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Yale drops slavery proponent Calhoun from college name

  • FILE - In this Aug. 14, 1986 file photo, Admiral Grace Hopper is honored by Navy Secretary John Lehman, during her retirement ceremony aboard the USS Constitution, in Boston, Mass. On Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, Yale University said it is renaming Calhoun College after Hooper, a trailblazing computer scientist, a mathematician who earned Yale degrees in the 1930s, invented a pioneering computer programming language and became a Navy rear admiral. (AP Photo/Peter Southwick) PETER SOUTHWICK

  • FILE - This 1985 file photo shows 79-year-old Rear Admiral Grace Hopper. On Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, Yale University said it is renaming Calhoun College after Hooper, a trailblazing computer scientist, a mathematician who earned Yale degrees in the 1930s, invented a pioneering computer programming language and became a Navy rear admiral. (Department of Defense via AP)

  • FILE - This Friday, Feb. 2, 2007 file photo shows a rear gate at Calhoun College, one of Yale's 12 residential colleges for undergraduates. On Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, Yale University said it is renaming Calhoun College after Grace Hooper, a trailblazing computer scientist, a mathematician who earned Yale degrees in the 1930s, invented a pioneering computer programming language and became a Navy rear admiral. (AP Photo/Bob Child) Bob Child

  • FILE - In this Aug. 14, 1986 file photo, Rear Admiral Grace Hopper is saluted by crew members aboard the USS Constitution, as she arrives for her retirement ceremony, in Boston, Mass. On Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, Yale University said it is renaming Calhoun College after Hooper, a trailblazing computer scientist, a mathematician who earned Yale degrees in the 1930s, invented a pioneering computer programming language and became a Navy rear admiral. (AP Photo/Peter Southwick) PETER SOUTHWICK

  • John Lugo, of Unidad Latina en Accion of New Haven, is arrested during a demonstration after some protesters blocked the intersection of Elm and College Streets in New Haven, Conn., Friday, Feb. 10, 2017, and refused to move. The protesters are in favor of changing the name of Yale University's Calhoun College. The peaceful arrests were pre-planned and coordinated between the demonstrators and New Haven Police. (Peter Hvizdak/New Haven Register via AP) Peter Hvizdak

  • John Lugo, center, of Unidad Latina en Accion of New Haven, is arrested during a demonstration after some protesters blocked the intersection of Elm and College Streets in New Haven, Conn., Friday, Feb. 10, 2017, and refused to move. The protesters are in favor of changing the name of Yale University's Calhoun College. The peaceful arrests were pre-planned and coordinated between the demonstrators and New Haven Police. (Peter Hvizdak/New Haven Register via AP) Peter Hvizdak

  • New Haven Police arrested demonstrators who blocked the intersection of Elm and College Streets in New Haven, Conn., Friday, Feb. 10, 2017 and refused to move during a protest and demonstration in favor of changing the name of Yale University's Calhoun College. The peaceful arrests were pre-planned and coordinated between the demonstrators and New Haven Police. (Peter Hvizdak/New Haven Register via AP) Peter Hvizdak

  • New Haven Police arrested demonstrators who blocked the intersection of Elm and College Streets in New Haven, Conn., Friday, Feb. 10, 2017, and refused to move during a protest and demonstration in favor of changing the name of Yale University's Calhoun College. The peaceful arrests were pre-planned and coordinated between the demonstrators and New Haven Police. (Peter Hvizdak/New Haven Register via AP) Peter Hvizdak


Associated Press
Saturday, February 11, 2017

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.