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Trumbull College


Trumbull College

Trumbull College
Residential college at Yale University
Shield of Trumbull College
University Yale University
Location 241 Elm Street
New Haven, Connecticut 06511
Nickname Trumbullians; bulls
Motto Fortuna Favet Audaci
Motto in English Fortune favors the brave.
We must consult Brother Jonathan.
Established 1933
Named for Jonathan Trumbull
Colors Maroon, gold, black, and white
Sister college Cabot House
Master Dr. Margaret S. Clark
Dean Dr. Jasmina Beširević-Regan
Undergraduates 390 (2013-2014)
Mascot A Bull
Website /

Trumbull College is one of twelve undergraduate Harvard College graduate, Trumbull was the only colonial governor to support the American Revolution.

Opened in September 1933, Trumbull College is one of the eight Yale colleges designed by James Gamble Rogers and the only one funded by John W. Sterling. Its Collegiate Gothic buildings form the Sterling Quadrangle, which Rogers planned to harmonize with his adjacent Sterling Memorial Library.


  • History 1
  • Student life 2
  • News 3
  • College traditions 4
  • Past Traditions 5
  • Masters and Deans 6
  • Notable alumni 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


Main courtyard of Trumbull, with Sterling Library at back
Trumbull College by night, as seen from Harkness Tower. The College spans the entire block shown, with Sterling Memorial Library forming the far side. The courtyards, from left to right, are Potty Court, Main Court, and Stone Court.

One of the University's nine original colleges, Trumbull was originally two free-standing dormitory buildings flanking the old gymnasium. When University President James Rowland Angell instituted the residential college system in 1931, the gym was torn down and the dormitories connected with a new building in the Collegiate Gothic style, forming the Sterling Quadrangle named for university benefactor John W. Sterling. The quadrangle contains the Trumbull dining hall, common room, and library, and a new dorm wing was constructed parallel to the originals. A Master's House was also constructed in the southeast corner of the quadrangle, and its north side is bounded by the Sterling Memorial Library. Of the nine colleges completed by 1935, Trumbull was the only one not funded and endowed by Edward Harkness.

Stone Courtyard, Trumbull College

James Gamble Rogers, architect of eight of Yale's colleges, considered the dormitories that would later be incorporated into Trumbull his magnum opus and inscribed the initials of the men who worked on the project on shield carvings along the outside of the buildings. The buildings of Trumbull are modeled after King's College, Cambridge. Three separate courtyards — Alvarez (Main) Court, Potty Court, and Stone Court — grace Trumbull's interior.

The university chose its first college masters to reflect a diverse range of disciplines. President Angell, a psychologist, was especially keen to have a scientist among them. He recruited Stanhope Bayne-Jones, a Yale College graduate and Dean of University of Rochester Medical School, to come to Yale as Trumbull's first master.[1]

Because Trumbull was pieced together using existing buildings, and on a small area of land, its student rooms were older and its amenities were less generous than those of some of its sister colleges. Still, the first group of students and faculty to occupy the college put the space to some creative uses. For example, Clements Fry, pioneering psychiatrist in the Department of University Health, opened an office providing therapy and counseling to Yale students in a fourth-floor room off Stone Court.[2][3]

During World War II, Yale turned much of its campus over to the military for training. By 1943 Trumbull was one of only three colleges that continued to house undergraduates (Timothy Dwight and Jonathan Edwards were the others).[4]

In the first two decades of Yale's residential college system, students would apply for entry to their choice of college at the end of their freshman year. Although the university sought to give each college a diverse population, the colleges acquired reputations. Freshmen from wealthy families with social connections tended to shun Trumbull.[5] As one chronicler of the university's history noted, "Calhoun and Davenport were strongly athletic and ‘white shoe,’ only engineers (it was whispered) congregated in Silliman and Timothy Dwight, and no one knew who lived in Trumbull."[6] Put more charitably, Trumbull maintained a reputation for housing serious students, many of whom were on scholarships. Some called Trumbull "the bursar's college." To overcome these social differences, the university began assigning most students to colleges randomly — beginning in 1954 at the end of the student's freshman year, and beginning in 1962 upon admission to Yale.

In 1968, Yale President Kingman Brewster announced a plan for admitting women to Yale and proposed that Trumbull be turned into housing for freshmen women.[7] Brewster held a "stormy" meeting with Trumbull students, who would have been forced to vacate their college.[8] In response to the protest, Brewster changed his plan and reserved one of the Old Campus dormitories for women. The Trumbull College Council passed a motion "vigorously endorsing with rampant enthusiasm" the revised proposal.[9]

Helen Brown Nicholas, wife of former master John Spangler Nicholas, died in 1972[10] and left the college a bequest to fund building of a chapel. Yale architecture professor Herbert Newman and his students designed the chapel, modifying an existing squash court in the Trumbull basement. It was dedicated in 1974.[11] Frequently used as a theater, "Nick" Chapel remains in high demand by Yale students of all colleges.

