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Trinity Magazine 2007 | Trustee: Peggy Hoffman O’Brien ’69

Trustee Profile: Peggy Hoffman O’Brien ’69, Chair

Peggy O'Brien '69

Peggy O'Brien '69

Hometown: Melrose, Massachusetts.

Personal: Married to Michael Tolaydo; two grown kids, 34 and 30.

Alma Mater: Trinity College, Class of 1969.

Major: English.

Graduate Study: M.A., The Catholic University of America, 1971; Ph.D., The American University, 1994.

Employment: Senior Vice President, Educational Programming and Services, Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Why I chose Trinity: Are you kidding?  I applied to a lot of colleges.  Somebody in the admissions office at Trinity chose me, and my life has never been the same since.

Accomplishment of which you are most proud: John and Beth O’Brien – of course!  And a professional life that mostly has involved working hard to help people connect to the power of their own brains.  I don’t know if that is an accomplishment exactly.  More like a privilege.

Most memorable Trinity moment: Hasn’t happened yet.  This is because I have the incredible luck to be a part of Trinity past (loved, loved it) and Trinity future (also love, love it).  It’s a real honor to share an alma mater with today’s Trinity graduates and those into the future. This place was founded at the turn of the last century to educate the daughters of immigrants.  Today we are true to that profound SND mission, and oh, our graduates are really something.

Last book read: On Beauty, by Zadie Smith.

My idea of a perfect vacation: Pine trees, canoe, fine gin, my family, all-stars from the class of ’69.

If I were stranded on a deserted island I would have to have: Shakespeare’s Complete Works and People magazine.

The three people I would most like to have dinner with: Can I have four? Eleanor Roosevelt, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, Barack Obama and Gilligan (Kansas Governor Kathleen Gilligan Sebelius ’70).

Why I am a Trinity trustee: Well, I started coming to campus regularly almost ten years ago when I began my stint on the Alumnae Association Board.  By the time Pat McGuire asked me to serve as a trustee, I was completely hooked on how wonderful these students are, and on what very important, compelling work Trinity was doing – against pretty daunting financial odds.  How could I refuse?  Back ten years ago is when I started giving seriously and regularly to Trinity, too.  I give more than I can afford because Trinity continues to do more than it can afford – to the great benefit of some terrific young women.

My two cents: A big surprise that comes with a seat on the Board of Trustees is learning about the trends and demographics of women’s giving.  The surprise is that we women aren’t great givers. Across all colleges and universities, women give a small fraction of what men do; in the case of married couples, the giving priority is almost always the institution attended by the husband. Maybe it’s because we women are disconnected from the reality of today’s university costs.  In 1971, the annual cost for campus security was $88,000.  Today it’s more than $1 million per year.  And that’s just one item of many.

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