We’ve been welcoming more than 700 new students to Trinity in the last few days — 700+!! We are experiencing a remarkable surge in all of our student populations — several hundred women and men entering our School of Professional Studies and School of Education at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and more than 330 new students in our women’s college, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences. Hooray! Trinity College has not enrolled more than 300 new students since the late 1960′s — the renaissance of the women’s college is a remarkable story, a triumph of persistence, faith and willingness to adapt to new generations of women who can reap great benefits from Trinity’s powerful educational model.
Who are these hundreds of new women who are entering Trinity in the Blue Class of 2013 as freshwomen, or other classes as transfer students? Their application essays tell powerful tales of struggle and triumph — you can read my opening remarks that draw from their essays — just click here….
These new students have a real sense of destiny — they want to earn their degrees at Trinity so that they can change their own lives and the lives of their children, families and communities. They have big dreams — as one wrote, they want to make “not just an impression… but an impact.” They want to set the world on fire. They believe that they can achieve as much, if not more, as Trinity alumnae have done in the past.
The dreams of our new students take on even greater meaning in the context of their life stories. These students have come to Trinity from all over the world — family roots immediately in Cameroon and Nigeria and Haiti and Guatemala and El Salvador and India and southeast Asia and many other nations. They come in large numbers from the District of Columbia, espeically the eastern half of the city, and nearby counties in Maryland and Virginia. We also have students from at least 16 other states, including California and Texas and Washington State, Ohio and Massachusetts and New York. These students are multi-lingual and broadly ecumenical, expressing deep faith through a great range of religious traditions.
These young women, and some not-so-young, are self-sufficient and independent. Many are already mothers, and the experience of parenting has made them even more serious students. They have experienced many different life challenges — most are children of single mothers, many have cared for close relatives in illness or other family problems, most have already been working and trying to juggle multiple responsibilites. They are mature women in so many ways, the antithesis of the carefree, irresponsible college student of mythology (and they are definitely not “college kids” which is the term that too many media types and other commentators continue to use when speaking of students enrolling in college today — such “kids” are an increasingly small part of the collegiate landscape; Trinity students, like most college students today, bear adult responsibilities even at age 18 and 19, so please don’t call them “kids”…)
Trinity’s new students have found inspiration and motivation in the stories of other women — from the hard work and perseverance of their own mothers and grandmothers, to the more famous stories of Michelle Obama and Nancy Pelosi and Sonia Sotomayor. What I find remarkable about these young women, just like past generations of Trinity students, is that they look at famous women and, far from being daunted, they say, “I can do that!” One very moving essay concluded that the student felt she could be just like Rosa Parks, standing up for what is right. Another takes inspiration from the rise of Barack and Michelle Obama, and feels that she can do the same if she concentrates on her studies.
We’ll get to know more about these phenomenal women over the next few weeks. Meanwhile, please join me in congratulating them and extending a big welcome as they join our great sisterhood in Trinity!
PS — thanks to our Orientation Leaders, some in the photo below — also Phenomenal Trinity Women!!