Ezra Stiles College

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Ezra Stiles College
Residential college at Yale University
EzraStilesshield.png
Coat of arms of Ezra Stiles College
University Yale University
Location 19 Tower Parkway
Coordinates 41°18′45″N 72°55′50″W / 41.3125°N 72.9306°W / 41.3125; -72.9306Coordinates: 41°18′45″N 72°55′50″W / 41.3125°N 72.9306°W / 41.3125; -72.9306
Nickname Stilesians
Established 1961
Named for Ezra Stiles
Colors Black, Gold
Sister college Currier House, Harvard
Queens' College, Cambridge
Master Stephen Pitti
Dean Nilakshi Parndigamage
Undergraduates 478 (2013-2014)
Mascot A. Bartlett Giamatti Memorial Moose
Website ezrastiles.yalecollege.yale.edu

Ezra Stiles College is a residential college at Yale University, built in 1961 by Eero Saarinen.[1] It is often simply called "Stiles," despite an early-1990s crusade by then-master Traugott Lawler to preserve the use of the full name in everyday speech.[citation needed] It was named for Ezra Stiles, seventh president of Yale. Architecturally, it is known for its lack of right angles between walls in the living areas. It sits next to Morse College.

Origin[edit]

In his report on the 1955-56 academic year, Yale President A. Whitney Griswold announced his intention to add at least one residential college to Yale's two-decade-old system. "We have the colleges so full that community life, discipline, education, even sanitation are suffering," he said.[citation needed] Wild rumors flew about four or five new colleges, but nothing substantial was announced until spring 1959, when Eero Saarinen '34 was chosen as the architect, and the Old York Square behind the Graduate School as the site. The Old Dominion Foundation, established by Paul Mellon '29, provided money to build two "radically different" colleges to alleviate the strain on the existing colleges.

The cornerstone of the college was laid on Alumni Day 1961. Students took up residence in September 1962, and the college was dedicated on December 7.[2] The purchase of the land, previously occupied by Hillhouse High School and Commercial High School, from the City of New Haven was made possible by a grant from John Hay Whitney '26.

Design[edit]

Courtyard of the college, with Payne Whitney Gymnasium in background

The college is built of rubble masonry with buildings and a tower in the style of pre-Gothic Tuscan towers such as still exist in the medieval Italian hill town of San Gimignano, and is regarded as one of the "ugly ducklings" of Yale.[3] The college consists almost entirely of single rooms, and in a modern attempt to capture the spirit of Gothic architecture, Saarinen eliminated all right angles from the living areas.

Stiles' adjacent "twin" residential college Morse is architecturally similar, was built at the same time, has an adjoining dining room, and shares a common kitchen. Architecturally, Morse and Stiles differ from older colleges by having more private space per student and the lowest ratio of natural light aperture to wall surface.

Because none of the interior walls make right angles, Stiles' dorm rooms are furnished with built-in desks and bookshelves. The college was once heated by a system that warmed the stone floors, but maintenance troubles led Yale to abandon it and install radiators.

Contrary to popular belief, the college's concrete walls were never meant to be covered with ivy.[citation needed]

Yale is renovating its residential colleges; in fall 2010, the refurbishment of adjoining Morse College gave Stiles students access to a new gym, dance studio, and the Underground Crescent Theater. Work on Stiles itself began in summer 2010, and is to be complete by August 2011. Among other things, it will add suites to the college and refurbish several massive lighting fixtures designed by UCLA sculptor Oliver Andrews and meant to be abstract and contemporary versions of "the sort of thing you'd find in an ancient castle".[4]

Student life[edit]

Stiles has had success in Yale's intramural sports program, winning the Tyng Cup — presented to the residential college with the best intramural sports performance — in 1964, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, 2003, 2004, and 2005.[5] This 10-cup total places Stiles just one behind leaders Pierson College and Timothy Dwight College. More recently, the college has taken second place behind Silliman College, which won the Cup in 2006, 2007, and 2008.

Ezra Stiles and Morse co-host an annual Casino Night. A formal affair, the event features casino-style games and live music.

The mascot is the A. Bartlett Giamatti Memorial Moose. The stuffed moose head that graces the college dining hall was named in honor of former college Master Bart 'Shades' Giamatti, who in 1977 became Yale's youngest president, and in 1989 was named Commissioner of Baseball. Giamatti's son, actor Paul Giamatti, lived in the Master's House on the Ezra Stiles College grounds from birth through age five.

Residents of the tower had access through a window to the roof of the Yale Co-op, which would sometimes be covered with a sheet of ice, permitting brave students to ice skate on the open roof (without railings of course).

In recent years, Stilesians have adopted the new tradition of hosting an annual "Medieval (K)night." For one night in April, the dining hall is transformed into a medieval banquet hall, and students enjoy medieval fare and dramatic re-enactments of "Beowulf" and dragon battles before besieging and pillaging a rival college.

Masters and deans[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ezra Stiles College Home Page Archived February 14, 2011, at WebCite
  2. ^ "Erza Stiles - Brief History". 
  3. ^ http://www.yaleherald.com/archive/xix/2.24.95/news/saarinen.html
  4. ^ http://lightrestoration.com/blog/2010/10/286yale-ezra-stiles.html Yale Ezra Stiles College lighting restoration in progress; AE1 fixtures complete
  5. ^ Archives
  6. ^ Correct date, though three years before the opening of the college. See "Richard Sewall dies, was first master of Ezra Stiles College". Yale Bulletin and Calendar (Vol. 31, No. 27). Yale University. April 25, 2003. Retrieved July 8, 2016. 
  7. ^ Sweedler, Maya (May 5, 2016). "Parndigamage ’06 named new Stiles dean". Yale Daily News. Retrieved July 8, 2016. 

External links[edit]