Among Trinity students, we hear so many heroic stories of triumph over adversity. Trinity Women and Men often overcome daunting circumstances to enroll in our degree programs and progress on a course to change their lives. Emily P. Miller, a student in the School of Professional Studies, is such a brave and courageous story. I was so pleased to be able to share the moment with her last week when she had the honor of telling her story at the annual luncheon of the N Street Village.
Emily spoke honestly and quite movingly about her journey through addiction and homelessness that eventually led her to the steps of N Street Village, an organization devoted to empowering homeless women to reclaim their lives. This great organization has assisted quite a few Trinity Women over the years, and I am so grateful to their visionary leader Schroeder Stribling and all of the staff at N Street Village. (And, wouldn’t you know it, the chair of the board of directors of N Street Village is the son of a Trinity alumna! Board Chair Peter Shields’ mother was Emily Dooley, Class of 1945!)
I first learned about Emily Miller when she was featured in a Washington Post story last January during the presidential inauguration. Thanks to the generosity of Earl and Amanda Stafford, Emily was able to attend the 2009 People’s Inaugural Ball in style, and that experience helped to set her on the path to recovery. Through the generosity of the Staffords and wonderful assistance of the staff at N Street Village, Emily got back on her feet, became self-sufficient, and enrolled at Trinity to secure the education she knows is necessary to ensure her long-term economic and personal security.
Emily is a great role model for other Trinity students who are struggling with personal adversity. She’s living proof that with guts, determination and the help of others, even the most challenging life story can take a turn for the better. I’m so proud to know Emily, and I look forward to the day when I can hand her a Trinity Degree on the graduation stage.
Congratulations, Emily! And thanks to our friends at the N Street Village!
Follow me on Twitter @TrinityPrez
See my blog on the Huffington Post “Mixed Messages on College Access”