Yale University is a private university in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701 as the Collegiate School, Yale is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States  and is a member of the Ivy League. According to U.S. News and World Report's 2008 World's Best Colleges and Universities index, Yale ranks second among the top 200 universities in the world. Yale is widely regarded as one of the leading and most prestigious universities in the world, and it has produced a number of U.S. presidents and foreign heads of state.  
Particularly well-known are the undergraduate school, Yale College; the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences; and the Yale Law School. Yale Law School, for example, has been ranked #1 by the U.S. News and World Report every year since the ranking's inception. In 1861, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences became the first U.S. school to award the Ph.D.   Also notable is the Yale School of Drama, which has produced many prominent Hollywood and Broadway actors and writers, as well as the art, divinity, forestry and environment, music, medical, management, nursing, and architecture schools.
The university's assets include a $17 billion endowment (the second-largest of any academic institution) and more than a dozen libraries that hold a total of 12.5 million volumes (making it, according to Yale, the world's second-largest university library system). Yale has 3,300 faculty members, who teach 5,300 undergraduate students and 6,000 graduate students. Yale is organized as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.
Yale's 70 undergraduate majors are primarily focused on a liberal arts curriculum, and few of the undergraduate departments are pre-professional. About 20% of Yale undergraduates major in the sciences, 35% in the social sciences, and 45% in the arts and humanities. All tenured professors teach undergraduate courses, more than 2,000 of which are offered annually.
Yale uses a residential college housing system modeled after those at Oxford and Cambridge. Each residential college houses a representative cross-section of the undergraduate student body and features facilities, seminars, resident faculty and graduate fellows, and support personnel. As of 2008–2009, there are 12 residential colleges, with plans to open two more in the future. The existing residential colleges are named after past Yale presidents, the early locations of the Yale campus, and a handful of historic local figures. The University has not announced names for the new colleges, but has made it clear that they will not be named after living donors.
Yale's graduate programs include those in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences - covering 53 disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, biology, physical sciences, and engineering - and those in the Professional Schools of Architecture, Art, Divinity, Drama, Forestry & Environmental Sciences, Law, Management, Medicine, Music, Nursing, and Public Health.
Yale and Harvard have been rivals in almost everything for most of their history, notably academics, rowing, and American football. In sports, the Harvard-Yale Regatta and The Game are annual contests.
Yale president Rick Levin summarized the university's institutional priorities for its fourth century: "First, among the nation's finest research universities, Yale is distinctively committed to excellence in undergraduate education. Second, in our graduate and professional schools, as well as in Yale College, we are committed to the education of leaders."
Yale traces its beginnings to "An Act for Liberty to Erect a Collegiate School," passed by the General Court of the Colony of Connecticut on October 9 1701 in an effort to create an institution to train ministers. Soon thereafter, a group of ten Congregationalist ministers led by James Pierpont, all of whom were alumni of Harvard (the only North American college during their youth), met in the study of Reverend Samuel Russell in Branford, Connecticut, to pool their books to form the school's first library. The group is now known as "The Founders."
Originally called the Collegiate School, the institution opened in the home of its first rector, Abraham Pierson, in Killingworth (now Clinton). The school moved to Saybrook, and then Wethersfield. In 1718, the college moved to New Haven, Connecticut, where it remains to this day.
