Silliman College
Silliman College is a residential college at Yale University. It opened in September 1940 as the last of the original ten residential colleges, and includes buildings that were constructed as early as 1901. It is the largest college in terms of area, consisting of a full city block in New Haven, Connecticut, bordered by College, Wall, Grove and Temple Streets. The older, Indiana limestone part of the college consists of the Vanderbilt-Sheffield dormitories and Byers Hall, both originally part of the Sheffield Scientific School. The Van-Sheff portion of Silliman was built between 1903 and 1906 by architect Charles C. Haight in the Collegiate Gothic style. Byers Hall was built in 1903 and was designed by Hiss and Weekes architects in the modified French Renaissance Style. The newer, Georgian brick portion of the college, which includes most of the core facilities and the Master's house, was completed in 1940 when the college was opened. Architect Eggers & Higgins designed this part of the college. Due to Silliman's size, the college is able to house its freshmen in the college instead of on Yale's Old Campus, allowing first year students to immediately become immersed in the vibrant student life in Silliman. The College has links to Harvard's Pforzheimer House and Dudley House, as well as Trinity College, Cambridge and Brasenose College, Oxford. Its rival college at Yale is Timothy Dwight College, located directly across Temple Street.

Silliman College Shield and Mascot
Silliman College's shield has a white background, three curving red lines emerging from near the bottom of the shield (representing salamander tails), and a green crossing bar containing three acorns. In heraldic terms, the shield is described as "Arms: Argent, three piles wavy gules, on a fess vert three acorns or." The colors represent the four ancient elements: red for fire, white for air and water, and green for earth. The acorns are an element taken from the family arms of Frederick Vanderbilt, 1876, who funded the college's construction. The college's mascot is the salamander. Students in the college refer to themselves as Sillimanders. Silliman also owns a salamander costume suit known as "Sally" made by Michael Mackenzie SM '03 that is worn to intramurals and Yale-wide events.

Physical Facilities
The college courtyard, which covers almost an entire city block, is the largest enclosed courtyard at Yale and is one of the glories of the old college. Students can be seen playing various sports or lounging in the sun. Because of the size of the courtyard, sports such as stickball, wiffle ball, football, and frisbee are often enjoyed. Special facilities within Silliman include Yale's only undergraduate art gallery, called Maya's Room (named for Maya Tanaka Hanway, '83), a big-screen movie theater (Silliflicks), a dance studio, a half-court basketball facility called the Sillidome, computing facilities, a student kitchen, multiple music practice rooms, and a state-of-the-art sound recording studio. The college's library, located in the third floor of Byers Hall, is commonly referred to as the Sillibrary. The Buttery, a student-run eatery in the basement that serves greasy goodness on weekday nights, is designed in the style of the 50's and its surrounding area includes games such as ping pong, air hockey, and pool. The Silliman Cupola (Formerly 1810, known as I-43 post-renovation) gained notoriety in the early 1980s as the site of the John Lennon Memorial Phoenix Triplex, a three-story meeting place for the Yale Mutants (a group of Yale eccentrics, bohemians, artists, anarchists, libertarians, and free-thinkers). It was spot-lit externally in emerald green, and featured a powerful internal strobe light which could be seen across the Yale campus. The Cupola today is still accessible to Mutant alumni during Reunions via a series of secret passwords and entry techniques. Mutants were often connected to the New Haven underground music scene and/or WYBC, Yale's radio station. One Mutant resident from the late '80's is said to have designed the Yale building that terminates the other end of Hillhouse Avenue.

In August 2007, after three years of on and off construction, students moved back into a newly renovated Silliman College. Students now enjoy a reconfigured dining hall and servery, a stadium-seating movie theater, and a large student activities space that includes a new art gallery, dance studio, gym, basketball court, weight room, buttery, game room, and television entertainment space. The Silliman College courtyard was also restored to its former glory, with new patio spaces, benches, and grass. The renovation cost some $100 million, by far the most spent on any residential college renovation at Yale. Because of the size of Silliman College, the renovation work on the college was completed in several phases instead of the 15-month renovation completed on other colleges:
  • In the summer of 2004, the roof and windows were replaced on the brick section of the college. Extra dormers were also added to the roofs so that student rooms could later be installed in the former attic spaces.
  • In the summer of 2005, the Silliman Tower underwent a complete interior renovation.
  • The entire college was shut down during the 2006-2007 school year for the rest of the renovation. All students from the college moved into either Swing Space (a new dormitory built especially to house students during college renovations), the Elm Street Annex or into independent off-campus housing until the renovations were completed.

