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  • Voices of Trinity: New Students Speak Out on Issues

    August 28, 2016

    airen 1 (Large)(Senior Airen Washington ’17 Leads Rock the Vote Session at Orientation)

    airen 6 (Large)

    Read about our new Trinity students in my Convocation Speech to New Students 8 26 2016

    Our new Trinity Women have a lot to say about current political issues!  Senior Airen Washington ’17 led the new students in a terrific Rock the Vote session at orientation, and many students registered to vote at that time.  At the opening convocation last Friday, we took a straw poll of the new students about which candidate they hoped would win the election for president of the United States ….results below.   I also asked the new students to write a brief answer to this question:  if you could speak with the new President of the United States on Inauguration Day, what would you tell him or her is the most important thing the President should do to improve your life and the lives of your families and communities?  The list is long and quite impressive.

    First, the results of the Straw Poll of New Students at Trinity:

    • Hillary Clinton – 122 votes
    • Other Candidates – 52 votes
    • Donald Trump – 1 vote

    Would you like to participate in a straw poll?  Click on this link to take the Trinity campus-wide straw poll on the election and the issues!  Cast your vote now!  We’ll publish results soon!

    airen 5 (Large)So what would the new students of Trinity say to the new president on Inauguration Day?

    Not surprisingly, the overwhelming group of responses — 38% of the 160 comments received — call for actions to make college more affordable and free college.  Clearly, our new students — like all of our students — have concerns about the cost of college, and I will be writing more about that in the days ahead.

    The next biggest comment groups for our new students included:

    • Immigration Reform
    • Stopping Police Brutality
    • Black Lives Matter, racism and equality
    • Equal Pay for Women
    • Gun Control
    • Jobs, Poverty and More Opportunities for low income individuals
    • Homelessness
    • Healthcare
    • Environmental concerns, community safety and issues related to equality in general

    airen 7 (Large)

    Here’s a sampling of the comments:

    “Your duty is to the people.  Remember that!”

    “More legal protections for women in the workplace, victims of hate crimes, sexual assault and domestic violence, ensure social security benefits for seniors and Americans with disabilities.”

    “Lower taxes for middle & low class families, make college more affordable and do something about the injustice that’s only dividing this country.”

    “Education should be affordable so people will have the opportunity to grow out of poverty.”

    “The message I would give the new President is that he/she must make affordable education because I know many friends who could not afford college.  I think if more youth could go to college this country could be great again.”

    “I would hope you will bring peace to our country and make sure you can bring more help to people who need it.”

    “I want the future president to make America great again.  Fight for rights of all people regardless of who they are.  Tackle the issues in ours and other countries.  Make peace with other countries.  For the next generation to never suffer as we did.”

    “Black Lives Matter.”

    comment cards

    “The most important thing to help my family and community is to have gun control, to decrease police brutality, and to keep everyone safe.”

    “I want the next president to make equal pay [a priority], affordable education and gun control not just for myself but for others so that as a community we feel safe.”

    “If I had the opportunity to meet up with the President on Inauguration Day, I would tell him/her that the most important message is Immigration Reform.  I would like to see a president who uses the power of the voice of all 11 million immigrants who live in this country — let their voice actually be heard.”

    “President, I will impress upon you the task of expanding the affordability of postsecondary education.  College education has always been regarded as significant.  I desire our government to match this significance with funding.”

    “Make this country more peaceful through restorative justice practices.”

    “My message for the new president would be:  I hope you’re ready for what’s coming because this is going to be a hard job to do.  Please take care of this country and the families within it.”

    “All Americans should, without question, have access to basic human rights such as education, food, healthcare and the freedom to express themselves in an environment that is safe from police brutality or hate.”

    “More youth empowerment programs to take younger children away from criminal/illegal activities.”

    “Lower tuition.  Some of the world’s geniuses can’t afford to attend college.”

    “Msg. to President:  Latino lives matter.  Black lives matter.  Have equality!”

    “The most important thing you can do is secure for my family the right to religious freedom and uphold our current constitution in all areas of life.”

    “To make family assistance more accessible for all families, such as daycare services for those single mothers who want to succeed but struggle to do so because they get turned down for those services.”

    “Use the guidance of God.  Always keep him first.  Pray before making big decisions for our country.”

    “Be compassionate and open-minded.  Find the truth and let it guide you.”

    “Do everything you said you would do!”

    “Find efficient ways to better the environment.”

    “Hold police accountable for violence against the African American community and the minority population as a whole.”