In the meanwhile, a rift was forming at Harvard between its sixth president Increase Mather (Harvard A.B., 1656) and the rest of the Harvard clergy, whom Mather viewed as increasingly liberal, ecclesiastically lax, and overly broad in Church polity. The relationship worsened after Mather resigned, and the administration repeatedly rejected his son and ideological colleague, Cotton Mather (Harvard A.B., 1678), for the position of the Harvard presidency. The feud caused the Mathers to champion the success of the Collegiate School in the hope that it would maintain the Puritan religious orthodoxy in a way that Harvard had not. In 1718, at the behest of either Rector Samuel Andrew or the colony's Governor Gurdon Saltonstall, Cotton Mather contacted a successful businessman in Wales named Elihu Yale to ask him for financial help in constructing a new building for the college. Yale, who had made a fortune through trade while living in India as a representative of the East India Company, donated nine bales of goods, which were sold for more than £560, a substantial sum at the time. Yale also donated 417 books and a portrait of King George I. Cotton Mather suggested that the school change its name to Yale College in gratitude to its benefactor, and to increase the chances that he would give the college another large donation or bequest. Elihu Yale was away in India when the news of the school's name change reached his home in Wrexham, North Wales, a trip from which he never returned. And while he did ultimately leave his fortunes to the "Collegiate School within His Majesties Colony of Connecticot," the institution was never able to successfully lay claim to it.
Serious American students of theology and divinity, particularly in New England, regarded Hebrew as a classical language, along with Greek and Latin, and essential for study of the Old Testament in the original words. The Reverend Ezra Stiles, president of the College from 1778 to 1795, brought with him his interest in the Hebrew language as a vehicle for studying ancient Biblical texts in their original language (as was common in other schools), requiring all freshmen to study Hebrew (in contrast to Harvard, where only upperclassmen were required to study the language) and is responsible for the Hebrew words "Urim" and "Thummim" on the Yale seal. Stiles' greatest challenge occurred in July, 1779 when hostile British forces occupied New Haven and threatened to raze the College. Fortunately, Yale graduate Edmund Fanning, Secretary to the British General in command of the occupation, interceded and the College was saved. Fanning later was granted an honorary degree for his efforts.
The emphasis on classics gave rise to a number of private student societies, open only by invitation, which arose primarily as forums for discussions of modern scholarship, literature and politics. The first such organizations were debating societies: Crotonia in 1738, Linonia in 1753, and Brothers in Unity in 1768.
Yale College expanded gradually, establishing the Yale School of Medicine (1810), Yale Divinity School (1822), Yale Law School (1843), Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (1847), the Sheffield Scientific School (1847), and the Yale School of Fine Arts (1869). (The divinity school was founded by Congregationalists who felt that the Harvard Divinity School had become too liberal. This is similar to the Oxbridge rivalry in which dissident scholars left University of Oxford to form the University of Cambridge). In 1887, as the college continued to grow under the presidency of Timothy Dwight V, Yale College was renamed to Yale University. The university would later add the Yale School of Music (1894), Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (1901), Yale School of Public Health (1915), Yale School of Nursing (1923), Yale School of Drama (1955), Yale Physician Associate Program (1973), and Yale School of Management (1976). It would also reorganize its relationship with the Sheffield Scientific School.
In 1966, Yale initiated discussions with its sister school Vassar College concerning the possibility of a merger as an effective means to achieve coeducation. However, Vassar, once an all female college, declined Yale's invitation and, ultimately, both Yale and Vassar decided to remain separate and introduce coeducation independently in 1969. Amy Solomon was the first woman to register as a Yale undergraduate; she was also the first woman at Yale to join an undergraduate society, St. Anthony Hall. (Women studied at Yale University as early as 1876, but in graduate-level programs at the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.)
Yale, like other Ivy League schools, instituted policies in the early twentieth century designed artificially to increase the proportion of upper-class white Christians of notable families in the student body (see numerus clausus), and was one of the last of the Ivies to eliminate such preferences, beginning with the class of 1970.
Yale used to have a combative relationship with its home city, but since Richard Levin became president of the University, the University has financially supported many of New Haven's efforts to reinvigorate the city, believing that town and gown relationships are mutually beneficial. Incremental evidence suggests that both the city and the University have benefitted much from this agreement.
