Yale is organized into twelve constituent schools: the original undergraduate college, the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, and ten professional schools. While the university is governed by the Yale Corporation, each school's faculty oversees its curriculum and degree programs. In addition to a central campus in downtown New Haven, the University owns athletic facilities in Western New Haven, including the Yale Bowl, a campus in West Haven, Connecticut, and forest and nature preserves throughout New England. The University's assets include an endowment valued at $23.9 billion as of September 27, 2014.
Yale College undergraduates follow a liberal arts curriculum with departmental majors and are organized into a system of residential colleges. Almost all faculty teach undergraduate courses, more than 2,000 of which are offered annually.The Yale University Library, serving all twelve schools, holds more than 15 million volumes and is the third-largest academic library in the United States. Students compete intercollegiately as the Yale Bulldogs in the NCAA Division I Ivy League.
Yale has graduated many notable alumni, including five U.S. Presidents, 19 U.S. Supreme Court Justices, 13 living billionaires, and many foreign heads of state. In addition, Yale has graduated hundreds of members of Congress and many high-level U.S. diplomats, including former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and current Secretary of State John Kerry. Fifty-two Nobel laureates have been affiliated with the University as students, faculty, or staff, and 230 Rhodes Scholars graduated from the University.
OriginsYale traces its beginnings to "An Act for Liberty to Erect a Collegiate School," passed by the General Court of the Colony of Connecticut on October 9, 1701, while meeting in New Haven. The Act was an effort to create an institution to train ministers and lay leadership for Connecticut. Soon thereafter, a group of ten Congregationalist ministers: Samuel Andrew, Thomas Buckingham, Israel Chauncy, Samuel Mather, James Noyes, James Pierpont, Abraham Pierson, Noadiah Russell, Joseph Webb and Timothy Woodbridge, all alumni of Harvard, met in the study of Reverend Samuel Russell in Branford, Connecticut, to pool their books to form the school's library. The group, led by James Pierpont, is now known as "The Founders".
Originally known as the "Collegiate School," the institution opened in the home of its first rector, Abraham Pierson, in Killingworth (now Clinton). The school moved to Saybrook, and then Wethersfield. In 1716 the college moved to New Haven, Connecticut.
In 1718, at the behest of either Rector Samuel Andrew or the colony's Governor Gurdon Saltonstall, Cotton Mather contacted a successful businessman named Elihu Yale, who lived in Wales but had been born in Boston and whose father David had been one of the original settlers in New Haven, to ask him for financial help in constructing a new building for the college. Through the persuasion of Jeremiah Dummer, Yale, who had made a fortune through trade while living in British Raj as a representative of the East India Company, donated nine bales of goods, which were sold for more than £560, a substantial sum at the time. Yale also donated 417 books and a portrait of King George I. Cotton Mather suggested that the school change its name to Yale College in gratitude to its benefactor, and to increase the chances that he would give the college another large donation or bequest. Elihu Yale was away in India when the news of the school's name change reached his home in Wrexham, Wales, a trip from which he never returned. While he did ultimately leave his fortunes to the "Collegiate School within His Majesties Colony of Connecticot",