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  • Voices of Trinity: Remarkable Achievements!

    August 30, 2015

    As we start the new academic year, I am pleased to feature stories of the achievements of students on this blog.  Below is a marvelous story about Raissa Audrey Tseumie ’17 that I hope will inspire other students.  Later this wee I will feature another student.  Please send me your achievements via email at including a few paragraphs and photos.  I will post them periodically.

    Raissa Audrey Tseumie:  Summer Research Internship at Children’s Medical Center

    Raissa’s story, in her own words, with photos:

    raissa 1

    My name is Raissa Audrey Tseumie, sophomore and student athlete. This summer I was very fortunate to completed my first research internship at the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation (Children Medical Center). 

    Since I was young I always dream of becoming a Doctor one day. Four months ago Ms.Margaret Dunning, [Trinity alumna ’76 and a Trinity Trustee] one of my mentors from the Economic Club introduced me to Dr.Kurt Newman [president and CEO of Children’s National Medical Center]. Beside giving me advice for my undergrad and medical school, Dr.Newman encouraged me to apply for the 2015 Student Innovation Program at the Sheikh Zayed Institute.

    raissa 5

    There were 22 Students Innovators this year. Although I was very nervous at the beginning of the program, my hard work and determination give me a Honorable Mention by end of the program. During our Poster Session I won the 4th place for “Best Overall Solution.” I was very happy to represented Trinity at that level. I also make connection with students from Princeton, GW, Georgetown and Khalifa University (In Abu Dhabi). 

    raissa 2

    In addition to my side project, I was able to shadow: Dr Sandler (Surgeon in chief and principal investigator In the Immunology Initiative), Dr.Ogunlesi (Pulmonologist) and my mentor Dr.Finkel (anesthesiologist and chief for pain medecine). I also Obeserved two circumcisions surgery and Dr.Peter’s robotic surgery with the Da Vinci Robot. 

    raissa 4

    Congratulations, Raissa!  Read Raissa’s research project: Tseumie Katamine abstract

    Raissa mentions Ms. Margaret Dunning, above.  What a fabulous example of the “old girls’ network” of Trinity Women helping other Trinity Women move up the ladder!


    Margaret is a member of the Class of 1976, and is the managing partner of Widmeyer Communications in Washington where she has provided outstanding advice and PR consultation to a wide range of businesses — including her alma mater, Trinity!  Margaret has recently agreed to join Trinity’s Board of Trustees where she can continue her leadership for Trinity and our students very directly.  She is also on the board of the Economic Club of Washington — Raissa mentioned meeting Ms. Dunning through the Economic Club, but did not mention that she also has the high honor of being a recipient of one of the Rubenstein Scholarships of the Economic Club, a program funded by the great Washington philanthropist David Rubenstein.  Thank you, Margaret, for being a great champion of Raissa and all Trinity students!!

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    Welcome, Gold Class of 2019!

    August 17, 2015

    Gold is the color of the moment!  We are so pleased to welcome the Gold Class of 2019 to Trinity!

    45 years ago — could it really have been so long ago? — I waved goodbye to my parents and started the long climb up the stairs to the 4th Floor of Main Hall to unpack my bags for the first night I had ever spent away from home.  I can remember every moment of that first day — meeting young women who became lifelong friends, hearing the great President Sr. Margaret Claydon welcome this new Green Class, and venturing to the dining all where the food was pretty basic (compared to the selections today!) but the adventure was just beginning.

    So much change, and yet, so much remains the same as we welcome the Class of 2019 to Trinity.  As I watched the families arrive on Saturday to unload cars packed with possessions destined for Cuvilly Hall, I noticed some of the differences (big screen televisions? really??) but mostly reveled in the timeless nature of the transition to college life.  With great diversity of age and experience among new students across all programs at Trinity, we sometimes forget the significance of this transition moment in the lives of our youngest students in the College of Arts and Sciences.  Yet, in the goodbye hugs and caravan of now-nearly-empty cars winding back up to Michigan Avenue, we know a great life passage is already occurring, that a new life is emerging with more independence and yet new rules in a new community of women learning to live and learn together.  The moment is timeless despite the appearance of so much change across the years.

    Orientations for new students started last week and continue this week at Trinity for our many different programs, and in the days ahead I will be learning more about our new students and sharing their stories and photos on this blog.  I invite new students in all of our programs, undergraduate and graduate, to share your stories with me and send along a photo, and I will publish as many as I can right here.  Send me a few paragraphs and photos on email to

    And for returning students: please share with me some of your stories of summer adventures, advancements at work or other projects of note, and photos, and I will be delighted to share those on this blog as well.

    Welcome to all new students, and welcome back to all!


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    70 Years After Hiroshima

    August 6, 2015


    (photo credit)

    August 6, 1945 — the effective end of World War II in the Pacific, the beginning of the long cold era of international nuclear threats even amid the horrific suffering of the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  The United States is the only nation in human history ever to use a nuclear weapon.  The weapon ended a long and terrible war, thus leading many people to justify its use even today.  But the “A-bomb” also inflicted such awesome death and destruction on the Japanese people that subsequent generations of Americans, including successive presidents from both parties, have felt the urgent need to exert leadership to ensure that no nation ever again uses nuclear force.