The college was extensively remodeled during the 2005–2006 academic year, thanks in part to donations from the Alvarez family.[12] All dorm rooms and bathrooms were renovated, and the dining hall kitchen and the activity areas in the basement received comprehensive upgrades and modernization.

Student life

Bingham Hall, Trumbull's freshman residence, from the Old Campus courtyard

Trumbull freshmen are housed in Bingham Hall along with students from Calhoun College. The dormitory's location on the southern corner of the Old Campus is site of the College House, Yale's first building in New Haven, and Osborn Hall, demolished in 1926 for Bingham Hall's construction. It is the only freshman dormitory with elevator access and contains a comparative literature library on its eighth story.

Trumbull College itself includes three courtyards, a buttery, dance studio, student kitchen, TV room, theatre, seminar room, art gallery, art studio, pottery studio, gym, music room, common room, computer rooms, library, dining hall, billiards and ping pong areas as well as a Master's House where many social activities are held.

Trumbull is the smallest of Yale's residential colleges, both in terms of students affiliated with the college and students housed in the college.[13]


Renovations near completion in August 2006, as seen from Sterling Memorial Library.
  • Trumbull freshmen won the 2008 Freshman Olympics for the first time in Trumbull history.
  • Trumbull finished 1st place in Yale College Intramurals in the 2012-2013 season winning the Tyng Cup despite being the smallest of Yale's 12 residential colleges. In the prior 2010-2011 year and in the subsequent 2013-2014 year Trumbull finished in second place. (Trumbullians intend to finish in first place again in the 2014-2015 year.)
  • Trumbull's team of chefs took 3rd place in the 2013-2014 Final Cut cooking contest.
  • Trumbull has two Trumpets: Harold, a golden retriever who can be found soaking up attention in Trumbull's courtyard and Annabelle a very old cat who appears only for those students who prefer cats to dogs.
  • Master Margaret S. Clark was appointed Master for a five year term beginning on July 1, 2013. In the coming 2014-2015 year she will host a sailing trip out of Mystic, Ct., dessert receptions, a sushi reception, a trip to the NYC ballet, a boat trip on the Connecticut River, and many study breaks.
  • Dean B of Trumbull College is known for taking lots of photographs of Trumbull's students, cheering loudly for Trumbullians at athletic events, attending lots of social events with Trumbullians and having two terrific daughters and a terrific husband. They all live in the college. Dean B also hosts study breaks and tracks everyone's academic progress.

College traditions

The Trumbull College Potty Court statue painted as Peter Salovey.
  • Cornhole has become increasingly popular among Trumbull seniors. The game involves throwing a series of four bean-bags across to the other team's board, scoring 1 point for each that remains on the board, 3 points if it falls through a hole in the middle. After both teams have gone, the difference between their points is taken, and that difference is awarded to the winning team. Trumbull's cornhole games appear during its Fall Rumble in Trumble festival as well as in the spring during its Pamplona event.
  • The Trumbulletin is Trumbull's tabloid magazine and the oldest residential college publication at Yale, although it has been waning as of late, with nary an issue in more than two and a half years.
  • Rumble in Trumbull: Trumbullians combat with massive foam gloves. Favorite past Rumbles include Jews vs. Gentiles and various competitions among suites. Good things to eat and many games appear during Rumble in Trumbull.
  • Pamplona: Trumbullians celebrate the end of spring classes with food, music, competitions, and the Running of the Bulls.
  • Running of the Bulls is a raucous run through Cross Campus and Trumbull's traditional rival college, neighboring Berkeley. It usually occurs on the day of Pamplona.
  • Trumbull seniors annually paint the Potty Court Statue prior to graduation. The class of 2008 painted the statue to look like then-Yale-College-Dean (now Yale President) Peter Salovey. The class of 2014 painted it to look like Harold, the Trumdog.

Past Traditions

Potty Court of Trumbull College, Yale University
  • Potty Court Frisbee was a game popular in the 1970s and 1980s played in the Potty Court by two teams of two players each. The general idea was to stand on the low stone wall next to the wrought iron arch at one end of the courtyard and throw a frisbee through the twin arch at the other end, while the other team's two players tried to stop it. Defenders could stand on and lean out from the low stone wall, and could hang from the arch, but could not touch the walkway under the arch. The throws alternated between the teams.

