Berkeley College (Yale)

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For the private business college, see Berkeley College.
Berkeley College
Residential college
Berkeley College (South) at Yale.jpg
South Court of Berkeley College
University Yale University
Location 205 Elm Street
Coordinates 41°18′38″N 72°55′40″W / 41.3106°N 72.9279°W / 41.3106; -72.9279Coordinates: 41°18′38″N 72°55′40″W / 41.3106°N 72.9279°W / 41.3106; -72.9279
Nickname Berkeleyites
Motto Esse est percipi
Motto in English To be is to be perceived
Established 1934
Named for Reverend George Berkeley[1]
Colors Red, white
Sister college Dunster House at Harvard University
Master Marvin Chun
Dean Mia Genoni
Undergraduates 450 (2013-2014)
Mascot Thundercock[2]

Berkeley College is a residential college at Yale University, constructed in 1934. The eighth of Yale's 12 residential colleges, it was named in honor of Reverend George Berkeley (1685–1753), dean of Derry and later bishop of Cloyne, in recognition of the assistance in land and books that he gave to Yale in the 18th century. Built on the site of a group of buildings known from the 1890s until 1933 as the Berkeley Oval,[3] the college was renovated in 1998.

College life[edit]

As of fall 2011, Berkeley freshmen are housed in Lanman-Wright Hall. Previously, freshmen were housed in Vanderbilt Hall, erected in memory of William Henry Vanderbilt, a member of the class of 1893, who died in 1892 and was the son of Cornelius Vanderbilt II and Alice Gwynne Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt Hall is home to the Vanderbilt Suite; amongst the Suite's former residents is Anderson Cooper, great-grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt II, although Cooper was actually a member of Trumbull College, which housed its freshmen there at the time.

Berkeley is similar to other residential colleges, with its own gym, television room, and other amenities. It also has unique features:

  • Marvin's, formerly the Bishop Berkeley Bagel and Beverage Bar: A place where students gather to watch movies, engage in fellowship, and eat greasy food. Marvins was founded as The Bagel Bar in the late 1980s by Richard Y.C. Lee (B.A. 1991), who later died in the attack on the World Trade Center. It was renamed at the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year.
  • South Court Basement: In addition to Marvin's, the South Court basement contains a pool table, a football table, table tennis, and a free NBA Jam video arcade machine. Berkeley students can be found studying and socializing here every night of the week.
  • North Court Basement: Home to The Thomas Mendenhall, this includes a luxurious sitting area and is equipped with a very large entertainment center.
  • The Swiss Room: A private dining room in the dining hall. Transplanted piece by piece from Switzerland, this 16th-century wooden room has been decorated with stained glass by G. Owen Bonawit and is considered priceless.
  • The Berkeley Press: Though closed as of the 2012 school year, the Berkeley Press was a complete, operational letterpress printshop, with a large powered platen press and precision Vandercook flatbed cylinder press. Students used it to produce their own books, broadsides, holiday cards and ephemera, and regular Apprentice Courses introduced newcomers into the art.
  • The woodshop: A woodworking shop that is well-stocked with power tools and lumber. A professional cabinetmaker comes to Berkeley most weekends to teach students the trade.
  • The tunnel: An underground passageway connecting Berkeley's two grand courts, North Court and South Court, which are divided by a grassy area in front of Yale's main library, Sterling Memorial Library. It stands steps away from the Beinecke Library, the Bass Library, the Commons, and the Old Campus. The tunnel features a variety of student murals on the walls and is a convenient pathway on rainy or snowy days.
  • On the wall outside the Master's House that faces Sterling Memorial Library, there is a plaque stating that its location marks the house where Josiah Willard Gibbs lived.


Annual traditions include the snowball fight (which pits North Court against South Court), GLO (a blacklight party), and the Bishop Bash, which was founded in the spring of 2002 by Ben Reiter and Charles Finch - under the guidance of the Master's Office. Berkeley College's unofficial rivals are Trumbull and Calhoun Colleges. Another Berkeley college tradition is the "Berkeley Streak." During the annual prospective student visit days, Berkeley students would streak from freshmen housing on old campus to Berkeley's North Court. The streak, which had not happened since 1997, was revived in November 2009 on the night before The Game.

Dining hall[edit]

According to the Wall Street Journal,[4][5] Berkeley had the best college dining hall in the country: until 2006 it was the testing ground for an experimental organic food and sustainable produce dining plan overseen by celebrity chef Alice Waters.[6] Currently, the dining hall has joined the rest of the residential colleges in serving the same menu, thereby rescinding its unique status. It still remains an immensely popular place to eat, largely due to its central location on campus. This immense popularity has led to the closure of Berkeley's dining hall to non-Berkeley students every Monday night, beginning in the fall of the 2012-2013 academic year.

Notable alumni[edit]



  1. ^ Berkeley College Home Page Archived 13 February 2011 at WebCite
  2. ^ Yale College Undergraduate Admissions Facebook page
  3. ^ "History - Berkeley College - Yale University". 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Bhatia, Pooja (November 8, 2002). "College Cafeteria Food Hits New Heights With Etouffee". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 2011-02-13. 
  6. ^ Leigh Cowan, Alison (May 10, 2005). "A Dining Hall Where Students Sneak In". The New York Times. 
  7. ^ Freedman, Samuel G. (30 April 1982). "Ex-Justice Stewart Relives The Eli Life". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 March 2014. 
  8. ^ [1].

External links[edit]