After protests, controversy and an 86-year history commemorating a slavery-defending alumnus, Yale University’s Calhoun College will be renamed in honor of Grace Murray Hopper, the Yale Daily News reported.
Although the official name change does not go into effect until July 1, enthusiastic students have already begun taping over references of John C. Calhoun, an 1804 Yale graduate and United States Vice President who advocated for the continuation of slavery.
Hopper, after whom the college will be renamed, received her doctorate in mathematics from Yale in 1934, served as a rear admiral in the United States Navy and was a pioneer in the field of computer science. She is particularly noted for her invention of the first compiler for programming languages. Barack Obama posthumously awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016.
(Design Staff | Roshan Benefo)
According to the Yale Daily News, the resolution was announced by Yale President Peter Salovey in an email Saturday — months after an initial and unpopular decision in April to retain Calhoun’s name.
“The decision to change a college’s name is not one we take lightly,” Salovey wrote in the email, emphasizing his concern that renaming could erase the history of the college.
“John C. Calhoun’s legacy as a white supremacist and a national leader who passionately supported slavery as a ‘positive good’ fundamentally conflicts with Yale’s mission and values," he added.