Yale University is an American private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701, it is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine Colonial Colleges chartered before the American Revolution.
Chartered by Connecticut Colony, the "Collegiate School" was established by clergy in Saybrook Colony to educate Congregational ministers. It moved to New Haven in 1716 and shortly after was renamed Yale College in recognition of a gift from British East India Company governor Elihu Yale. Originally restricted to theology and sacred languages, the curriculum began to incorporate humanities and sciences by the time of the American Revolution. In the 19th century, the school introduced graduate and professional instruction, awarding the first Ph.D in the United States in 1861 and organizing as a university in 1887. Its faculty and student populations grew rapidly after 1890 with rapid expansion of the physical campus and scientific research.
Yale is organized into fourteen constituent schools: the original undergraduate college, the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and twelve professional schools. While the university is governed by the Yale Corporation, each school's faculty oversees its curriculum and degree programs. In addition to a central campus in downtown New Haven, the University owns athletic facilities in western New Haven, a campus in West Haven, Connecticut and forest and nature preserves throughout New England. The university's assets include an endowment valued at $27.2 billion as of June 2017, the second largest endowment of any U.S. educational institution. The Yale University Library, serving all constituent schools, holds more than 15 million volumes and is the third-largest academic library in the United States.
Yale College undergraduates follow a liberal arts curriculum with departmental majors and are organized into a social system of residential colleges. Almost all faculty teach undergraduate courses, more than 2,000 of which are offered annually. Students compete intercollegiately as the Yale Bulldogs in the NCAA Division I – Ivy League.
As of 2017, 60 Nobel laureates, 5 Fields Medalists and 3 Turing award winners have been affiliated with Yale University. In addition, Yale has graduated many notable alumni, including five U.S. Presidents, 19 U.S. Supreme Court Justices, 20 living billionaires and many heads of state. Hundreds of members of Congress and many U.S. diplomats, 78 MacArthur Fellows, 247 Rhodes Scholars and 119 Marshall Scholars have been affiliated with the university.
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, while meeting in New Haven. The Act was an effort to create an institution to train ministers and lay leadership for Connecticut. Soon thereafter, a group of ten Congregational ministers, Samuel Andrew, Thomas Buckingham, Israel Chauncy, Samuel Mather (brother of Increase Mather), Rev. James Noyes II (son of James Noyes), James Pierpont, Abraham Pierson, Noadiah Russell, Joseph Webb, and Timothy Woodbridge, all alumni of Harvard, met in the study of Reverend Samuel Russell in Branford, Connecticut, to pool their books to form the school's library. The group, led by James Pierpont, is now known as "The Founders".