Pierson College, the College that dares to be all that it can be!
|Named For||Abraham Pierson|
|College Master||Harvey Goldblatt|
|College Dean||Amerigo Fabbri|
|Location||261 Park Street|
Pierson College (PC) is a residential college founded in 1933 at Yale University. The College takes its name from Abraham Pierson (1646-1707), one of the founders of the Collegiate School, which later became Yale University -- a statue of Abraham Pierson stands on Yale's Old Campus. Yale University constructed the Pierson College buildings in 1933 with major elements being in the Georgian architecture or "Georgian Revival" style, and including a prominent tower, inspired by that of Philadelphia's Independence Hall. James Gamble Rogers, Yale Class of 1889, was the architect responsible for the original design of Pierson College. Yale renovated the College in 2003-2004, with the major effort directed at the modification of existing suites and rooms, the movement of the Dean's Office and the addition of a new building and basement facilities. Pierson shares the new basement facilities with neighbor and unofficial rival residential college, Davenport College. The College includes a large grass courtyard, and is located between Park and York Streets in New Haven, CT. The courtyard is home to the kinetic sculpture, "Two Planes Vertical—Horizontal II" by George Rickey.
Pierson has been traditionally renowned for its thriving social life and once had the reputation of consistently trailing other Yale residential colleges in academic rankings. In fact, Pierson's rallying cry was at one time, "Tyng, Tang, and GPA," reflecting Pierson's reputation for winning Yale intramural sports (Tyng), an annual drinking competition among the residential colleges (Tang), and having the lowest average GPA of all the residential colleges. In 2004, however, Pierson was awarded the Gimble Cup for highest average GPA at Yale. In light of new Connecticut alcohol laws, Dean Fabbri has been forced to crack down upon events such as Tuesday Night Club (TNC), founded in 1981, restricting the event to Pierson seniors. However, in 2006, Pierson students were able to organize a successful Inferno, the traditional Pierson Halloween party. TNC was traditionally held in the "Lower Courtyard" of Pierson, which in the past was sometimes referred to colloquially as "the Slave Quarters," an appellation now frowned upon. Lower Courtyard housing is generally occupied by seniors. Another famous Pierson tradition occurs on Pierson Day when Master Harvey Goldblatt wrestles another College Master, student or other willing opponent in a wrestling ring filled with yellow jello. (The Jello used in the first match was red, and the first Master to Jello wrestle was Ivo Banac). Pierson achieved world renown in 1977, as a result of the still-famous television broadcast of its Bladderball 'victory'. Pierson's most storied tradition is the theft of Davenport College's gnome mascot. Pierson's famous "song," heard annually at "the Game" between the Yale and Harvard football teams, starts off with: "'P' is for the 'P' in Pierson College; 'I' is for the 'I' in Pierson College," and continues in predictable fashion.
Among the traditions and activities for which Pierson is known is the Pierson Press, one of the most active of Yale's many traditional letterpress print shops. It was founded over half a century ago and nurtured by a succession of Pierson Masters including John Hersey, Quincy Porter, Gaddis Smith and current Master Harvey Goldblatt. The Press for many years was located in a converted squash court in Pierson Tower, designed by Charles Willard Moore of the Yale School of Architecture. During the renovation of the college in 2004, the Pierson Press was relocated to enhanced facilities in the basement, where it is now co-located with the Davenport Press in a greatly expanded Book Arts Center that includes half a dozen presses, over 1000 cases of hand type, a book bindery, paper mill and more. Over 75 Pierson and Davenport students attended the college's rigorous Apprentice Course during the Fall of 2005. The basement of Pierson is also home for the Pierson Buttery. In the Spring of 2007, Pierson won the annual Freshmen Olympics, held on Old Campus. The Class of 2010 beat the eleven other residential colleges in Pierson's first ever Freshman Olympics victory.
Pierson's Fellowship, consisting of both faculty members and distinguished outside Associate Fellows, is one of the most active at Yale. The Fellows meet twice monthly during the academic year, generously support undergraduate activities in the college (including social events such as the annual Pierson Inferno at Halloween), and have counted among their number a diverse and dignified range of members, from poet Robert Frost to actor George Takei (Sulu of Star Trek fame) to G. D. Mostow the mathematician of Mostow rigidity theorem fame and Calvin Hill, NFL Rookie of the Year and multiple Pro Bowl selectee.
Pierson was home to one of the longest serving Yale residential college deans, Dean Christa Dove '76MPhil. Within the Residential College system at Yale, deanships normally last only a few years. Christa Dove, however, was Dean of Pierson College for 22 years, from 1983 to 2005.
Pierson Freshmen are housed in Lanman-Wright Hall on Old Campus, along with freshmen from Saybrook College. Wright Hall represents the first half of the old Yale freshman saying: "Wright bites, Durfee sucks!" Wright Hall was renamed Lanman-Wright Hall after William K. Lanman '28, donated renovation funds in 1993 and is now referred to by Piersonites as "L-Dub."
The renovation of 2003-04 was extensive, including: the reconfiguration of student suites, student activities areas, and dining facilities; new bathrooms, new interior finishes and lighting; additional student rooms included in a new Upper Court building; complete replacement of all mechanical and electrical systems; new security, fire protection, and information technology systems; new elevators, ramps, and other enhancements to accessibility; and repairs to windows, masonry, roofs, and gutters.. The renovation also included enlarging the library and adding a mezzanine level computer cluster. The completion of the additional building, increased Pierson College's dorm space capacity from 264 to 310.. During the renovation, students who would otherwise live in Pierson College, lived in what is called "Swing Space," dormitories located near Payne Whitney Gymnasium that resemble a cheap hotel and that do not include a dining hall.
|Residential Colleges of Yale University|