Activities and Traditions

Intramural Sports
In 2006, Silliman College ended Ezra Stiles College's 3-year Tyng Cup winning streak and was crowned Tyng Cup Champions for having the best intramural record of Yale's 12 residential colleges during the 2005-2006 academic year. Silliman beat Ezra Stiles by slightly over 100 points (1186.5 to 1082.5). This championship marked Silliman's sixth Tyng Cup win and the first since 1972. Silliman was also Tyng Cup Champion in 1941, 1943, 1968, 1969. Silliman has won the cup twice more for a three year streak, edging out Timothy Dwight by over 200 points in 2007, and Ezra Stiles by about 100 points in 2008. Silliman's Recent Intramural Secretaries: Michael Mackenzie '03, Kira Goldman '04, Alejandro Bribriesco '04, Conor O'Toole '04, Matthew Lynch '06, Miguel Agrait '06, Zachary Turnbull '07, Brett Andrews '08, Angel Enriquez '08, Katrina Preston '08, Sarah Keesecker '09, Matthew Bressler '09, Kelly Livingston '09, Tsegazeab Bekele '10, Adam Allouche '10 Alexandra Andrews '11, Quyen Slotznick '11, Dong Won Lee '12, Josh Howard '12 McKaye Neumeister '12 Alexander Allouche '13

Other Activities and Traditions
Each fall, Silliman hosts a Yale-wide 80s theme party called the Safety Dance, the largest dance at Yale. For its own students, Silliman has an annual Freshman Olympics where students from its various entryways compete in teams for the "Clean Sweep" broom and Richfest (named in honor of Rich Marshall, a member of the Silliman class of 1996), an outdoor day of fun complete with a dunk tank, cotton candy, and a moon bounce, thrown as classes end in the spring. A short-lived winter edition of Richfest, called Rachfest (after Rachel Wasser '04), featured an inflatable jumping castle in the snow. During Halloween week, Silliman hosts Yale's largest haunted house in the Silliman basement featuring student actors. This event, started by Mo Nasr '04 and which is free to the student body, has drawn hundreds of students each year, with lines stretching well into the Silliman courtyard. Silliman also hosts several other Halloween week events including a "Halloweenie Roast," pumpkin carving competitions, and a costume contest hosted by the Master. Silliman also celebrates the Kentucky Derby with an annual Derby Party that features traditional dishes such as burgoo, derby pie, and bourbon candy. Throughout the year, the Silliman Activities Committee hosts many other events including very popular Karaoke Nights at Naples Pizza, the Silliman Screw, and trips to NYC, the movies, and to ski resorts. Each winter, on the night of the first snowfall, Silliman and its rival college, Timothy Dwight, fight each other in a massive snowball fight that takes place in the courtyards of the two colleges. The Silliringers, a group of students using hand bells donated by a former master, perform each year at the college's Christmas Party. The college has its own newspaper, College and Wall, named for two streets that border it. In 2007, Silliman College was renovated. A room formerly in the Master's House, N21, became the room of five juniors. With a large, two level common room, two doubles, and a single, N21 became known as the Hotel Lobby for its (largely imagined) debauchery at night and rigorous debate during the day. Silliman hosted many creative events organized by the Yale Mutants in the 1970s and 80s, culminating in the Festival of Life in 1982.

Silliman Fame
Silliman gained fame when the popular movie Mona Lisa Smile featuring Julia Roberts, Julia Stiles and Kirsten Dunst, was partly filmed in the Silliman College courtyard and common room. The Temple Street facade of Silliman was used to represent Harvard University, and the Wall Street Gate and the common room were used to represent Wellesley College. Many Silliman students were used as extras in the film and those who were not gathered in the courtyard to watch the filming. When Indiana Jones 4 was filming in New Haven (summer 2007), Dean Hugh Flick and several other Silliman students were cast as extras. A car/motorcycle scene was also filmed along the College Street side of the college, even while it was still under renovations.

Famous alumni
  • George Roy Hill, 1943, movie director
  • Renée Richards, 1954, transgendered tennis player
  • James Jeffords, 1956, Independent U.S. senator from Vermont
  • Strobe Talbott, 1968, Brookings Institution president, former Time correspondent
  • Daniel Yergin, 1968, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and energy consultant
  • Stone Phillips, 1977, newscaster
  • Evan Wolfson, 1978, activist
  • David Hyde Pierce, 1981, actor, best known for playing the role of Niles Crane on "Fraiser"
  • Anthony A. Williams, 1982, the fifth mayor of the District of Columbia from 1999 to 2007
  • Elizabeth Kostova, 1988, author
  • Nerissa Nields, 1989, of the band The Nields
  • Ben Greenman, 1990, author

Building Activity

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