After years of debate, the trustees of Yale University announced Saturday they will change the name of a residential college that honors a 19th century alumnus who was an ardent supporter of slavery.
The Ivy League university said 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 on a controversy over former Vice President John C. Calhoun’s legacy that had simmered for years and boiled over with campus protests in 2015. The university’s president, Peter Salovey, announced in April that the school would keep Calhoun’s name. But, in August, he appointed an advisory panel to consider whether the name should be changed after all.
“We have a strong presumption against renaming buildings on this campus,” Salovey said Saturday. “I have been concerned all along and remain concerned that we don’t do things that erase history. So renamings are going to be exceptional.”