 1981), actor
- Vincent Price, actor
- Gene Siskel (B.A. 1967), movie critic
- Todd Solondz, director Welcome to the Dollhouse & Happiness
- Oliver Stone*, Academy Award-winning director
- Meryl Streep (MFA), Academy Award-winning actress
- John Turturro (MFA), actor
- Sam Waterston, actor
- Sigourney Weaver (MFA), actress
- Jennifer Westfeldt, actress, screenwriter (Kissing Jessica Stein)
- Lewis Black (MFA 1977) stand-up comedian who often appears on The Daily Show
- Dick Cavett, TV personality, nominated eleven times for the Emmy Award, and won three times.
- Enrico Colantoni (MFA), actor, played womanizing fashion photographer "Elliot DiMauro" on Just Shoot Me and "Mathesar" in the movie Galaxy Quest
- Anderson Cooper, CNN anchor of Anderson Cooper 360°
- Bill Corbett (DRA 1989), actor, writer, played Crow T. Robot in Mystery Science Theater 3000
- David Duchovny (M.A. English literature), actor in The X-Files
- Dick Ebersol, president of NBC Sports division, helped launch Saturday Night Live
- Sara Gilbert, actress, best known for her portrayal as the daughter "Darlene Conner" on the sit-com Roseanne
- Michael Gross (DRA 1973), actor, best known as "Steven Keaton" (the father of Michael J. Fox's character) on Family Ties
- Leo Laporte*, host of The Screen Savers on TechTV
- Ari Meyers (BA 1991), actress, played Emma McArdle on Kate & Allie
- Chris Noth (MFA), plays "Mr. Big" on Sex and the City
- Stone Phillips, television anchor for NBC
- Robert Picardo, the holographic doctor on the television show Star Trek: Voyager
- David Hyde Pierce, actor, best known as "Dr. Niles Crane" on Frasier
- Steve Skrovan, executive producer of Everybody Loves Raymond
- Ben Stein (J.D.), economist, host of Win Ben Stein's Money
- Ming Tsai (B.A. 1986), chef on East Meets West with Ming Tsai on PBS
- Margaret Warner, co-anchor on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, PBS' weekday news program
- Henry Winkler (MFA 1970), actor, best known as "Fonzie" on Happy Days
- "Charles Montgomery Burns", Class of 1914, the owner of the Springfield Nuclear Powerplant in the hit cartoon television series The Simpsons
- "Linus Larrabee", protagonist in the movie Sabrina, played by Humphrey Bogart in 1954 and Harrison Ford in 1995.
- "Dink Stover", hero of Owen Johnson's 1911 Stover at Yale
- "Rory Gilmore", main character of Gilmore Girls
- "Tom Buchanan", antagonist of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby
- "Nick Carraway", narrator of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby
- "Dr. Niles Crane", Frasier's brother in the award winning comedy series Frasier. The actor who plays him, David Hyde Pierce is a real life alumnus.
(* attended but did not graduate from Yale)
Professors who are also Yale alumni are listed in italics.
- Sidney Altman Chemistry, 1989.
- John Fenn Chemistry, 2002.
- Tjalling Koopmans – Economics, 1975.
- James Tobin – Economics, 1981.
- Akhil Amar (B.A. 1980, J.D. 1984), law professor
- Harold Bloom (Ph.D 1955), writer and critic, author of "Genius"
- Yung-Chi (Tommy) Cheng, pharmacology, inventor of AIDS drug 3TC, known as Epivir.
- Irving Fisher, economist
- Donald Kagan, ancient Greek historian
- Harold Hongju Koh, Dean of Yale Law School, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, in the Clinton Administration
- John Lewis Gaddis, Cold War historian
- David Gelernter (1976), computer scientist, co-creator of the Linda programming language
- Paul Hudak, computer scientist, known for his work on the Haskell programming language, author of "The Haskell School of Expression"
- Paul Kennedy, historian, coiner of the term "imperial overstretch" and author of "The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers"
- Benoit Mandelbrot, mathematician, known for fractal geometry
- James Mitchell, actor, most known for his role as Palmer Cortlandt on All My Children
- William Nordhaus (1963), economist
- Jaroslav Pelikan, historian, author of "The Christian Tradition"
- William Prusoff, pharmacologist, inventor of AIDS drug d4T, known as Zerit.
- Herbert Scarf, economist
- Robert Shiller, economist, author of "Irrational Exuberance", well known for his work in investor psychology
- Jonathan Spence, historian, author of "The Search For Modern China."
Yale students tend to call the University Health Services "DUH" (formerly Department of University Health).
Yale's high public profile has led to three on-campus bombings.
- On May 1, 1970, an explosive device was detonated in the Ingalls Rink during events related to the trial of Black Panther Bobby Seale.
- 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 and Harvard graduate Ted Kaczynski, aka the Unabomber.
- On May 21, 2003, an explosive device went off at the Yale Law School, damaging two classrooms.
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.
- Yale University
- Yale College, Undergraduate Admissions
- Yale Law School
- Yale Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
- Yale School of Medicine
- Yale School of Art
- Yale School of Public Health
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- Yale Daily News
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- Federation of Hospital and University Employees, the unions at Yale
- Yale Precision Marching Band
- Yale Insider Blog
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- The Yale Alley Cats
- Yale's Society of Orpheus & Bacchus
- Yale Spizzwinks
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- Official Yale athletics site
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- Yale-Harvard Game Prank of 2004
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