Entry. The main access to Calhoun is on the corner of Elm and College Streets. Pass through the large, locked gate with its fluted arch, then walk 10 feet into the courtyard and turn left. You will go through a large wooden door into Calhoun’s common room. On its left wall is the entrance to the dining hall, where columned arches repeat the design of the main gate archway.
History and Traditions. Calhoun College stands on land that evolved from farmland to the site of a post-Revolutionary War inn, to Yale’s original Divinity School, and finally, in 1932, to one of Yale’s first residential Colleges. It is named after John Calhoun, the 1804 Yale, Phi Beta Kappa alumnus from South Carolina who served in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives and also as the nation’s seventh vice president.
Calhoun has a 2-story suite known as “Bookworld” that is near a patio “Hounies” refer to as “The Castle,” which overlooks the Calhoun courtyard. The college’s traditions include Trolley Night, a dance party that recalls the noisy trolley line that ran down Elm Street past Calhoun until 1949; an annual outdoor Hounfest celebration of staff contributions to Calhoun life, and the “Fireball”, a special evening that evokes the Calhoun intramurals chant “The Houn! The Houn! The Houn is on fire!”
In July 2016, the Dining Hall was named in honor of Roosevelt Thompson ’84 to recognize his “contributions to Yale, the College, to his home town of Little Rock and to the broader community”. Thompson, who had been named a Rhodes Scholar, was killed in a traffic accident during his senior year.
“We ate here.” Among Calhoun’s best-known alumni are former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton; Harvard professor, literary critic and public intellectual Henry Louis Gates, Jr.; actress, director and producer Jodie Foster; and the Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman.