Grace Hopper College is a residential college of Yale University. It
was opened in 1933 as one of the original eight undergraduate
residential colleges endowed by Edward Harkness. The building was
designed by John Russell Pope. The college was originally named
Calhoun College after John C. Calhoun, but was renamed in 2017 in
honor of computer scientist Grace Hopper.
US Vice President
US Vice President and 1804 graduate of Yale College, was an
advocate of slaveholding and states' rights. Since the 1960s,
Calhoun's white supremacist beliefs and pro-slavery
leadership had prompted calls to rename the college or
remove its tributes to Calhoun. In 2016, the
Yale Corporation chose to
retain Calhoun as the college's namesake, but reversed its
decision in 2017 and renamed the college after Hopper. 
2 Recent events
3 Namesakes and controversy
3.1 Calhoun at Yale and after
3.2 Naming of Calhoun College
3.3 Re-naming debates
3.4 Artistic depictions of antebellum slavery
4 Unique features
5 Notable alumni
6 Masters & Heads of College and Deans
8 Further reading
9 External links
College courtyard, Winter 2011.
College courtyard, Spring 2015.
In 1641, John Brockston established a farm on the plot of land that is
Grace Hopper College. After the Revolutionary War an inn was
constructed that would later become the meeting place of the Phi Beta
Kappa Society. From 1863 until 1931 the land was home to the Yale
Divinity School, which was housed in three buildings known as West
Divinity Hall, Marquand Chapel, and East Divinity Hall. After Yale
James Rowland Angell
James Rowland Angell announced the residential college plan
in 1930, the Divinity School campus was demolished and a new campus
built at the top of Prospect Hill, where it currently stands.
Although all the other Collegiate Gothic-style colleges at Yale were
conceived by James Gamble Rogers, the commission for the new college
at the corner of College and Elm Streets was given to John Russell
Pope, a campus planner who concurrently designed the Payne Whitney
Gymnasium. The new dormitory became known as Calhoun College.
Like all other residential colleges at their inception, Calhoun had
twenty-four-hour guard service and the gates were never locked. Jacket
and tie was the necessary attire in the dining hall and meals were
served at the table.
Previous arms of Calhoun College
At first, Calhoun was considered an undesirable college because of its
location at the corner of College and Elm, where trolleys frequently
ran screeching around the corner. This perception of Calhoun changed
under the popular Master Charles Schroeder, who once remarked that if
the despicable trolley service were ever removed he would purchase a
trolley car, put it in the courtyard, and hold a celebration to
commemorate the event. The trolley system was indeed removed in 1949,
and though a whole car proved unfeasible, Master Schroder secured the
fare collecting machine from a trolley and made good on his promise to
celebrate. Thus was born Trolley Night, a proud tradition of the
The coat of arms designed for Calhoun College combined the university
arms, is set atop the Cross of St. Andrew. The college colors were
black, navy blue, and gold.
Calhoun College 2011
In 1989, Calhoun was the first residential college to be renovated.
The renovations, mostly funded by alumnus Roger Horchow, were done
quickly and over the summer to minimize disruption to student life. By
2000, the physical plant began to show wear and tear again.
2005 saw the retirement of William and Betsy Sledge as Master and
Associate Master of Calhoun. They were succeeded by Dr. Jonathan
Holloway (PhD '95) and his wife Aisling Colón. In 2014, Holloway
became the Dean of Yale College, the first African-American to hold
that position. He was succeeded as Master by Julia Adams, Professor of
Sociology and International and Area Studies.
In the same year a limited window replacement was commissioned amid
Calhoun's controversial exclusion from the most recent campus-wide
Though partially renovated in 1989, Calhoun College was fully
renovated over the 2008-09 school-year.
Stephen Lassonde stepped down as the Calhoun Dean in June 2007 thus
ending one of the longest tenures as dean in the College's history.
Within the Residential College system at Yale, deanships normally last
only a few years, but Stephen Lassonde served as Calhoun Dean for
fourteen years. In late April 2007, he made the official
announcement that he would be leaving Calhoun to serve as Deputy Dean
of the College at Brown University in nearby Providence, Rhode Island.
The most recent dean of Calhoun was Leslie Woodard, who died
unexpectedly at her home in Calhoun in October 2013. Until June
2007 Dean Woodard was the director of the undergraduate creative
writing program at Columbia University. A published author of short
stories, Dean Woodard also had a history in the performing arts; she
was a professional dancer in the Dance Theater of Harlem for a decade.
In late June 2007 Calhoun's mighty elm—host of the college's famous
tire swing and shade provider for literally every Calhoun student
since the college's founding—was felled. The tree was rotting from
the ground up and was beginning to lean dangerously. Given the fact
that the tree was actually taller than Calhoun (itself a five- and
six-story building in different places), the tree posed a real danger
to the college structure and Calhoun students.