    “What are you going to do for Black People?  Our issues are very different than those of other races, we deal with police brutality, our men being unlawfully jailed, etc.”

    “The new president needs to make sure that justice is equal among races, genders and sexual orientation.”

    “Help the middle and lower classes … make American socially, politically and economically equal.”

    “The most important think that I thin the president can do for my family and community is to stop police brutality and have everyone — no matter what color or race — unite as one.”

    Well said, new Trinity Women!  We’ll have lots more on the Voices of Trinity and election season in the days ahead.  Welcome to Trinity!

    airen 2 (Large)Do you have comments on this post?  Use the comment link below to offer yours, or send me an email at

    And follow me on Twitter @TrinityPrez

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    The List: Olympic Edition!

    August 21, 2016

    Felix(Allyson Felix, Gold Medal Olympian, photo credit)

    American women athletes are dominating the Rio Olympics in every way possible — gold medals in everything from basketball to gymnastics to wrestling and judo and swimming and shooting and hurdles and sprinting among so many sports!  But who is the media darling of the moment?  A guy who lied and his cronies who helped him cover up the story!

    Ryan Lochte and his merry band of drunken swimmers has earned a place of dishonor on The List, my periodic tally of the more notorious liars and cheats in the news.  Honestly, I don’t know what was worse:  Lochte’s fabricated story about being robbed and held at gunpoint, or the ways in which certain media, especially NBC and Matt Lauer, exploited the story for their own gain and kept it going long past its shelf life, giving Lochte far more air time than most of the champion women athletes ever received.  Indeed, media coverage of Lochte’s shamefully self-serving misconduct blocked coverage of the fabulous Helen Maroulis winning the first ever women’s gold medal in wrestling.

    Lochte is bad enough, but the real villain here is the way in which the NBC team — and the other media who enable them, like the Washington Post — have stoked the story and then done this whole self-reflexive congratulatory thing.  So in Sunday’s Washington Post we have a story about how Al Roker allegedly became the hero in this mess by saying to Billy Bush about Lochte, “He lied to you, he lied to Matt Lauer, he lied to his mom….”  Honestly, lying to Billy Bush and Matt Lauer is not the most important issue!  Ok, maybe his mom.  But the real issue is that Lochte’s lies disparaged and insulted the people of Brazil, and he has yet to admit that truth and make a full apology.  By allowing his lies to take center stage, the media enabled his self-aggrandizement and perpetuated a story that should have never become so big.  The people of Brazil and Rio deserved much, much better.  And they most certainly deserve a full-throated apology from Lochte, and no more grandstanding by television stars.

    While we’re on the subject of The List, and this is the Olympic edition, while the women have done so well in Rio, there is one woman who must be on this list for the wrong reasons:  Hope Solo of the American women’s soccer team.  How sad to read her completely outrageous comments about the Swedish team as “cowards” after the U.S. women lost to Sweden early in the game.  This example of poor sportsmanship has no place at the Olympics or anywhere else.  For being utterly boorish and immature, Hope Solo has earned a rare place for a woman on The List.

    While I’m on The List — how about the other ways in which women’s achievement’s in Rio often seemed to take a back seat to Important News About Men.  So, we have “the wife of a Bears’ lineman” — Corey Cogdell-Unrein — winning a bronze medal in shooting, and a multi-gold woman swimmer — Katie Ledecky — being hailed as the “Michael Phelps of women’s swimming.”  Then there was this newspaper headline:

    Phelps and Ledecky

    It got so bad at one point that Gymnastics Champion Simone Biles said flat out, “I’m not the next Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps.  I’m the first Simone Biles.”   Beyond comparing these extraordinary athletes to men, or giving credit to their husbands and male coaches, many commentators explored the overall sexism that women athletes must endure, including the emphasis on sparkles and glitter in gymnastics which seems like an absurd way to decorate some of the most muscular athletes in the games.

    Washington Post Columnist Sally Jenkins had an excellent article about the sheer dominance of women at these games, but wondered why this does not translate into more attention and success for women athletes all the time.  Men’s athletics still dominate the sport/entertainment airwaves.  The success of American women in Rio surely has set a new standard for acceptance of women as strong and powerful athletic beings, but the effects two or three years from now in daily life are harder to predict.

    For now, however, the American Women can take pride in their great achievements — on the tracks and mats and pools, they set standards that most men could only hope to achieve.

    claressa shields(Claressa Shields 2x Olympic Gold!  photo credit)


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    Strong. Powerful. Women. Champions!

