Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States. Originally chartered as the "Collegiate School", the institution traces its roots to 17th-century clergymen who sought to establish a college to train clergy and political leaders for the colony. In 1718, the College was renamed "Yale College" to honor a gift from Elihu Yale, a governor of the British East India Company. In 1861, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences became the first U.S. institution to award the Ph.D. Yale became a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900. Yale College was transformed, beginning in the 1930s, through the establishment of residential colleges: 12 now exist and two more are planned.
Yale employs over 1,100 faculty to teach and advise about 5,300 undergraduate and 6,100 graduate and professional students. Almost all tenured professors teach undergraduate courses, more than 2,000 of which are offered annually. The University's assets include an endowment valued at $20.80 billion as of 2013, the second-largest of any academic institution in the world. Yale's system of more than two dozen libraries holds 12.5 million volumes. 51 Nobel Laureates have been affiliated with the University as students, faculty, and staff. Yale has nurtured many notable alumni, including five U.S. Presidents, 19 U.S. Supreme Court Justices, and several foreign heads of state. Yale Law School is the most selective law school in the country.
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