    Sadly, American amnesia was on display today throughout the media — while some of the major news outlets ran what seemed like obligatory stories on the 70th Anniversary moment, most media gave headlines and far more attention to the second-string presidential debate circus or the end of a popular television comedy show.

    Hundreds of thousands of Japanese perished in an instant in Hiroshima that day, and days later in Nagasaki.  Millions of lives in all nations around the world were lost in World War II.  Whether the United States acted morally, whether we saved more lives by taking this terrible step, whether there was another solution — where is our ethical sensibility nearly three-quarters of a century later at least to pause, reflect, have a real debate about means and ends, war and peace — a real debate, and not some synthetic confection whipped up to amuse viewers like the fictional people in the Capitol watching the Hunger Games?

    50 years ago, President John F. Kennedy — a World War II veteran, a war hero, still a young man holding out great promise for the future of the world — spoke at American University about the imperative of forging a peaceful relationship with the Soviet Union.  Fresh from the Cuban Missile Crisis, during which nuclear annhiliation was a genuine threat for both the U.S. and Soviets (in 1963, we American school children practiced air raid drills by hiding under our desks, little good that would have done…), President Kennedy was intent on establishing the framework for international peace and security.  He laid the foundation for the nuclear test-ban treaty and detente with the Soviets.  His speech — as most of his speeches — is brilliant, a complete lesson in rhetoric and persuasion, the beauty of well-chosen words and linguistic effectiveness.  His speech is even better on film, hearing his voice and seeing his passion in the delivery.  In that speech he said:

    “What kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace – – the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living — the kind that enables man and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children – – not merely peace for Americans by peace for all men and women – – not merely peace in our time but peace for all time.”  (President John F. Kennedy at American University, June 10, 1963, Address on Nuclear Detente with the Soviet Union)

    It’s not about the U.S. — US! — chest-thumping and sabre-rattling.  It’s about making the world a better place for all people across all generations to come.  How little we hear of that today in the political rhetoric of our time.

    Yesterday, President Barack Obama also spoke at American University on the topic of nuclear arms and peace for all times.  He deliberately chose the place to echo Kennedy’s ideals and legacy.  But the threat of nuclear weapons remains all too real in today’s world, more worrisome because of the emergence of rogue states and terrorist organizations that respect no treaties or moral structures.  The nation of Iran has posed a grave threat to world peace by harboring terrorists and building its nuclear capacity.  The Obama Administration has spent years trying to find a way to move Iran back from the brink of disaster, to bring Iran into the modern world in a way that fosters peace and security.  President Obama has brokered an agreement with Iran to diminish its nuclear capacity and to restore its economic engagement in trade relations.  But many opponents find the “deal” unacceptable because they are not convinced we can trust Iran, and particularly in Congress where it seems everyone is running for president, the mood continues the preference for confrontation and war that started after 9/11 and continues in some places today.

    President Obama responded to the critics in his speech:

    “We live in a complicated world — a world in which the forces unleashed by human innovation are creating opportunities for our children that were unimaginable for most of human history.  It is also a world of persistent threats, a world in which mass violence and cruelty is all too common, and human innovation risks the destruction of all that we hold dear.  In this world, the United States of America remains the most powerful nation on Earth, and I believe that we will remain such for decades to come.  But we are one nation among many.  

    “And what separates us from the empires of old, what has made us exceptional, is not the mere fact of our military might.  Since World War II, the deadliest war in human history, we have used our power to try to bind nations together in a system of international law.  We have led an evolution of those human institutions President Kennedy spoke about — to prevent the spread of deadly weapons, to uphold peace and security, and promote human progress.  

    “We now have the opportunity to build on that progress.  We built a coalition and held it together through sanctions and negotiations, and now we have before us a solution that prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, without resorting to war.  As Americans, we should be proud of this achievement.  And as members of Congress reflect on their pending decision, I urge them to set aside political concerns, shut out the noise, consider the stakes involved with the vote that you will cast.  

    “If Congress kills this deal, we will lose more than just constraints on Iran’s nuclear program, or the sanctions we have painstakingly built.  We will have lost something more precious: America’s credibility as a leader of diplomacy; America’s credibility as the anchor of the international system. 

    “John F. Kennedy cautioned here, more than 50 years ago, at this university, that “the pursuit of peace is not as dramatic as the pursuit of war.”  But it’s so very important.  It is surely the pursuit of peace that is most needed in this world so full of strife.”  (President Barack Obama, August 5, 2015 at American University) (watch the speech)

    We must insist on working for peace.  Forging pathways to disarmament, using all diplomatic means to create sound opportunities for peace — these are the characteristics of the genuine moral leadership we need so urgently.  Sadly, in spite of thousands of years of proof that war only wreaks havoc on human life and progress, we still have to sit through debates about guns (the domestic version of keeping the stockpile stoked) and war.  True leaders take the risk to do something about waging peace.  We need to expect every leader to be that kind of risk-taker.

