Dear Friends in the Trinity Community,
Each year at this time, as the holiday quiet settles over Main Hall, I like to think about the many blessings we enjoy together at Trinity, and to offer thanks to all those who made our lives more enlightened, who were sources of inspiration and hope for our students and colleagues alike, whose generosity of spirit, talent, and occasional treasure made our way a little easier along the way.
Gratitude is, sadly, not a word we hear too often in public discourse. This year’s election rhetoric seemed especially lacking in gratitude and its deep source in the virtue of charity. Gratitude sometimes seems almost impossible in the face of the global tragedies of this era, and yet, gratitude must be expressed as evidence of our hope in the future, our faith that peace and justice will ultimately prevail.
As members of the Trinity learning community, we are witnesses to a vastly different way of life than most people in the world can even imagine. We do not often think about this in such global terms, or publicly express our gratitude for the great gift of learning, but our unspoken thanks is clearly evident each day as students and faculty and staff work together to reach new levels of understanding and mastery of many different and difficult areas of knowledge. This year, as we celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, we have been able to express our gratitude more directly to the sisters for the great heritage and tradition of Trinity.
Over the years, countless women and men have worked to ensure Trinity’s vitality, excellence and sustained commitment to a truly value-centered education in the best sense. We are grateful to the SNDs, faculty, staff, alumnae, benefactors and countless friends whose hard work and generosity made our teaching and learning today possible.
In the daily life of Trinity, some of the hardest work imaginable is accomplished by colleagues who are not always recognized: our housekeepers and groundskeepers, electricians and engineers and plumbers, cooks and ladies on the serving line, security guards who work through the night to keep Trinity safe, and all of our service personnel who are deeply devoted to Trinity’s success and whose work is essential to all of the other work we do. Similarly, the staff in our many departments work long hours to ensure that financial aid packages are disbursed and library books are ordered and email servers keep running and annual fund gifts are collected and new students are recruited and current students are properly advised, counseled and cared for in myriad ways. Many thanks to all of our staff for your hard work and dedication to Trinity!
Of course, our faculty are the true intellectual and teaching center of Trinity, and in the hundreds of thousands of student contact hours that occur each year here, none of us can possibly know all of the ways in which the faculty touch and transform the lives of individual students. I am deeply grateful to all members of the faculty for all that you do to ensure that Trinity’s mission lives well in the achievements of our students and graduates.
Our students, too, deserve many thanks. Perhaps it’s not such a small secret to reveal that many of us who have chosen our life’s work in academe do so precisely because we reap so many rewards from working with each generation of students. Trinity students amaze, delight and challenge all of us each day. I am particularly grateful to all of the students who are engaged so deeply with community service projects, or internships where Trinity’s light truly shines in the professional world, or who practice and play so hard on our athletic teams, or who help Trinity immensely in student government work, or who work in our offices daily. Thank you!
Even as we reflect on the people in the Trinity community to whom we owe many thanks, let’s also take time in this season to thank those in our families and communities who support our students here, who help Trinity to make the kinds of connections that open doors to internships and career paths for our students, or who help Trinity to find new resources to support scholarships and capital improvements.
Finally, we also cannot leave this moment of Thanksgiving without thinking of those members of the armed forces who are sacrificing so much so far away in the name of the freedom we sometimes take for granted. Members of the extended Trinity family are serving the nation as well, and we remember them in a particular way as we offer Thanksgiving prayers and gratitude this week.
I hope you enjoy the brief rest of this Thanksgiving break. When we return on Monday, only a short time will remain as we finish the semester, prepare for exams, and conduct the traditional Christmas festivities. My gratitude is immense for all that we have accomplished together this year; and my hope is equally large that we will achieve even more in the months to come.
With many thanks,
President Patricia A. McGuire ’74