Dear Students, Faculty, Staff and Friends in the Trinity Community,
A dreary fog has settled over the campus and Washington, as if to warn against too much cheeriness in a world on the brink of a new war that might be even more dangerous than those we have previously known, if that is possible. Most people are probably happy to leave most of 2002 behind: the bad economy, the corporate scandals, the Church scandals, the daily threats of terrorism, the Redskins (name, performance, the works!).
But tramping around campus today on my traditional new year’s reverie, I could not help but feel exceptionally optimistic in spite of the brooding skies overhead and downtown. In the last year many people outside of Trinity have taken note of what most of us have known all along: that Trinity is a remarkable place where hope is not overwhelmed by the daily challenges, where faith in a better future — individually, institutionally, globally — refuses to give into the impulses of negativity and despair.
Trinity’s legendary resilience is not mere coincidence or simple stubbornness for its own sake, but rather, a quality born of our collective belief in the absolute rightness and necessity of what we do as teachers and colleagues working together on behalf of our students. We truly believe that we can change their lives, and we do.
Our students, in turn, have untold impact on the lives of others — their children, the children they teach, their families, co-workers and citizens they serve in the vast array of occupations and volunteer causes our alumnae and alumni espouse.
During the fall, we took particular pride in the great success of two now-famous alums, Nancy Pelosi and Kathleen Sebelius, now the Democratic leader in the House and Governor of Kansas respectively. These two leaders represent some of Trinity’s great hallmarks — public leadership, advocates for justice and human rights, policymakers with a particular devotion to improving the conditions of women and children. Their achievements in the public sector are emblematic of the work of thousands of Trinity graduates in many corners of the world who live the mission of Trinity each day in less famous but equally important ways.
In the year ahead, we need to redouble our commitment as a learning community to continue to produce such leaders, women as well as men who have the courage to raise their voices in the public square, to speak what may be, at times, unpopular truths; to be tireless advocates for those who have no voice, or whose voices are becoming fainter and fainter as the war drums beat louder. I am particularly grateful for the work that the faculty has been doing in the arena of justice and peace education, and in the months ahead I hope that the entire campus community can come together for special occasions to discuss our shared commitments.
In particular, I ask the faculty to consider setting aside one day from routine classes to come together in a campus-wide colloquium to discuss issues of war and peace, individual rights and national security, justice and defense. I realize that many classes already address these issues, but there is an important symbol to be upheld in a campus wide convening of faculty and students, alums and friends, around some of the most important issues of our times.
The gravity of such considerations is tempered considerably by the glorious new bright center on our campus, the Trinity Center for Women and Girls in Sports. Even today, through the fog, the Center glows with its elegant lighting, and in just a few short weeks we will be able to take our weighty discussions into the spa, pool, fitness center or gym for more relaxed (and healthy!) pondering.
We have decided, by the way, to have the “official opening” of the Center during the first week in February, when our Trinity Tigers basketball team have a series of home games, and the Women’s Sports Foundation will also be here for National Girls and Women in Sports Day (February 4-5). February 6 will be the official ‘home opener’ with the evening game against the College of Notre Dame of Maryland.
We’ll have more on all of this shortly — please plan to join us as we launch the Trinity Center! We’ll also be communicating more about the opening of the center for everyone’s use — we’re in the final stages of preparing the management plan and hope to have the information shortly.
With the Trinity Center nearing completion — just about on time and on budget, hooray! — and with the end of the capital campaign in sight (we have enjoyed an incredible outpouring of gifts in the last two months, more on that later, and so many thanks to all benefactors!) we are already beginning to lay the plans for the next set of strategic investments for Trinity. We have more building programs to address, of course, as well as other strategic initiatives set forth in our strategic plan Beyond Trinity 2000. I look forward to sharing some of these with you as we plan the next steps in the months ahead.
As we embrace this new year with eagerness and hope for all the good that we can do in the months ahead, I want to thank everyone in this community whose hard work and dedication to our students and their success have made Trinity such a great place to study, learn, work and live. Our faculty are exceptional in their tireless devotion to our students, and our staff often works far into the night and through weekends (and holidays!) to ensure that all of the thousands of moving parts are heading in the right direction.
People whom many members of the campus community have never met have also played very important roles in making Trinity’s mission come alive — I think of the many supervisors who welcome our interns around town, the employers and families who accommodate the study schedules of our students, the head of Thompson’s Boat House who looks after our crew team with special care, the coaches and officials who teach our athletes how to play with skill and fairness, the cooperating teachers and principals in schools throughout the region, the hundreds of adjunct faculty who are a vital part of our community, the hundreds of construction workers whose craftsmanship the Trinity community will enjoy for generations to come. Thanks to all for what you have done for Trinity!
Thanks as well to our students whose enthusiasm for learning, fresh approaches to old problems, zest for life and eagerness to lead add so much richness to our own lives.
Many, many thanks to all of the alumnae and alumni, trustees and volunteers, friends and benefactors who have contributed millions of dollars and millions more in service hours to make Trinity a great success.
Many thanks to each and every person who has contributed so much to making Trinity’s mission a great bright beacon in a town that needs our hope and spirit so very much.
Happy New Year to all!
With good wishes for all that is to come,
President Patricia McGuire