Yale Renaming Calhoun College To Honor Trailblazing Computer Scientist

Posted February 13, 2017

After years of controversy, Yale University will rename Calhoun College, an undergraduate residence named for Yale alumnus and former U.S. Vice President John C. Calhoun.

However, the university will not remove carvings or statues of Calhoun from campus and has said that those alumni who wish to continue associating with name Calhoun College are free to do so.

In April 2016, Yale declined to rename the college, passing on an opportunity to feature someone not committed to the oppression of nonwhites.

However Mr Salovey said he hoped the university community would now "embrace Grace Hopper and get to know her better".

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Meanwhile, since the name will not be changed until July, some students took it upon themselves to update the college signs.

"People of good will and intelligence have many different perspectives on this question", Salovey said.

A Daily News survey in August 2015 showed that 45% wanted to retain the Calhoun name, with 40% favoring a change.

A rear gate at Calhoun College. This follows protests at the Ivy League campus over names and symbols related to slavery and oppression.

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Chris Rabb, a 1992 Yale graduate, has spoken out against the name since his own days living at Calhoun College, when he successfully lobbied for the removal of a stained glass window depicting a black man in shackles kneeling before Calhoun. When she finally retired from the navy at the age of 79, she was the oldest serving officer in the US armed forces at the time, according to the university's statement. But the University- seemingly caught between conservative powerful alumni and agitating progressive students - reversed course a year ago and said it would again consider renaming the college.

The decision to name one of Yale's 12 colleges after him in 1931- and decorate it with depictions celebrating plantation life - was controversial at the time and triggered demonstrations by black students. Criminal charges have since been dropped and Yale has rehired Menafee, who had described the image as offensive.

Salovey, in an interview, said he was thrilled by the choice of Hopper, who earned her doctorate in mathematics and mathematical physics from Yale in 1934. Her work on the earliest computers and computer languages made it possible to write programs for multiple machines simultaneously, to use word-based languages allowing non-specialists to use computers for the first time and dramatically expanding the ways computers could be used. Like Calhoun, Hopper, who was posthumously awarded the presidential medal of freedom by Barack Obama in November, is a Yale alumnus.

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