Namesakes and controversy
Main article: John C. Calhoun
Calhoun at Yale and after
John C. Calhoun
John C. Calhoun grew up on a plantation in South Carolina. He entered
Yale College in November 1802  and lived in a dorm on the
college's Old Campus, Union Hall. His professors
included Benjamin Silliman, and Yale Presidents
Jeremiah Day and
Timothy Dwight. He did well academically, was selected as a member
of the Linonia literary society, and graduated
Phi Beta Kappa
Phi Beta Kappa in
1804. He subsequently received a Juris Doctor from Litchfield Law
School in Connecticut, and thereafter returned to South Carolina.
After his student years, Calhoun never again had significant
involvement in Yale and was never a benefactor.
Elected to the
United States Congress
United States Congress in 1810, he made his name as a
War Hawk before the War of 1812, then became Secretary of War under
President James Monroe. He was elected Vice President in 1825 and
served two terms before resigning to fight for South Carolina's
nullification of federal tariffs as a Senator. During his political
career, Calhoun gained a reputation as a great rhetorician and
intellectual. In addition to his advocacy of states' rights, Calhoun
was a proponent of slaveholder rights and believed that slavery was
justified by white supremacy. Inheriting his father's farm, Calhoun
remained a slaveholder his entire life and profited from the cotton
Naming of Calhoun College
Because of his political, military, and intellectual achievements,
Calhoun was venerated as an illustrious Yale alumnus beginning in the
mid-nineteenth century. He was the only Yale graduate to be elected to
a federal executive office in the school's first two centuries, until
the election of U.S. President
William Howard Taft
William Howard Taft in 1909. A 1914
biography of Calhoun by Yale Secretary Anson Phelps Stokes details his
accomplishments as an "eminent Yale man" without once mentioning his
slaveholdings or pro-slavery leadership.
Already holding some of Calhoun's papers, Yale offered its first
commemoration of Calhoun during the construction of the Memorial
Quadrangle in 1917. Statues of eight pre-20th century "Yale worthies"
were placed on Harkness Tower, including an eight-foot statue of
Calhoun. Of these, only Calhoun and Jonathan Edwards were selected
as namesakes of the eight original residential colleges when they were
named around 1931.
A debate over the appropriateness of the college's name has waxed and
waned, as John C. Calhoun's involvement in defending slavery has been
reconsidered. In 1992, the graduating seniors commissioned a plaque
noting the unfortunate reality of John C. Calhoun's legacy, but at the
same time supported the notion that the college retain its name for
historical purposes. Around the same time, a pane of stained glass
in the college's common room depicting a shackled black man kneeling
before Calhoun was altered to depict Calhoun alone.
After the June 2015 Charleston church shooting, radio commentators
Colin McEnroe and Ray Hardman questioned whether the preservation of
the college's name was an inappropriate legacy of white
supremacy. The events, which instigated student protests and
alumni petitions in the same year, caused administrators to
consider renaming the college. In their petition students argued
that—while Calhoun was respected in the 19th century as an
"extraordinary American statesman"—he was "one of the most prolific
defenders of slavery and white supremacy" in the history of the United
States. In August 2015 Yale President
Peter Salovey addressed
the Freshman Class of 2019 in which he responded to the racial
tensions but explained why the college would not be renamed. He
described Calhoun as a "a notable political theorist, a vice president
to two different U.S. presidents, a secretary of war and of state, and
a congressman and senator representing South Carolina." He
acknowledged that Calhoun also "believed that the highest forms of
civilization depend on involuntary servitude. Not only that, but he
also believed that the races he thought to be inferior, black people
in particular, ought to be subjected to it for the sake of their own
In April 2016 Salovey announced that "despite decades of vigorous
alumni and student protests," Calhoun's name would remain on the Yale
residential college. Salovey argued that it was preferable for Yale
students to live in Calhoun's "shadow" so they will be "better
prepared to rise to the challenges of the present and the future." He
claimed that if they removed Calhoun's name, it would "obscure" his
"legacy of slavery rather than addressing it." "Yale is part of
that history" and "We cannot erase American history, but we can
confront it, teach it and learn from it." At the same time, Salovey
announced that the title of “master” would be changed to “head
of college” because of the title's freighted use by American
Artistic depictions of antebellum slavery
Stained glass window panels in the college depicted images of slavery.
