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  • Again. Orlando.

    June 12, 2016

    I was in the middle of writing a much different blog, happier, a flowing reflection on the wonderful time the Trinity community enjoyed at last week’s dedication of the Payden Academic Center.  That blog will come later this week.  Today, the news from Orlando demands setting aside business-as-usual to stop and reflect, once more in sorrow and rage, on the violence that tortures this nation without relief.

    mass shootings from vox 6 12 2016(Map from

    Tragically, had to update its running story about mass shootings this morning when the news flashed across our screens that yet another mass shooting occurred in this country — the bloodiest and most devastating yet.  50 people thus far dead at a nightclub in Orlando, more than 50 in a hospital.  The nightclub was a hot spot for the LGBT community in Orlando, and news reports speculate on the possible anti-gay motivation of the shooter.  Sadly and predictably, some politicians are already trying to blame the Muslim community for this latest horror since the shooter apparently expressed some sympathy for ISIS.  The same politicians make no note of their own anti-gay political stances or the fact that many religious oppose gay lifestyle.

    The most urgent issue, ignored by the politically expedient rhetoric about terrorism, is the plain fact that Americans keep killing themselves in shocking numbers, and the killings most often occur with readily-available guns.  The Vox story tells us that there have been 998 mass shootings since we pledged to end the madness after Sandy Hook, with more than 1100 dead and more than 3900 wounded.

    Public officials have a large responsibility to keep the people they serve safe.  They are doing a miserable job of this.  People no longer feel safe in movie theaters, sporting events, workplaces and classrooms.  The same politicians who do nothing about stanching the tsunami of guns in this country think nothing of imposing heavy regulatory burdens on those of us who run institutions to keep people safe — they won’t stop the guns but they will impose all kinds of sanctions on institutions where shootings occur.

    We are in an incomprehensible rabbit hole of doubletalk when it comes to priorities for this nation.  The Second Amendment was never intended as an excuse to allow every citizen to arm themselves to the teeth with AR-15 machine guns and other military-grade weapons.  The right to life must surely include a reasonable balance between the freedom of a relatively sane person to own a hunting rifle versus the tragic consequences of twisted minds whose access to guns allows them to live out their sick fantasies.

    We pray once again for the victims of violence.  But I join those who are tired of just praying and wringing our hands.  Let’s take action.  In this election year, we voters must move the issue of gun violence higher up on the agenda — let’s insist that the politicos stop tweeting about nothing, and start laying out their plans to ensure the safety and security of all people in their homes and communities.

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    Welcome home, Alumnae!

    June 3, 2016

    seniors clappingWelcome home, Alumnae!  We are especially pleased to welcome back to Trinity the classes ending in “1” and “6”, and particularly the great Golden Jubilee Class of 1966!  Congratulations on your grand achievements across 50 years!

    hoverboard 66’66 broke a lot of new ground when they took the campus by storm in the early 1960’s.  Who knew that even before we ever heard of Marty McFly the intrepid ’66 group had their very own version of a hoverboard (above)?  Well, ok, maybe a skateboard — but was that allowed anywhere near the Marble Corridor?  Hmmm….

    roadsterAnd how about packing into the Chevy (?) and tooling around campus with the top down IN A SNOWSTORM?  Where was Sr. Columba when this frolicking was underway??

    hojoOk, so even the SNDs were frolicking…. that’s our late beloved Sr. Helen James John, SND, Philosopher extraordinaire apparently playing a mean game of jacks — all of this in the 1966 Trinilogue!!

    Claydon on Education for Peace 1965On far more serious notes, Sr. Margaret Claydon gave a powerful speech in 1965 to the National Catholic Education Association in which she perfectly captured the ideals of Trinity and the spirit of the age in the 1960’s.  We’re delighted that Sr. Margaret will be on campus during Reunion weekend to be with our alumnae and also to witness the dedication of the new Payden Academic Center.

    4 20 2016 (Large)

    At 11 am on Saturday, June 4, we will gather on the front plaza of the new building to celebrate, bless and thank all of the amazing donors who made this great new learning center possible, and particularly Joan Payden ’53 whose generous gift launched the campaign.  Joan will be with us on Saturday and I know that all alumnae join me in extending deepest thanks to her for ensuring a vibrant future for Trinity.

    More to come…. welcome to all alumnae!!

    student 2


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    Conversations Across the Disciplines

    May 30, 2016

    NEW WITH SCIENCE IN BACKGROUND (Large)(New academic center, dedication this week on June 4, old Science Building beyond)

    When Trinity’s first Science Building was dedicated in 1942, the keynote speech by Dr. Hugh S. Taylor, a Princeton Chemist, cited the anguish of an age when the world was at war, the second world war in a generation.  The hopeful promise of scientific progress, rampant at the end of the 19th Century, had given way to fear, despair and pessimism about humanity’s future.

