Is there anything more magnificent than the War Memorial outside Commons or the names of those who fell in combat inside the entrance to Woolsey? It’s a grim reminder of a different kind of Yalie. How long until political correctness requires that the names of the Confederate soldiers get chiseled off the walls?
– Terry Jackson
If you want a different view that not many have seen, climb to the top of the back side of Calhoun (or whatever it is called these days) that looks out on Beineke, the library and Berkeley College. Eddie Wright (r.i.p.) and I shared what was then an L shaped double on the 6th floor, and we had access to the tower on the roof. From there you can actually see the miniature castle on the top of the library.
– Terry Jackson
From the day in 1969 that Claes Oldenburg’s Lipstick (Ascending) on Caterpillar Tracks first appeared in Beinecke Plaza it was magnificently outrageous. With its bright-red plastic inflatable tip that has since been replaced by a rigid metal one, it was both confrontational and sexy, both feminine and phallic. Like a lightning rod, the Lipstick drew angry crowds protesting culture wars and armed conflicts. Protest leaders couldn’t help but jump upon its tank treads to bark revolution through megaphones. Yet … it made one smile during those demonstrations. It’s now in a quieter venue, the Morse courtyard, retired from battle, but also unable to temper the crowd’s passion with its irony.
– Ben Slotznick
The most impactful place for me was Beinecke Plaza facing the Freshman Commons, as I approached the Commons Building itself. Every day when I walked across that plaza, with Beinecke Library on the left and the massive Commons building in front of me, I would read the names of those seven battlefields engraved in stone across the building facade. That huge monument to the Great War that didn’t end all wars after all, and to the lives of all those Yale men whose names were engraved on the walls inside. I had read most of those names many times, thought about their sacrifice as I thought about the lives being wasted in Vietnam as I walked along, and memorized those battlefield names as a determined tribute to the soldiers on both sides and a lasting recognition of the ignorance of governments.
– Carl Eifler