We like to periodically visit Ivy League colleges just in hopes of all the brain power rubbing off. Unfortunately, most of the time, we end up no smarter, walking back across campus in our new college t-shirt feeling even dumber than when we arrived and no matter how many times we say “matriculate” or “bastardize,” no one is fooled.
So, it is with the eternal hope of osmotic genius that we arrived in New Haven Connecticut campus of the third oldest university in the United States, Yale University. We had planned to just walk around with our backpack trying to blend conspicuously with the young whiz kids, and brilliant future leaders.
Only a few blocks into our walk, we were oozing public school ignorance; but we were able to muster enough high school English to read a sign that directed us to the visitors center for the daily free campus tours. Actually, at this point, we could only make out ”tour,” “free,” and “visitors center,” but those were all we needed.
We were met at the visitors center by a young woman who directed us to a room and presented the video entitled “Why I Chose Yale.”
My only thought was… “this is why some people choose Harvard.” Maybe I was just being catty since I was only moments from following a 22-year old tour guide who was much smarter than me around a campus filled with more people much smarter than me.
I’ve already used up all the words I know, so below are some images from the very informative, and well-led tour across campus.
Old Campus: Yale’s Residential College system is quite unique. Students are assigned to a residential college for their freshman year. Only two residential colleges (Silliman and Timothy Dwight) house freshmen. The majority of on-campus freshmen live in this area – the beautiful gothic architecture of the "Old Campus” pictured below. Each residential college has multi-person suites (not dorm rooms), a game room, gym and its own dining hall. Students have everything they need right inside their residential college.
Nathan Hale, patriot and supposed first spy for America, famously said “I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country,” when he was being hanged for treason. He also lived in Connecticut Hall, the oldest building in New Haven, and the first dormitory at Yale.
Theodore Dwight Woolsey was elected President of Yale in 1846 and was the longest serving president in Yale’s history. He was a huge supporter of the crew team and often pushed the team off to race with his foot. The team literally won every time he did this and he came to be known as having a "lucky golden foot." Students to this day still rub his foot for good luck.
Harkness Tower: Built in 1917, 216 years after the founding of Yale, the 216 foott tall Carillon was named for Mrs. Stephen V. Harkness who gave the original ten-bell chime as part of a memorial to her son, Charles William Harkness (B.A. 1883), Like many of the buildings on campus, this memorial was designed by famed architect James Gamble Rogers.
The Women's Table: Designed by famed architect and Yale graduate Maya Lin in 1993, The Women’s Table is a simple piece of art whose water runs over a string of figures marking the number of female students at Yale each year since its founding in 1701 until 1993 when the number of female students officially outnumbers the men. Maya Lin is most known for her design (while a Yale undergraduate) of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
The Yale University Library was first opened in 1912 and today, as the second largest academic library in North America, houses12.7 million books. The buildings that house the system’s books are each unique and special in their own way, and collectively represent arguably the best research library system in the world.
The Beinecke Rare Book Library (Part of the Yale system) is the largest building in the world reserved exclusively for the preservation of rare books and manuscripts. Its state-of-the art fire extinguishing system and exterior walls made of translucent Danby marble (which transmit subdued lighting and provide protection from direct light) make it the perfect place to house the world’s most treasured tomes. And, on top of that, it’s a pretty sweet building.