Trinity President Patricia McGuire received the distinguished 2012 Henry Paley Award on January 31 from NAICU – the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. Herb Tillery, executive director of the College Success Foundation–District of Columbia, gave the introductory remarks in tribute of President McGuire.
Good afternoon. I am Herb Tillery, Executive Director of the College Success Foundation – District of Columbia. I have the extraordinary honor of introducing an education leader who I believe is unparalleled in her field.
I met President McGuire five years ago when the College Success Foundation, which is headquartered in Washington State, was in the process of replicating their scholarship program here in the nation’s capital. As we were preparing to launch our foundation here in D.C., we met with many key players in the education arena, looking for university leaders with whom to partner, as well as from whom to seek guidance and advice. And everywhere we went, everyone said, “You need to speak with President Patricia McGuire.” Only minutes into our first meeting, it was very obvious why. It became clear to us, what had already been clear to many, that Pat McGuire is one of the most brilliant minds in this city! She is a thought leader in the areas of education, poverty, social justice, economics and many other fields. It should come as no surprise, then, that we asked her to serve on our Board of Directors.
Under her leadership, Trinity Washington University has been transformed and revitalized. Once on the verge of closing, she and her leadership team have breathed new life into this historic institution. She has become an innovator in serving low-income, first-generation students and has helped many other educational leaders rethink and refine their approach to this most vital part of our college-going community. She recognized, long before many others, that we are operating under a national imperative to college educate and graduate an increasing number of students – with low-income, first-generation and minority students comprising a significant portion of the population of students who must be successful in higher education if our nation is to thrive. As a result, Trinity serves more low-income youth than any other private institution in our nation’s capital.
Pat McGuire has been a tireless advocate for education policy that, at its core, serves the needs of students first, and ultimately, our larger society. She is committed to advancing the conversation on higher education and educating our government leaders, educational leaders and the greater community about best practices in serving students and preparing them for success. I firmly believe that if those who hold public office had Pat McGuire’s knowledge and understanding of the educational challenges and solutions, then we would have more enlightened legislation regarding education and less of the backwards moving or lack of progress that has encumbered us for so many years.
To say that Pat McGuire is an industry expert is an understatement. Her leadership in higher education has left our nation richer for the lives that have been changed and the dreams that have been realized as a result of her work. Pat McGuire’s life has been a Master Class in leadership, in social justice, in education, in living a life that reflects Mahatma Gandhi’s famous quote, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
Beyond her work as an educator, President McGuire has also served as a mentor and advisor for countless students. And now, to speak briefly on behalf of those students is a College Success Foundation D.C. Achievers Scholarship recipient and Trinity student, I am proud to present to you, Miss Tommesha Scott.