Yale University announced Saturday it is renaming Calhoun College after trailblazing computer scientist Grace Murray Hopper, a mathematician who earned Yale degrees in the 1930s, invented a pioneering computer programming language and became a Navy rear admiral.
Yale said it was the final decision in a controversy over former Vice President John C. Calhoun’s legacy that had simmered for years and boiled over with campus protests in 2015.
Calhoun, a member of the Yale class of 1804, was a senator from South Carolina and a leading voice for those opposed to abolishing slavery. He served as vice president from 1825 to 1832.
“John C. Calhoun. White supremacist. Ardent defender of slavery as a positive good,” Yale President Peter Salovey noted. “Someone whose views hardened over the course of his life, died essentially criticizing the Declaration of Independence and its emphasis on all men being created equal.”
The residential college was named for Calhoun when it was established in the early 1930s. The name received new attention as protesters on campuses around the country called for universities to address the legacies of historical figures, such as Woodrow Wilson at Princeton University in New Jersey.
Salovey said he hopes the university community will “embrace Grace Hopper and get to know her better.”
After teaching math at Vassar College in New York for nearly a decade, Hopper enlisted in the Navy and “used her mathematical knowledge to fight fascism during World War II,” the university said.