A throw that went through the arch above the level of the stone wall scored one point. A throw that went through one of the two narrow gaps at the top of the arch's ironwork was a "grundl" and scored two points. To discourage defenders from committing to defense of the arch before the opponent threw, the thrower could also score a point for a shot that hit the wrought iron fencing next to the arch, but a "fence shot" had to hit the fence on the fly or off a wall, while a shot through the arch was allowed to bounce off the ground. The first team to get seven points won. Other than the frisbee, no equipment was required, although some players wore leather gloves to protect their hands from the wrought iron.[15]

  • The Beer and Bicycle Race was a team biathlon event from the 1950s and '60s, briefly revived in the '70s. The first race, in 1952, staged by the Trumbull Beer and Bike Society, was an over 70-mile relay from Trumbull to Vassar College. Riders had to consume a quart of beer before passing the baton to the next member of their team (although some sources suggest the beer had to be consumed before riding). Prizes were awarded for fastest times and best rider costumes. The annual April event became the center of press attention, partying, and celebration, and grew to the point that authorities at Vassar banned it in 1957.[16][17][18] It continued for a while with a new destination, Connecticut College.[19] In 1964, Trumbull ran it on a 45-mile course through nearby towns, ending back at the Yale Bowl.[20] It seems to have faded away after that, although Trumbull re-staged it for a few years in the 1970s as a double round-trip race between Trumbull and Sleeping Giant State Park.

Masters and Deans

# Master Term Dean Term
1 Stanhope Bayne-Jones 1932–1938 Russell Inslee Clark, Jr. 1963–1965
2 Charles Hyde Warren 1938–1945 Edwin Storer Redkey 1965–1968
3 John Spangler Nicholas 1945–1963 Paul Terry Magee 1968–1971
4 George deForest Lord 1963–1966 W. Scott Long 1971–1974
5 Ronald Myles Dworkin 1966–1969 C. M. Long (acting) 1974–1975
6 Kai Theodor Erikson 1969–1973 W. Scott Long 1975–1978
7 Robert John Fogelin 1973–1976 Robert A. Jaeger 1978–1982
8 Robert A. Jaeger (acting) 1976–1977 Mary Ramsbottom 1982–1986
9 Michael George Cooke 1977–1982 Peter B. MacKeith 1986–1990
10 Frank William Kenneth Firk 1982–1987 William Di Canzio 1990–1998
11 Harry B. Adams 1987–1997 Peter Novak 1998–2001
12 Janet B. Henrich 1997–2002 Laura King 2001–2004
13 Frederick J. Streets (acting) 2002–2003 Jasmina Beširević-Regan 2004–present
14 Janet B. Henrich 2003–2013
15 Margaret S. Clark 2013–

Notable alumni

Note: Records of the residential colleges of which graduates of Yale College were members are incomplete and not readily available.


  1. ^ Gerald N. Burrow (2002). A History of Yale’s School of Medicine: Passing Torches to Others. p. 138. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  2. ^ "General Histories of Medicine Oral Histories: Stanhope Bayne-Jones". pp. 351–52, 358. Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  3. ^ "Clements Collard Fry". Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  4. ^ Jonathan Horn (21 February 2001). "Yale: An arsenal of democracy in World War II". Yale Daily News. Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  5. ^ "Eli Colleges Outclass Houses as Social Centers". Harvard Crimson. 25 November 1950. Retrieved 30 June 2014. 
  6. ^ Brooks Mather Kelley. Yale: A History. p. 448. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  7. ^ "Brewster Offers Coeducation Plan". Yale Daily News. 15 November 1968. Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  8. ^ "Yale Will Admit Women in 1969; May Have Coeducational Housing". Harvard Crimson. 15 November 1968. Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  9. ^ "College Councils Support Modified Coeducation Plan". Yale Daily News. 19 November 1968. Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  10. ^ "Helen Benton Brown Nicholas". Find A Grave. Retrieved 6 July 2014. 
  11. ^ Mead Treadwell (23 September 1974). "Trumbull dedicates chapel; Squash court arises anew". Yale Daily News. Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  12. ^ "Trumbull College Rededication Celebrated". Retrieved 11 November 2014. 
  13. ^ Yale University Facebook (Log-in required) Archived 13 February 2011 at WebCite
  14. ^ "Trumbull College History".
  15. ^ Alan Beller (7 May 1970). "Bull and Frisbee at Yale". Yale Daily News. p. 4. Retrieved 6 July 2014. 
  16. ^ Carrie Hojniki (Spring–Summer 2012). "First One to the Finish Line Gets a Date!". Vassar Alumnae/i Quarterly. Retrieved 6 July 2014. 
  17. ^ "Yale Cycling". Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  18. ^ "Ivy Style. Bicycle Week: The Yale-Vassar Bicycle Race". Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  19. ^ "Class News: Trumbull Beer and Bike Races 1961 - 1963". Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  20. ^ John Rothchild (4 May 1964). "Trumbull Cyclists Chug, Pedal... Chug, Pedal... Chug". Yale Daily News. p. 1. Retrieved 6 July 2014. 

External links

  • Trumbull College Website
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