Entry. Access to Silliman is from its main gate at 505 College Street, or through side entrances on Grove, Temple and Wall streets. When entering from College, you will pass through two massive metal gates, continue into the courtyard and walk down a set of stairs. At the bottom you will turn immediately left and follow the pathway until you arrive at two glass doors. Pass through these doors and then another set of doors, continuing straight until you reach staircase. Go up one flight, turn right, and you will see a second room with a skylight. Go around the skylight and enter Silliman’s dining hall.
Built primarily in the Georgian style, Silliman also features some design characteristics from other traditions. Its large courtyard is landscaped with plants similar to those that early British settlers brought to America, and visitors are always fascinated by the many unique gargoyles that hang from its exterior walls and gutters. The Silliman dining hall is spacious and airy, with high ceilings and tall, arched windows; the room also houses a Steinway concert grand piano reserved for use in recitals.
History and Traditions. Silliman College takes its name from Yale professor and scientist Benjamin Silliman and, in 1940, was the last of Yale’s original 10 residential colleges to open. One of Silliman’s best-known traditions is the enthusiastic snowball fight with rival Timothy Dwight College that it holds each year on the night of the first snowfall. It sponsors an annual Kentucky Derby party, Karaoke nights at a local pizzeria and a series of events over Halloween week, including an elaborate haunted house in the Silliman basement.
“We ate here.” Past Silliman alumni include former Time correspondent and Brookings Institution president Strobe Talbott; actor David Pierce (who played Niles Crane in the TV comedy “Fraiser;”) and the energy expert and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Daniel Yergin.