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The south building of Berkeley College on Cross Campus

Berkeley College is a residential college at Yale Universitymarker, constructed in 1934. The eighth of Yale's 12 residential colleges, it was named in honor of Reverend George Berkeley (1685-1753), dean of Derrymarker and later bishop of Cloynemarker, in recognition of the assistance in land and books that he gave to Yalemarker in the 18th century. The college was renovated in 1998.

College life

Berkeley freshmen are currently 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 and Alice G. Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt Hall is home to the Vanderbilt Suite and includes Anderson Cooper, great-grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt II, among its alumni, though 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:

  • Bishop Berkeley Bagel and Beverage Bar: A place where students gather to watch movies, engage in fellowship, and eat greasy food. The Bagel Bar was founded in the late 1980s by Richard Y.C. Lee (B.A. 1991), who later died in the attack on the World Trade Center.
  • South Court Basement: In addition to the Bagel Bar, the South Court basement contains a pool table, a foosball table, and a free NBA Jam video arcade machine. Berkeley students can be found studying and socializing here every night of the week.
  • The Thomas Mendenhall Game Room: A recreational room equipped with a ping pong table.
  • The Swiss Room: A private dining room in the dining hall. Transplanted piece by piece from Switzerlandmarker, this 16th-century wooden room has been decorated with stained glass by G. Owen Bonawit.
  • The Berkeley Press: A complete, operational letterpress printshop, with a large powered platen press and precision Vandercook flatbed cylinder press, the Berekely Press occupies two rooms on the lower level. Students use it to produce their own books, broadsides, holiday cards and ephemera, and a regular Apprentice Course introduces 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: A sheltered 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. It stands steps away from the Beinecke Librarymarker, 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 Librarymarker, 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's Bash, which was founded in the spring of 2002 by Ben Reiter and Charles Finch - under the guidance of the Master's Office. Its unofficial rivals are Trumbull and Calhoun Colleges. One 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 2009 on the night before The Game.

Dining hall

According to the Wall Street Journal [102091], Berkeley has the best college dining hall in the country. It was until 2006 the testing ground for an experimental organic food and sustainable produce dining plan overseen by celebrity chef Alice Waters. 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.

Notable alumni



External links

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