The Boston Globe wrote that "if there's one school that can lay claim to educating the nation's top national leaders over the past three decades, it's Yale." Yale alumni were represented on the Democratic or Republican ticket in every U.S. Presidential election between 1972 and 2004. Yale-educated Presidents since the end of the Vietnam War include Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and major-party nominees during this period include John Kerry (2004), Joseph Lieberman (Vice President, 2000), and Sargent Shriver (Vice President, 1972). Other Yale alumni who made serious bids for the Presidency during this period include Hillary Rodham Clinton (2008), Howard Dean (2004), Gary Hart (1984 and 1988), Paul Tsongas (1992), Pat Robertson (1988) and Jerry Brown (1976, 1980, 1992).
Several explanations have been offered for Yale’s representation in national elections since the end of the Vietnam War. Various sources note the spirit of campus activism that has existed at Yale since the 1960s, and the intellectual influence of Reverend William Sloane Coffin on many of the future candidates. Yale President Richard Levin attributes the run to Yale’s focus on creating "a laboratory for future leaders," an institutional priority that began during the tenure of Yale Presidents Alfred Whitney Griswold and Kingman Brewster. Richard H. Brodhead, former dean of Yale College and now president of Duke University, stated: "We do give very significant attention to orientation to the community in our admissions, and there is a very strong tradition of volunteerism at Yale." Yale historian Gaddis Smith notes "an ethos of organized activity" at Yale during the 20th century that led John Kerry to lead the Yale Political Union's Liberal Party, George Pataki the Conservative Party, and Joseph Lieberman to manage the Yale Daily News. Camille Paglia points to a history of networking and elitism: "It has to do with a web of friendships and affiliations built up in school." CNN suggests that George W. Bush benefited from preferential admissions policies for the "son and grandson of alumni," and for a "member of a politically influential family."  New York Times correspondent Elisabeth Bumiller and The Atlantic Monthly correspondent James Fallows credit the culture of community and cooperation that exists between students, faculty and administration, which downplays self-interest and reinforces commitment to others.
During the 1988 presidential election, George H. W. Bush (Yale '48) derided Michael Dukakis for having "foreign-policy views born in Harvard Yard's boutique;" when challenged on the distinction between Dukakis' Harvard connection and his own Yale background, he said that, unlike Harvard, Yale's reputation was "so diffuse, there isn't a symbol, I don't think, in the Yale situation, any symbolism in it" and said Yale did not share Harvard's reputation for "liberalism and elitism"  In 2004, Howard Dean stated, "In some ways, I consider myself separate from the other three (Yale) candidates of 2004. Yale changed so much between the class of '68 and the class of '71. My class was the first class to have women in it; it was the first class to have a significant effort to recruit African Americans. It was an extraordinary time, and in that span of time is the change of an entire generation."
More recently, Yale has become a center for studying grand strategy, a catch-all phrase meant to encompass military history, statesmanship, leadership, and other disciplines thought useful for future American leaders. Each year the renowned professors Charles Hill, Paul Kennedy and John Lewis Gaddis teach a year-long seminar in grand strategy to a highly selective group of graduate and undergraduate students with the aim of preparing them for wielding power in government, business and public life. Students of the seminar are encouraged to network with one another and with guest speakers and participants. Grand Strategy alumni organizations have already sprung up in Washington, D.C. and New York City.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair teaches a seminar on faith and globalization through the Divinity School and the School of Management (open to undergraduate, graduate and professional students). The Tony Blair Faith Foundation has named Yale the headquarters of its United States operations, and Yale's Faith and Globalization initiative (in partnership with Blair's foundation) will grow to become a major university-wide effort.
Former presidential candidate and DNC chair Howard Dean has applied to teach a residential college seminar entitled "Understanding Politics and Politicians."
See main article: article. The Yale Provost's Office has launched several women into prominent university presidencies. In 1977, Hanna Holborn Gray was appointed acting President of Yale from this position, and went on to become president of the University of Chicago, the first woman to be full president of a major university. In 1994, Yale Provost Judith Rodin became the first female president of an Ivy League institution at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2002, Provost Alison Richard became the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge. In 2004, Provost Susan Hockfield became the President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2007, Deputy Provost Kim Bottomly was named President of Wellesley College.
