Seven months after the renaming of Calhoun College in honor of Grace Murray Hopper GRD ’34, the logistical transition from Calhoun to Hopper is nearly complete, with students now taking steps to forge the college’s new identity.
The Hopper coat of arms is now visible around the college and the acronym GH, for Grace Hopper, has replaced the previous symbol — CC -— in all administrative systems. According to the Yale College Dean’s Office Director of Strategic Communications Paul McKinley, all that remains to be changed are some signs and banners around campus, which will likely be adjusted in the coming weeks. And according to Head of Hopper College Julia Adams, the college will hold a “ceremonial baptism” on Sept. 5 to celebrate the name change.
“The atmosphere around the college is extraordinarily upbeat right now,” Adams said. “Many students have told me how much they are looking forward to the baptism of the college.”
The ceremony, which will begin at 4 p.m., will be followed by a reception in the college courtyard.
Calhoun College, named for vocal slavery advocate and class of 1804 graduate John C. Calhoun, was renamed in February in honor of Hopper, a pioneering computer scientist and Navy rear admiral, following campus protests and more than two decades of debate over the college’s namesake.
At the time of the renaming decision, University President Peter Salovey emphasized the importance of remembering history and stressed that Calhoun symbolism removed from the college would be preserved for viewing and study. The preservation process is underway.
Adams also underscored the importance of preventing historical erasure, particularly as new faces arrive on campus each year.
“Many first year students knew a lot about the college’s history even before they arrived,” Adams said. “Grace Hopper College also has a great set of documents on the ‘history’ part of our website, and, of course, incoming students had followed the ongoing national and international news about the name change.”
Still, for many first-year students, their only memories are of Hopper College. Besides conversations prompted by first-year counselors, new students’ Yale experiences have largely been unaffected by the renaming.
“The first years aren’t talking about it much at all on our own,” said Robert Howard ’21, a first year in Hopper. “I would assume that that’s just because we all have always known it as Hopper, and I at least sometimes forget it was ever called Calhoun.”
Though no new monikers or chants have been established yet, Lana Apple ’20 said the Hopper community hoped first years would begin to brainstorm these aspects of the college’s new identity as they settle in on campus. According to Kiran Chokshi ’20, students have been toying with ideas for monikers for the student community like Hoplites and Admirals. In emails to the college community, Dean April Ruiz has referred to her students as “Hopperonis” as per a student recommendation — though no collective noun has stuck yet to replace “’Hounies.”
Anna-Sophia Boguraev ’20 said students are now more willing to associate with the college, adding that she’s grateful that conversations among students have progressed from debate over how to refer to the college to discussions about a new mascot. Apple also expressed her excitement about the new college gear and said she had noticed first-year students wearing Hopper T-shirts around campus. New Hopper students were also given a backpack with the Hopper crest, said Deyri Garcia ’20.
Rachel Dow ’20 said that before the name change she felt uncomfortable identifying with “the college that’s formerly known as Calhoun” and was unsure what to call it. However, since the change, Dow said she has noticed an increase in college pride.
Grace Murray Hopper received both a master’s degree and a doctorate from Yale.
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