For 20 years, Yale was part of the British East India Company, and he became governor of a settlement at Madras (present-day city of Chennai) in 1687. He was suspended from the post, however, in 1692 after arguments with his council and his superiors.
Yale amassed a fortune in his lifetime, and he was generous with the proceeds.
In 1718, Cotton Mather contacted Yale and asked for his help. He represented a small institution of learning. It was founded as the Collegiate School of Connecticut in 1701, and it needed money for a new building in New Haven. Yale sent Mather a carton of goods that the school sold, earning them 560 pounds, which was a substantial sum in the early 1700s. In gratitude, officials named the new building Yale; eventually the entire institution became Yale College.
Alexandra Robbins, in her article for Atlantic Monthly about Skull and Bones, alleges that the gravestone of Elihu Yale was stolen years ago from its proper setting in Wrexham, and is displayed in a glass case, in a room with purple walls, which belongs to a building called the Tombs of the Skull and Bones at Yale University.