Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, Trinity Class of 1970, is in vogue. Really! She’s in Vogue magazine this month, but even more, she’s in vogue politically — chosen by her party’s leadership (notably House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Trinity ’62) to give the Democratic response to President Bush’s State of the Union Address tomorrow, Monday, January 28. Her name is also appearing with increasing frequency as a possible candidate for a national presidential ticket this year or in the next election cycle.
Governor Sebelius is well respected as an amazing political leader, twice elected governor of Kansas — a well known Republican stronghold — even though she is a Democrat. She has been able to build bipartisan coalitions around issues of importance to the people of Kansas. Her cooperative model of governance is something our nation could certainly use!
These are heady days for Trinity Women in politics. Even as we watch Kathleen Sebelius’ rising star, we also see Nancy Pelosi addressing some of the most critical issues of our time — last week hammering out a bipartisan economic stimulus package in meetings with President Bush and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and other leaders of both parties. And still another Trinity Alumna, Maggie Williams, Class of 1977, formerly chief of staff to the First Lady, has returned to Hillary Clinton’s staff, playing a leadership role in retooling the Clinton campaign.
Whatever our individual political views, the fact that Trinity alumnae have such prominent leadership roles on the national political scene is a source of pride and inspiration for our vast Trinity family. Today’s students, in particular, look at the achievements of these women to decipher their codes of achievement — passionate commitment to the causes they have espoused, courage in speaking out for their positions no matter how controversial (and knowing how to speak in public), serious hard work in each job along the way, the ability to build and lead great teams, keen intelligence to master the details of each issue and proposal they advance, great communication skill and endless stamina, all while smiling a lot and making every constituent feel included, heard, important. Such talents are the essence of a great liberal arts education, the core of Trinity’s learning enterprise.
We don’t know what this political season will hold next week or next month, but we do know that Trinity Women have been present at the creation of this new political era for women, for African Americans, for people who need to have larger leadership roles in this nation.
Our alumnae today are blazing the trail for the rising generations — and if they were on campus at this minute, they would issue this challenge to each student: what are you doing to be ready to take up this great work in the future? How will you fare when the challenge of leadership comes your way? Who among you will stand in the shoes of the Speaker, the Governor, the presidential assistant years from now?
The hard work of our faculty and students at Trinity today is not for ourselves, but for the communities and nation our graduates will influence and even lead decades from now.
How about some comments? What do the achievements of our alumnae mean to you, our students, faculty and staff? Just click on the comments link below, or send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org I’ll include the best in an upcoming blog…