|Yale's campus just got bigger: The new residential colleges, Murray and Franklin, opened this fall, as Yale welcomed the largest first-year class in its history. (Yale and Yale Daily News photos)|
Some of the 12 colleges were informally paired, if only because they were rivals in intramurals, because they shared boundaries or because their residents could see each other through fourth-floor windows: Silliman and Timothy Dwight; Morse and Stiles; Branford and Saybrook, and Davenport and Pierson, e.g.
But then in 2017, change came.
First, Calhoun College, after protests, deliberation, surveys and advanced analysis, formally changed its name to Hopper College, a tribute to Rear Admiral Grace Hopper '34 Ph.d.
Second, the new school year introduced two new colleges, housed in brand-new, Gothic-impression buildings adjacent to Science Hill in Yale neighborhoods that many undergraduates through the decades hardly frequented. Now there are 14--the first time Yale has added colleges since Morse and Stiles opened in 1961.
The two new colleges, named for Pauli Murray '65 S.J.D. and Benjamin Franklin, opened their doors to both new and old Yale students in late August, 2017. And all of a sudden, the center of gravity of undergraduate life might have been pulled away from Cross Campus and has eased its way toward Prospect Street.
The new 2016-17 school year also marks the largest first-year class in Yale history with over 1,600 students (including 28 from Westchester)--a number that approaches the class sizes at peer schools like Harvard, Penn and Stanford.
In the short term, visitors and prospective students will likely swarm toward Murray (on the north side) and Franklin (on the south side) colleges to see the new buildings, court yards, dining halls, libraries, theater spaces, and kitchenettes--modern features with a classic, Yale touch. Some alumni, young and old, might quietly wish they could restart their bright college years in these polished new surroundings.