For the Class of 2013, Yale has reported receiving 25,925 applications, and anticipates an overall acceptance rate between 7.3% and 7.7%, a record low. Yale's early applications increased by 12.5% to 5,557, of which about 13% were accepted. 
For the Class of 2012, Yale accepted 1,892 students out of the 22,813 total early and regular applicants, hitting a University record-low acceptance rate at 8.3%. 
For the Class of 2011, Yale College accepted 9.6% of its applicants, with a 70.6% yield.
For the Class of 2010, the acceptance rate was 8.9%--lowest among the Ivy League--with a 71.1% yield; 728 were waitlisted, of which 56 were admitted. The interquartile range (25th percentile-75th percentile) for both the Math and Verbal sections of the SAT was 700-790.
Yale College offers need-blind admissions and need-based financial aid to all applicants, including international applicants. Yale commits to meet the full demonstrated financial need of all applicants, and more than 40% of Yale students receive financial assistance. Most financial aid is in the form of grants and scholarships that do not need to be paid back to the University, and the average scholarship for the 2006–2007 school year will be $26,900.
Half of all Yale undergraduates are women, more than 30% are minorities, and 8% are international students. 55% attended public schools and 45% attended independent, religious, or international schools. In addition, Yale College admits a small group of nontraditional students each year, through the Eli Whitney Students Program.
Yale's English and Comparative Literature departments were part of the New Criticism movement. Of the New Critics, Robert Penn Warren, W.K. Wimsatt, and Cleanth Brooks were all Yale faculty. Later, the Yale Comparative literature department became a center of American deconstruction. Jacques Derrida, the father of deconstruction, taught at the Department of Comparative Literature from the late seventies to mid-1980s. Several other Yale faculty members were also associated with deconstruction, forming the so-called "Yale School". These included Paul de Man who taught in the Departments of Comparative Literature and French, J. Hillis Miller, Geoffrey Hartman (both taught in the Departments of English and Comparative Literature), and Harold Bloom (English), whose theoretical position was always somewhat specific, and who ultimately took a very different path from the rest of this group. Yale's history department has also originated important intellectual trends. Historian C. Vann Woodward is credited for beginning in the 1960s an important stream of southern historians; likewise, David Montgomery, a labor historian, advised many of the current generation of labor historians in the country. Yale's Music School and Department fostered the growth of Music Theory in the latter half of the twentieth century. The Journal of Music Theory was founded there in 1957; Allen Forte and David Lewin were influential teachers and scholars.
Yale University Library, which holds over 12 million volumes, is the second-largest university collection in the United States. The main library, Sterling Memorial Library, contains about four million volumes, and other holdings are dispersed at subject libraries.
Rare books are found in a number of Yale collections. The Beinecke Rare Book Library has a large collection of rare books and manuscripts. The Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library includes important historical medical texts, including an impressive collection of rare books, as well as historical medical instruments. The Lewis Walpole Library contains the largest collection of 18th-century British literary works. The Elizabethan Club, technically a private organization, makes its Elizabethan folios and first editions available to qualified researchers through Yale.
Yale's museum collections are also of international stature. The Yale University Art Gallery is the country's first university-affiliated art museum. It contains more than 180,000 works, including old masters and important collections of modern art, in the Swartout and Kahn buildings. The latter, Louis Kahn's first large-scale American work (1953), was renovated and reopened in December 2006. The Yale Center for British Art, the largest collection of British art outside of the UK, grew from a gift of Paul Mellon and is housed in another Kahn-designed building.
The Peabody Museum of Natural History is New Haven's most popular museum, well-used by school children as well as containing research collections in anthropology, archaeology, and the natural environment. The Yale University Collection of Musical Instruments, affiliated with the Yale School of Music, is perhaps the least well-known of Yale's collections, because its hours of opening are restricted.