    “Side by side with man’s progressive triumph of nature in theoretical and applied science is his tragic inability to order his own life…”  Dr. Taylor went on to argue that while colleges and universities must teach science, balance with all disciplines is essential.  “It is by integration of the scientific with the humanistic, literary, social and spiritual aspects of life, rather than by suppression of the one, that the unity of Truth shall be harmoniously achieved.  Science must be taught; it must be well taught.  But we must also teach that science alone cannot provide a moral dynamic.”

    He went on, citing the dramatic changes affecting the world economy and culture as a result of scientific developments during the war, everything from the development of synthetic fabrics replacing cotton and silk to changes in the food supply and discovery of healthier ways of eating in a time of scarcity.  He decried government officials who lacked scientific and technical knowledge and lambasted “inquisitions from Government sources” questioning scientific methods.

    “Can we afford, as so often in the past, to divorce government from science, social relations from the changes in life and in living that automatically flow from invention and discovery?  If we are not to retreat, when the dark clouds of today are dissipated, to the war-breeding temporizing of the past two decades, must not some way be found to integrate all the points of view, fuse all the disciplines toward a better world for tomorrow?”

    Citing Trinity’s motto Scientia Ancilla Fidei, he went on to say, “Science understanding faith will not alone be sufficient.  The humanities and the social sciences must reach some measure of integration with science.”

    Dr. Taylor’s speech in 1942 occurred three years before the end of World War II, a peace achieved through the terrible destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Speaking at Hiroshima last week — the first American president to visit that city in the 71 years since the atom bomb destroyed it — President Barack Obama offered these thoughts that echoed the reflections of 1942:

    “The world war that reached its brutal end in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was fought among the wealthiest and most powerful of nations. Their civilizations had given the world great cities and magnificent art. Their thinkers had advanced ideas of justice and harmony and truth. And yet the war grew out of the same base instinct for domination or conquest that had caused conflicts among the simplest tribes, an old pattern amplified by new capabilities and without new constraints….we are most starkly reminded of humanity’s core contradiction. How the very spark that marks us as a species, our thoughts, our imagination, our language, our toolmaking, our ability to set ourselves apart from nature and bend it to our will — those very things also give us the capacity for unmatched destruction.”  (President Barack Obama speaking at Nagasaki, May 26, 2016)

    Educating students for the moral and ethical challenges of society in each age has long been a hallmark of Trinity’s curriculum.  Whether a student majors in Biology or Business, Psychology or Politics, every Trinity graduate has also experienced a learning environment that places concepts of honor and integrity, social justice and peace at the center of the academic enterprise.  Cross-disciplinary conversation is essential for the formation of future professional and civic leaders who have not only the specific deep knowledge of the major but also the perspectives that come from broad study in the liberal arts with a clear ethical framework.

    Trinity’s new academic center — to be named the Payden Academic Center at this week’s dedication in honor of the great benefactor Joan Payden ’53 and her family — is a beautiful building that also reflects Trinity’s belief in the integration of knowledge across disciplines.  Certainly Dr. Taylor would be pleased to note that the new building integrates all disciplines, with science and nursing laboratories sharing space with classrooms and study areas for all students and faculty.

    student 2

    The integrated nature of the classrooms and laboratories in this new building ensures that the dialogues of learning across all disciplines will occur continuously.  Ethicists and Economists will teach across and down the halls from experiments in Microbiology and Chemistry, and research into genome mapping or pollution in Ivy City will occur alongside classes examining Business principles and Sociological evidence.  Nursing students will learn how to respond to patient emergencies in state-of-the-art simulation laboratories while Psychology and English classes occur nearby.  Students and faculty in all disciplines will encounter each other in new ways, enlarging the essential conversations about the ways in which education at Trinity prepares students for effective participation and leadership in the multidisciplinary world of work and politics and civic engagement for the future.

    More to come about the new academic center.  Please join us on Friday, June 3 from 1:30 to 5:00 pm for academic programming in the new building, and then on Saturday, June 4 starting at 10 am for the dedication.

    4 20 2016 (Large)

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    Congratulations, Red Class of 2016!

    May 21, 2016

    Rain is pouring down on Commencement Day for the Red Class of 2016, so perhaps it is fitting to recall the day 116 years ago when the very first students arrived on Trinity’s campus, the young women who went on to become the very first Red Class, the Class of 1904:

    ss11132009p01phb.img_assist_custom-500x150(Trinity College Red Class of 1904, the First Graduates!)

    “And this is how Trinity first opened its doors to its students.  It was Saturday noon, November 3, 1900, when amidst a depressing downpour of rain four students and one Sister wended their muddy way from the car track to the front door… Once safely inside, our welcome was warm….and we began, under its beneficent influence, to feel our zeal for learning and our responsibility as pioneers grow and increase within us.”  (Elsie Parsons, Class of 1904, in the Trinity College Record, as quoted by Sister Columba Mullaly in Trinity College: The First Eighty Years)

    south hall original cutout(Above, South Hall, the only building that existed at Trinity on November 3, 1900 when the first Red Class arrived on campus — and even that part of the building was incomplete!  Photo from Trinity Archives)

    Generations of Trinity graduates — Red classes, Gold, Green and Blue — have experienced similar moments of trepidation and triumph across the years.  And each graduation day is a moment of considerable triumph, the celebration of fulfillment of once-daunting requirements for degrees, and the true commencement of the next stage of the lives of Trinity graduates.