    On this 70th Anniversary of Hiroshima, I would like to extend Trinity’s greetings and good wishes around the globe to our sister schools in Japan — Notre Dame Seishin University in Okayama, and Notre Dame High School in Hiroshima.  As I write I can hardly believe it’s been 20 years since I had the honor of visiting those remarkable schools.  The Sisters of Notre Dame started their ministry in Japan in 1924, and the schools thrive to this day.  I was particularly moved when I visited the school in Hiroshima — the scars of August 1945 are still visible, and yet, what a magnificent place, what a great gift of hospitality and welcome I received from the SNDs and teachers there.


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    The List: Huxtable Hoax Edition

    July 28, 2015

    “I met a traveller from an antique land
    Who said: `Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
    Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
    And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
    The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
    And on the pedestal these words appear —
    “My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
    Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
    The lone and level sands stretch far away.'”

    Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ozymandias


    (photo credit)

    Ozymandias, meet Bill Cosby.  That shattered visage strewn across the barren landscape is the once-mighty Cliff Huxtable, the very soul of perfect fatherhood, clean living, commanding presence at the center of an adoring family.  The fictional television character is now exposed as a fraud, a hoax on the American imagination, a shattered monument to something far more than ego or hubris, the detritus exposing the stink of a far deeper level of corruption, the evil abuse of power and fame.

    Bill Cosby spent his entire career hiding behind that pristine image of the virtuous man, the upright pillar of a beautiful family, the prophet speaking through humor and gentle aphorisms.  There’s nothing virtuous or upright about a man who, by his own admission in depositions, drugs trusting young women for the purpose of his own sexual gratification.  There’s nothing humorous or gentle in the stories that have emerged in the courageous voices of dozens of women who were allegedly abused, debased and humiliated by the monstrous lie behind the Huxtable Hoax.

    The public indictment of Cosby is complete on the cover of this week’s New York magazine.  35 courageous women and the empty chair signifying untold numbers beyond them.

    nymag coverThe stories of these women are so horrifying I could not stop reading them, and yet, I wanted nothing more than to turn away to something less painful.  But I had to keep reading them because they are the necessary testimony exposing the years of lies and false hopes that were carefully constructed laughing masks hiding the ugly predator whose serial use of quaaludes and other drugs is so shocking it can’t possibly be true — except that even he admitted to the behavior.

    I’ve written about The List before, that rather shockingly long list of powerful public men who seem to think that power and fame are license to behave in the most shameful of ways.  Some fairly well-regarded men are on The List, and some like Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, David Letterman and Arnold Scharzenneger even have managed to move beyond scandal to reclaim their power and fame.  Others (Tiger Woods, are you listening?) have been unable to climb out of the depths of the pits into which they fell.

    Cosby is different.  Cosby now makes the sins of those on “The List” seem quite venial, if they be sins at all.  Infidelity is one thing, possibly criminal behavior something else.  Even if he’s never subject to a criminal indictment, which time and evidence may render moot, Cosby’s admitted as well as alleged actions are horrific — even if only woman woman was involved, drugging someone for sex would be outrageous, but in his own depositions he admitted more than one.  The accusers fill a magazine cover, and still there may be more.

    We should know better than to believe fictional characters, of course.  We always knew that the Huxtables were just television fantasy, just like viewers of an earlier age always knew — or should have known — that behind the fiction of “Ozzie and Harriett” there was real dysfunction, pain, cheating, disappointment — as in any family.  We know better than to believe what we see on TV — but we believe anyway, living our own fantasy lives through the characters on the screen.

    Entertainers are no more role models than baseball players, and yet the effect of popular culture always elevates those who are famous, modestly talented or powerful into that icon we revere and want to emulate.  So it was for several generations of Cosby fans, those who found in Bill Cosby and his fictional family something that was good, wise, funny and worth emulating.

    Every single alleged incident of drugging, sexual abuse and possible rape is appalling if true.  Beyond the individual instances of abuse, the collective impact of Bill Cosby’s shameful behaviors is a widespread sense of betrayal, disappointment and cynicism.  Sadly, the whole ugly mess also adds tinder to those raging fires of racism and hatred that burn just below the surface of some segments of American society.  When public figures go bad, the consequences for everyone are profound.

    (Note that Spelman College did the right thing by terminating the endowed chair named for Bill Cosby and returning the funds.)

    Unfortunately, the “decay of the collossal wreck” is not on some empty desert, but in the heart of this very crowded society, haunted once again by the awful sense of betrayal by someone we trusted too much.

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    Adirondack Chronicles 2015.7: Cherish The Wild Things

    July 18, 2015


    Enjoy this final reflection on Adirondack Wild Things!  More reflections on the environmental encyclical Laudato Si in the days to come…

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    Patricia A. McGuire, President, Trinity, 125 Michigan Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20017
    Phone: 202.884.9050   Email:



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