Traditions & History
Yale has grown and evolved for 300-plus years, passing many milestones and forging traditions along the way.
The university traces its roots to the 1640s, when colonial clergymen led an effort to establish a local college in the tradition of European liberal education. In 1701 the Connecticut legislature adopted a charter “to erect a Collegiate School.” The school officially became Yale College in 1718, when it was renamed in honor of Welsh merchant Elihu Yale, who had donated the proceeds from the sale of nine bales of goods together with 417 books and a portrait of King George I.
Take a stroll through Yale’s three centuries of history, and learn about the traditions that have become part of the fabric of our university.