One showed a black man in shackles kneeling before Calhoun. Temple
University professor and co-founder of the Yale Black Alumni Network
Chris Rabb advocated for that panel to be altered. The
alterations replaced the black man with blank white pieces of
glass. The university had plans to change some additional stained
glass windows in the dining hall in 2016, but, before that was done,
Corey Menafee, an African-American dishwasher who worked there,
knocked out the pane that showed black slaves harvesting cotton in the
fields, because, as he related, he no longer wanted to be subjected to
seeing the "racist, very degrading" image at his place of work, but
also added: "There's always better ways of doing things like that than
just destroying things." Menafee was initially arrested on felony and
misdemeanor charges. Yale chose not to press charges which
were then dropped and, after initially accepting Menafee's
resignation, rehired him to work at a different location.
Calhoun's name has been tied up in larger controversies about the
associations of the colleges with slavery. A 2001 report revealed that
at least seven of the colleges' namesakes were slave owners. In
2009, a student group protested the connection by posting alternative
names for slaveowner-named colleges near the college entrances.
Commenting for the Wall Street Journal, Roger Kimball pointed out that
Yale's namesake, Elihu Yale, was a slave trader, and questioned how
Yale can defend the name of the university against similar moral
See also: Grace Hopper
Partly because of the controversy surrounding the 2016 decision not to
rename Calhoun College, Yale put in place a policy on the potential
renaming of buildings and other institutions around the university.
One of the first items of business the consequent task force addressed
was the renaming of Calhoun College, and in February 2017 it
recommended to the
Yale Corporation that the College's name be
changed. The Corporation accepted that recommendation, and voted
at its February 2017 meeting to change the name of Calhoun to Grace
Hopper College, effective July 1, 2017.
The College's new namesake has strong ties to Yale, having received
her Ph.D. from there under the direction of
Øystein Ore in 1934.
The College's new arms, designed in 2017, were intended to represent
Admiral Hopper's history, as well as to create a tie to the College's
past. The heraldic dolphin represents both leadership and Hopper's
career in the United States Navy. The rectangles and circles represent
her contributions to mathematics and computer science. The scalloped
(engrailed) bar is evocative of waves—and also incorporates a design
element of the Calhoun College arms, which featured an engrailed
The courtyard used to have a popular tire swing, which stood in stark
contrast to the Neo-Gothic architecture. In fall 1990, newly appointed
master Turan Onat made it his first priority to remove the tire swing
as he sought "to restore the courtyard to a grassier state." The
seniors immediately reinstalled the swing overnight and Onat quickly
reversed his policy.
Calhoun used to be the only residential college with its own
sauna. The sauna was removed from Entryway B/C during the 2005-06
school year.
The College Council is a student governing organization that
coordinates activities and social life for the residential college.
Throughout the year, the Council organizes numerous activities
including: Study Breaks, a dorm-wide dance called, Calhoun Screw, and
Trolley Night, an annual dance party.
Angela Bassett, actress
John R. Bolton, United States Ambassador to the United Nations,
David L. Boren, 1963, Governor of Oklahoma, US Senator, Chancellor,
University of Oklahoma
Jonathan Coulton, singer-songwriter
Mark Dayton, 1969, governor of Minnesota
Bryce Dessner, composer and guitarist with The National
Jodie Foster, 1985, actress
Henry Louis Gates, Jr., 1973, author, literary critic, professor
Paul Krugman, 1974, economist,
New York Times
New York Times columnist, winner of the
Nobel Prize in Economics, 2008
John Hodgman, comedian
Roger Horchow, Tony Award-winning Producer and founder of The Horchow
Demetri Martin, comedian
George Packer, journalist, author, playwright
Robert Curtis Brown, actor
Kurt Hugo Schneider, internet celebrity
Jake Sullivan, 1998, foreign policy adviser to
Joe Biden and Hillary
Claire Danes, actress
Joshua Prince-Ramus, 1991, architect
Sandra Boynton, author
Masters & Heads of College and Deans
Masters and Heads of College of
Grace Hopper College
Arnold Whitridge (grandson of poet Matthew Arnold)
John Charles Schroeder
Archibald Smith Foord
B. Davie Napier
R. W. B. Lewis
Charles T. Davis
B. Davie Napier
E. Turan Onat
William H. Sledge
Amy Hungerford (acting)
Julia Adams (as Head of College from 27 April 2016)
Grace Hopper College
Stephen Windsor Reed
^ "Master Julia Adams". Calhoun College. Retrieved 29 October
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Grace Hopper GRD '34". Yale Daily News. Retrieved February
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retrieved April 30, 2016
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Media related to
Hopper College at Wikimedia Commons
Namesake: Elihu Yale
Peter Salovey (predecessors)
Provost: Ben Polak
Undergraduate: Yale College
Graduate: Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
Engineering & Applied Science
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Defunct: Sheffield Scientific School
Edward P. Evans Hall
Hopper (formerly Calhoun)
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