    IMG_20160519_172055676Fast forward to the Red Class of 2016:  these are Trinity students who have accomplished much in their student days here, and now are going to take on the world that will be so much better for their influence and leadership.  Congratulations, Class of 2016!  Some of the highlights of this class include:

    • Sandra Reyes, Biochemistry major, will enter the Ph.D. program in Biochemistry at Howard University
    • Anna Roland, Luce Scholar, Rotterman Scholar, Phi Beta Kappa, will take a master’s in Physiology in preparation for later doctoral work
    • Naya Eady, Biology major, will be at Virginia Tech in the Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program
    • Duyania Cephas, Biology, will be in a summer program at the National Institutes of Health
    • Patrice Dixon, Biochemistry, will participate in the MCAT immersion program at Quinnipiac University
    • Sana Sumbals, Sociology, will be in the MSW program at George Mason University
    • Diamond Green, Nursing, will be a nurse at Innova Hospital in the med/surg unit
    • Michele Lee, Nursing, will be a Community Health Nurse at Christ House
    • Martece Yates, Nursing, accepted into the highly competitive New Nurse Residency Program at Georgetown Hospital
    • Aviya Maverick, Nursing, will be working at Children’s National Medical Center

    Another graduate, Genette Comfort who is earning her M.B.A. today, received her Trinity B.A. in 1993 while she was a working mom.  She came back to school when she found that doors were increasingly difficult to open on her career path into management.  With her M.B.A. she has now secured a position as a Vice President at NeighborWorks America.

    Congratulations to these and so many other students!

    I will be adding to this achievement list all week, so if you have an announcement about graduate school or a new career position, please send it along and I will add you to the list!


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    The List that Trumps All Others!!

    May 15, 2016

    THE LIST is back!  The LIST THAT KEEPS ON LIVING, the blog that keeps on writing itself.  But now, this may be the LIST that TRUMPS all others!  Why?  Read on…

    I’ve been writing about the LIST since at least 2010.  This is a periodic roundup of men who just think they are so special that the normal rules of respectful conduct involving women do not seem to apply to them.  This is bi-partisan, non-partisan, totally about observing what goes on in the public eye.  What goes on outside of the public eye must be even worse, if this is what we see.

    My last blog about this was The List: Huxtable Hoax Edition concerning the dozens of women accusing Bill Cosby of sexual harassment.  That blog featured a cover story in New York Magazine with the first person stories of the accusers.  Cosby is now disgraced and trials are ensuing about some of the allegations where the statutes of limitations have not run.

    Today, the New York Times has published a story with interviews of many women who have been the objects (and I use the word deliberately) of Donald Trump’s attention, sometimes welcome, sometimes unwanted.  The story is scandalous.  A person with any kind of moral conscience, any remaining shred of decency, would at least slink away for a while.  But not The Donald.  Heck, this is a person who, allegedly, pretended he was his own publicist to call reporters to brag about his sexual conquests.  Geez.

    Ok, so nobody’s surprised about a story detailing Trump’s misogynist behavior toward women.  Duh, right?  That seems to be the official position of Reince Priebus, head of the Republican National Committee, who said on Fox News today that “people just don’t care” about Trump’s disgraceful treatment of women.

    Hello, Reince?  Last I looked in the mirror I was a people, too, and I do care.  I know a lot of people who actually do care.  Many of them are women, yes.  But quite a few are also men.

    PEOPLE DO CARE, REINCE!  This callous, dismissive attitude toward the shameful behavior of the presumptive Republican nominee for president is evidence of the utterly amoral pit into which some politicians and their handlers have fallen.

    Was/Is Trump’s behavior toward women worse than others on THE LIST?  Relative badness is not the point.  The man is likely to become president of the United States. (OK, cue the Bill Clinton & Monica, Jennifer, Paula, etc. rebuttal.  Point taken. Bill is definitely featured on THE LIST.  But using the Bill Clinton scandal to explain away Trump’s ugly behavior seems a bit self-defeating.  But let’s stay with the current story and not the old news…)

    THE PEOPLE (that’s us!) have a right and obligation to question whether his track record on women will become his policy inclination.  We have a right and obligation to know about his moral character, his respect for human dignity, whether he has violated the law or normal expectations for behaviors toward others that tell us the kind of leader he might be.  (In the same vein, we have a right to know his financial dealings and to see his tax returns, just as we expect for all candidates, and his brush-off of that issue is further indication of serious concerns about truthfulness and character),

    People can vote for whomever they want, but people must know the facts.  The record on Trump’s treatment of women is of grave concern.  His handlers should take it very, very seriously.  People do care about the moral quality of their leaders.

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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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