5 Things You Didn't Know About Yale University

On October 9, 1701, the Collegiate School of Connecticut, later named Yale University, was chartered in New Haven. Known as one of the top schools in the world,  here are five fun facts about this Ivy League university...


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The School Was Renamed in 1701 Originally named The Collegiate School, Yale University took on its new name in 1701 in honor of Elihu Yale, the president of the East India Company, for his gifts to the school. Yes, THAT East India Company – the one tied to the Tea Act that led to the infamous Boston Tea Party.  The school was named after Yale in response to his gift of nine bales of goods, which were sold for around 800 pounds sterling.

Yale’s Secret Society Is Wrapped in Mystery One of the most exclusive and obscure college clubs is Yale’s secret society Skull & Bones. Students chosen for membership are often leaders on the campus, such as team captains, members of the political union, and newspaper editors. Only fifteen male and female juniors are chosen for admission each spring. The society’s most well known members include both George Bush senior and junior, William Howard Taft, and John Kerry. The group also allegedly stole the skulls of Pancho Villa, Geronimo, and Martin Van Buren.

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A Strange Story Surrounds the Statue of Patriot Nathan Hale Nathan Hale was a Yale graduate who famously uttered the phrase, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” A statue of the famous spy was commissioned in 1914 and stands outside his old dormitory.  Legend has it that the CIA later made an offer to buy the statue, and the university refused. CIA operatives were allegedly sent in during the night to cast a mold of the statue and replaced it at Yale with the replica. The legend goes on to say that the original statue is at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

The Vanderbilt Suite at Yale Is a Tribute to His Son Some college dorms are built to be better than others. That’s an understatement when it comes to the Vanderbilt suite at Yale. Vanderbilt Hall was built by railroad tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt as a memorial to his son William, who died from typhoid fever as a junior at Yale. The room above the building’s archway was built more lavishly than the rest. Rumor has it that the room is reserved for members of the Vanderbilt family while they’re attending Yale. The last Vanderbilt to stay in that room was Anderson Cooper, who graduated in 1989.

Yale Can Make Several Claims Due to its Age Being the third oldest university in the country, it isn't surprising that Yale lays claim to a number of "oldest" superlatives among schools. Yale is home to the oldest collegiate daily newspaper still in existence. Printed five days a week since January 28, 1878, the Yale Daily News lives up to its moniker. Yale also claims the oldest and most well known a cappella group: the Wiffenpoofs have been singing on Monday nights since 1909.