About Berkeley

Fact Sheet

Berkeley College is one of fourteen residential colleges at Yale University,
centrally located on Cross Campus at 205 Elm Street.


Berkeley College is named in honor of the Reverend George Berkeley (1685-1753), Dean of Derry and later Bishop of Cloyne, who endowed Yale with a gift of land and books in the 18th century.  Berkeley presently occupies the site on which a group of buildings known as the Berkeley Oval stood from the 1890s until 1933, when construction of the college began with a gift of money from Edward S. Harkness.  It was completed in 1934. 

Our Coat of arms, comprising “gules, a chevron, and ten crosses, paty silver,” is the crest of the Berkeley family.  Patterned on the drawing of architect James Gamble Rogers, a stone engraving of the coat of arms now hangs over the Elm Street Gate alongside the crests of the See of Derry and the See of Cloyne.  The arms of the Harkness and Seymour families appear just inside the gate.  (This brief history is adapted from The Residential Colleges at Yale University 1967, Office of the Secretary).

Heads of College were referred to as college masters prior to 2016. They are the head and ranking officer of the college, overseeing the college’s intellectual, social, athletic, and artistic life.  The college is administered through the College office, which is staffed by an assistant director of operations, senior administrative assistant II, and student aides.  The HoC works closely with the dean, students, dining hall managers, facilities superintendent, resident fellows, and other staff to provide the best possible community for our students. Nine masters have previously served Berkeley College.  The first, Charles Seymour, was an advisor to President Woodrow Wilson at Versailles, a Professor of History, Provost, and President of Yale.  The second, Samuel Hemingway, was a Professor of English.  The third, Thomas Mendenhall, another Professor of History, left Berkeley to become the President of Smith College.  The  fourth, Charles Walker, Raymond Wean Professor of Engineering, was master from 1959 until 1969.  The fifth master, Robert Triffin, former Beinecke Professor Economics and an international authority on monetary systems, served as master from 1969 until 1977.  The sixth master, Robin W. Winks, the Randolph W. Townsend Professor of History, was a leading authority on British history, and served the college from 1977 to 1990.  The seventh master, Harry S. Stout, Jonathan Edwards Professor of American Christianity, served as master from 1990 to 2001; he is highly decorated author who also serves as the General Editor of the Works of Jonathan Edwards (Yale Press) and Co-Director of the Center for Religion and American Society at Yale.  The eight master, John Rogers, is an award-winning Milton scholar and a Professor in the English Department, and he served from 2001 to 2007.  The ninth master, Marvin Chun, the Richard M. Colgate Professor of Psychology, served from 2007 to 2016.  An award winning teacher and cognitive neuroscience researcher, he is jointly appointed in the Cognitive Science Program and the Yale School of Medicine Neuroscience Department. Starting 2016, David A.D. Evans is the tenth head of Berkeley College.  He is a Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences and is studying the continental reconstructions and the Precambrian geomagnetic field.