    August 17, 2016

    simone 2I don’t know about you but I just cannot get enough of the Olympics — and particularly the spectacular athletic performances of the American women athletes.  Women are the backbone of the US team this year and they are taking medals across many sports with dazzling displays of athletic prowess.  They are powerful, strong, fearless and fierce competitors.

    LedeckyThe Olympic Games are ongoing, and we may well see many more gold, silver and bronze medals for US women before the closing ceremony.  For now, let’s think about the tremendous spirit we have seen among athletes such as Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Simone Manuel, Laurie Hernandez, Gabby Douglas, Katie Ledecky, and so many others.  Each event is a display of what it takes to train hard, to stick with long and grueling practices for so many years, to struggle, to fail and to win.  All of us can draw lessons from these fine athletic and personal stories.

    gabbyWhat lessons have you drawn from the Olympics?  Share your thoughts by clicking on the “comment” link below or send me an email at and let me know if I can share your ideas here.

    More to come….

    Follow me on Twitter @TrinityPrez

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    Trinity’s Changing Landscape

    August 5, 2016

    For the last two years, the Trinity community has watched with curiosity and eagerness as the new Payden Academic Center rose along the Franklin Street expanse of our campus.  In just a few weeks this marvelous new laboratory and classroom building will open for the very first classes in the Fall 2016 semester.   Even as we delight in the beautiful new learning spaces, we also have said a fond farewell to the old Science Building that served generations of Trinity students and faculty so well.

    Trinity’s campus landscape has evolved slowly across the last 12 decades — unlike many larger universities that often have multiple building projects going on all the time, Trinity has built only when absolutely necessary to ensure excellence in learning and campus life across many generations.  Each building reflects the style and needs of the period in which it opened, but each tried to anticipate future needs as well.

    The short video above shows the evolution of Trinity’s landscape from 1897 to 2016.

    The video below is our record of thanks and farewell to the old Science Building.  Once the site is fully cleared, the road from the front circle past the Payden Center will connect with the road near the back gate and Trinity Center parking lot to provide a new thoroughfare for the campus.  We will provide more information on the final stages of this project, new traffic and shuttle patterns as the Fall 2016 semester gets underway.

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    Purple Hearts and Shameful Acts

    August 3, 2016

    purple heartLike so many World War II veterans, my dad never talked about what happened to him in the war, but we kids knew that something very serious went on over there in the Philippines where he was an Army captain.  He had a special drawer in his tall chest that he sometimes allowed us to explore, and in that drawer were his medals, including a Bronze Star and Purple Heart.  He had been wounded in the war, and he was a hero — but aside from letting us examine the medals and some fading photos and sometimes play with his old steel helmet, he didn’t want to talk about it.  He carried those silent scars of war to his grave.

    Dad might not be so silent if he were here today to comment on the shameful scene that unfolded yesterday at a rally in Virginia for Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump.  A veteran stepped forward and handed Mr. Trump a medal, with the veteran indicating he wanted Mr. Trump to have his Purple Heart, which is a medal for wounds suffered in combat.  Mr. Trump pocketed the medal while exclaiming, “Man, that’s like big stuff.  I always wanted to get the Purple Heart.  This was much easier.”

    Treating a Purple Heart like some charm coming out of a gumball machine is so offensive it’s hard to find words to respond.  This is not a Democrat or Republican issue, this is an American issue.  Even more seriously, the fact that Mr. Trump did not seem remotely respectful of the meaning of the Purple Heart is deeply disturbing for someone who aspires to be the commander-in-chief.  Then again, he had five draft deferments during the Vietnam War so perhaps he never considered the meaning of such a medal.  A more thoughtful, respectful response to the veteran would have been to say, “Thank you, but I could not possibly take this medal, you and other veterans earned the Purple Heart through your sacrifice, we must reverence the meaning of this medal and you should wear it proudly.”  But, no.  This is a man who already announced to the world that his “sacrifice” of building a business was equivalent to a soldier giving his life for this country.

    Dad was as staunchly Republican as they come, and a true proud American patriot who loved his country and brooked absolutely no opposition to supporting what he saw as American values.  He was aghast that some of his children turned out to be Democrats.  (Sigh.)  But I do think he’d be profoundly saddened by what’s going on this year on the national political scene.  And more, he’d be truly outraged that anyone, let alone a candidate for the highest office in the land, would show such contempt for veterans, their families and the real meaning of the Purple Heart and all the scars of war it represents on behalf of the people of this great nation.  Given this level of provocation, he might have broken his silence on the true horrors of war and what it really means to serve our country with courage and commitment.

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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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