Yale is noted for its harmonious yet fanciful largely Collegiate Gothic campus as well as for several iconic modern buildings commonly discussed in architectural history survey courses: Louis Kahn's Yale Art Gallery and Center for British Art, Eero Saarinen's Ingalls Rink and Ezra Stiles and Morse Colleges, and Paul Rudolph's Art & Architecture Building. Yale also owns and has restored many noteworthy 19th-century mansions along Hillhouse Avenue, which was considered the most beautiful street in America by Charles Dickens when he visited the United States in the 1840s.
Many of Yale's buildings were constructed in the neo-Gothic architecture style from 1917 to 1931. Stone sculpture built into the walls of the buildings portray contemporary college personalities such as a writer, an athlete, a tea-drinking socialite, and a student who has fallen asleep while reading. Similarly, the decorative friezes on the buildings depict contemporary scenes such as policemen chasing a robber and arresting a prostitute (on the wall of the Law School), or a student relaxing with a mug of beer and a cigarette. The architect, James Gamble Rogers, faux-aged these buildings by splashing the walls with acid, deliberately breaking their leaded glass windows and repairing them in the style of the Middle Ages, and creating niches for decorative statuary but leaving them empty to simulate loss or theft over the ages. In fact, the buildings merely simulate Middle Ages architecture, for though they appear to be constructed of solid stone blocks in the authentic manner, most actually have steel framing as was commonly used in 1930. One exception is Harkness Tower, 216feet tall, which was originally a free-standing stone structure. It was reinforced in 1964 to allow the installation of the Yale Memorial Carillon.
Other examples of the Gothic (also called neo-Gothic and collegiate Gothic) style are on Old Campus by such architects as Henry Austin, Charles C. Haight and Russell Sturgis. Several are associated with members of the Vanderbilt family, including Vanderbilt Hall, Phelps Hall, St. Anthony Hall (a commission for member Frederick William Vanderbilt), the Mason, Sloane and Osborn laboratories, dormitories for the Sheffield Scientific School (the engineering and sciences school at Yale until 1956) and elements of Silliman College, the largest residential college.
Ironically, the oldest building on campus, Connecticut Hall (built in 1750), is in the Georgian style and appears much more modern. Georgian-style buildings erected from 1929 to 1933 include Timothy Dwight College, Pierson College, and Davenport College, except the latter's east, York Street façade, which was constructed in the Gothic style.
The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, designed by Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, is one of the largest buildings in the world reserved exclusively for the preservation of rare books and manuscripts. It is located near the center of the University in Hewitt Quadrangle, which is now more commonly referred to as "Beinecke Plaza." The library's six-story above-ground tower of book stacks is surrounded by a windowless rectangular building with walls made of translucent Vermont marble, which transmit subdued lighting to the interior and provide protection from direct light, while glowing from within after dark.
The sculptures in the sunken courtyard by Isamu Noguchi are said to represent time (the pyramid), the sun (the circle), and chance (the cube).
Alumnus Eero Saarinen, Finnish-American architect of such notable structures as the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Washington Dulles International Airport main terminal, and the CBS Building in Manhattan, designed Ingalls Rink at Yale and the newest residential colleges of Ezra Stiles and Morse. These latter were modelled after the medieval Italian hilltown of San Gimignano - a prototype chosen for the town's pedestrian-friendly milieu and fortress-like stone towers. These tower forms at Yale act in counterpoint to the college's many Gothic spires and Georgian cupolas.
Notable nonresidential campus buildings and landmarks include:
Yale's secret societies, whose buildings (some of which are called "tombs") were built both to be intensely private yet ostentatiously theatrical, display diversity and fancifulness of architectural expression, include:
"Preparing for Yale's Fourth Century." Retrieved April 10, 2007.
"The Birth of a New Institution." Retrieved April 10, 2007.
"Yale College admissions rate drops to 8.3 percent." Retrieved April 1, 2008.
"Admission rate rises." Retrieved April 9, 2007.
"Diverse class of 2010 arrives in Elm City." Retrieved April 9, 2007.
"Donor steps up to fund CCL renovations." Retrieved April 10, 2007.