David Yaffe-Bellany

A portrait of popular Yale alumnus Roosevelt Thompson ’84 was installed in Calhoun College’s dining hall Monday morning. It was placed at the opposite end of the room from the blank wall space where a scowling painting of John C. Calhoun, class of 1804, hung until last January.

Thompson — an African-American student in Calhoun — was a freshman counselor and Rhodes Scholar who died in a tragic car accident just months before his Yale graduation. Last year, he became a popular candidate to replace Calhoun as the college namesake during a long-running naming dispute.

The installation of the new artwork — a portrait by the German artist Mirjam Brückner that depicts Thompson’s face in black and white against a backdrop of flowers and birds — marks the latest stage in the transformation of Calhoun’s dining hall. In January, Head of Calhoun Julia Adams had a portrait of Calhoun removed from the hall, as students debated the college name.

Still, although the University ultimately decided to keep the name, Adams announced over the summer that the dining hall would be renamed in Thompson’s honor.

A formal renaming ceremony will be held in the dining hall at 6:30 p.m. Thursday night.