Yale finally buckles, Calhoun College renamed to honor female Navy Rear Admiral

Posted February 13, 2017

Yale University has reversed course and announced that it will change the name of Calhoun College.

A SC statesman and theorist, Calhoun vigorously defended slavery and served as Senator and Vice President under presidents John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson.

The college will now be renamed to honor "trailblazing" computer scientist Grace Murray Hopper, who "used her mathematical knowledge to fight fascism during World War II", the university said in a statement.

Yale University is renaming Calhoun College for Grace Murray Hopper, one of the university's most distinguished graduates, university president Peter Salovey announced in a letter to the Yale community Saturday.

Calhoun was a Yale alumnus.

The committee Yale established in August to study renaming Calhoun College established four principles to evaluate the issue: whether the namesake's main legacy fundamentally conflicts with the university's mission; whether the principal legacy was contested during the namesake's lifetime; the reason the university honored that person; and whether the building plays a substantial role in forming community at Yale. "I was concerned about inviting a series of name changes that would obscure Yale's past". Salovey said he and the Corporation did not choose from an official shortlist of names.

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New Haven police spokesman Officer David Hartman said in a release that those arrested, including two adult men and two adult women he did not name, are charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct. The name Calhoun is engraved throughout the college, including above the front gate, and the upper tier of Harkness Tower features a sculpture of Calhoun. The name received new attention a year ago as protesters on campuses around the country called for universities to address the legacies of historical figures, such as Woodrow Wilson at Princeton University in New Jersey. He also served as Secretary of State, Secretary of War, and a U.S. Senator.

Last year, an African-American dishwasher admitted to breaking a stained-glass window that depicted slaves picking cotton. The charges were later dropped at Yale's request.

The decision was made after a meeting with the university's board of trustees, the university president said.

Grace Hopper attended Yale in the 1930's, and went on to become a math teacher at Vassar for almost a decade before enlisting in the U.S. Navy where she used her mathematical knowledge to fight Fascism during World War II.

After teaching math at Vassar College in NY for almost a decade, she enlisted in the Navy and "used her mathematical knowledge to fight fascism during World War II", the university said.

She was also instrumental in in developing COBOL, one of the first programming languages, and coined the phrase "bug" for computer problems. She was honored many times, including posthumously with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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