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President's Office | Trinity Center Dedication

Welcome to the future of Trinity College!

Today, the Trinity family, neighbors and friends gather for an occasion that last occurred in 1965 on this campus — the dedication of a new building. The Trinity Center for Women and Girls in Sports stands magnificently as the symbol of the new Trinity, its bones shaped through the influence of the elegant architecture of the historic buildings on campus, especially the arches of Alumnae Hall and the red roof of Main, its systems and functions reflecting the most modern state-of-the-art technologies and programs possible in the Year 2002. The Trinity Center today becomes the standard by which our campus and our college will be measured for many years to come. In dedicating this athletic complex, we are doing more than adding a gym, a pool, a field, some tennis courts, a fitness center to Trinity’s campus. In its fullness, the Trinity Center is a bold statement of Trinity’s reaffirmation of its fundamental devotion to the education and advancement of women, its care and concern for the education of the whole human person, its stewardship to its alumnae, community, city, Church and nation to ensure the vitality of this important and unique university for generations to come.

To open our celebration this morning, let us begin as we have done for a century on this campus by invoking the blessings of the Trinity on this occasion and the building we are dedicating today.

Psalm 100, a Psalm of thanksgiving, seems appropriate to begin this celebration:

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all you lands;
Worship the Lord with cries of gladness;
Come before him with joyful song.
Know that the Lord is God, our maker to whom we belong,
whose people we are, God’s well-tended flock.
Enter the temple gates with praise,
its courts with thanksgiving.
Give thanks to God, bless his name;
Good indeed is the Lord
Whose love endures forever,
Whose faithfulness lasts through every age.

Please join me in saying the Trinity prayer:

May the power of the father govern and protect us
May the wisdom of the son teach and enlighten us
May the love of the Holy Spirit renew and quicken us
May the blessings of the All Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit
Be with us now and forever. Amen.

Now, let’s sit back and enjoy a parade, students from each class of Trinity, our athletes, and very importantly, our sisters from the Girl Scouts of the Nation’s Capital who will conduct the flag ceremony at the end of the parade. When you see the Girl Scouts coming, please stand and be ready to salute the flag. (Parade and Flag Ceremony)

Historic November Dates for Trinity

Two years ago, on November 4, 2000, we gathered on this site to break ground for the Trinity Center for Women and Girls in Sports. That was a glorious day, the culmination of Trinity’s Centennial Celebration. November seems to be an especially noteworthy month for Trinity. It was on a cold November day, November 3, 1900, that the first group of students wended their way to the front door of a building (Main’s South Hall) that they immediately declared “hopelessly unfinished” and they began school amid the noise of hammering and workmen trying to finish the project. [We honor their tradition --- while certainly not ‘hopelessly’ so, the building you see today is not quite complete, with about a month to go inside, and outside, weather willing, tennis courts and roadwork yet to be done. We are not off schedule --- we deliberately planned this ceremony to coincide with these other important dates in Trinity’s history. Our friends from Forrester Construction and all of the subcontractors have been working round the clock to prepare for today, and they are on schedule.] A few weeks after Trinity’s first class on November 8, 1900, a great crowd of dignitaries gathered for what was the elegant formal dedication of Trinity College on November 22, 1900.

Today, almost 102 years to the day of Trinity College’s dedication, we gather yet another group of Trinity supporters and distinguished civic leaders to dedicate a new facility that represents a new phase in the life of this great institution. We will hear today from some of the dignitaries with us this morning — Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, Councilmember Vincent Orange, Catholic Schools Superintendent Patty Weitzel-O’Neill, Girl Scout Executive Director Jan Verhage, Dr. Lillian Greene-Chamberlain of the Women’s Sports Foundation. We could not possibly include everyone in the program, but we are also happy to have in attendance this morning Jadwiga Sebrechts, president of the Women’s College Coalition, John Childers, president of the Consortium of Universities of the Metropolitan Washington Area, friends from the YWCA of the Nation’s Capital, Carol Jackson from the D.C. Public Schools representing Superintendent Paul Vance, and many neighbors from the Brookland/Edgewood communities and friends from the corporate and civic communities of Washington. We also are delighted to have with us today several hundred alumnae and members of their families, and I want to recognize in particular the members of the Alumnae Association Board of Directors. Many thanks as well to the faculty, staff and students of Trinity who are here this morning and who spent so much time preparing for today.

This is a day to give thanks, to celebrate, to share the joy of making history with the Trinity family once more.

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

We are particularly grateful to have with us today a woman who is a tremendous leader for our city, a tireless advocate for the District of Columbia in Congress, a great representative of the interests of our citizens. We are proud to count her as an honorary alumna of Trinity College, and a great friend of Trinity.

Please join me in welcoming the Honorable Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C. Delegate to the Congress of the United States.

(Congresswoman Norton makes remarks.)

Councilmember Vincent Orange

The Trinity Center for Women and Girls in Sports is a significant investment in our neighborhood here in Ward 5, and we are pleased to be part of the Ward 5 economic development movement. Ward 5 is fortunate to have a truly dynamic, smart and tireless leader in Councilmember Vincent Orange. I’m also pleased to note that Gwen Orange is a graduate of Trinity’s Educational Technology Leadership Institute, so we’re all in the family. Please join me in welcoming Councilmember Orange.

(Councilmember Orange makes remarks.)

The Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony

In order to dedicate our new building properly, let us gather to cut the ribbon. With this symbolic gesture, we dedicate these athletic facilities to the future students of Trinity College and the neighbors and citizens of Washington who will benefit from this Center. We cut the ribbon on the future of Trinity College!

(The following individuals joined the ribbon cutting:)

The Honorable Eleanor Holmes Norton
The Honorable Vincent Orange
Sr. Mary Ann Cook, former Board Chair
Sr. Regina Finnegan, former Board Chair
Sr. Margaret Claydon, President Emerita
Lila O’Brien Sullivan ‘68, Member, Board of Trustees
Nancy Oram Lesher ‘69, Benefactor
Peggy Lewis ‘77, Vice President of the Alumnae Association
Phillip Renfrow, Architect, Geier Brown and Renfrow
Wayne Hughes, Architect, The Hughes Group
David Forrester, Forrester Construction
Dr. Lillian Greene-Chamberlain, Women’s Sports Foundation
Maya Caraway ‘04, Student Government President
Angelica Lara ‘06, On behalf of the Student Athletes
Dr. Patricia Weitzel-O’Neill, Superintendent of Schools, Archdiocese of Washington
Jan Verhage, Executive Director, Girl Scouts of the Nation’s Capital

Recognition of the Board of Trustees

The leadership of Trinity’s Board of Trustees over the years has been crucial to Trinity’s ability to proceed with this project. We have several of our former trustees with us today, and I want to recognize and salute: Julio Heurtematte, Dennis Meyer, John Schwieters, Sr. Bernadette Glodek, SND, Secretary of Education for the Archdiocese of Washington, Sr. Sue Ann Shay, SND.

I also want to point out and thank in a very special way Sister Mary Ann Cook, president of Education for Parish Service, who served on Trinity’s board for twelve years, the last six as Board Chair. It was during her tenure as Board Chair and thanks to her leadership that the trustees summoned the courage and vision necessary to agree to proceed with this project. Sr. Mary Ann, your strength and firmness made this day possible, and we salute you with gratitude and affection!

At the time I became president, the Board Chair was a woman whom I came to admire deeply, someone who taught me how to be a president through her own tremendous example of leadership at the Academy of Notre Dame in Villanova where she presided over the growth and development of that school, its grounds and buildings for more than 30 years. She also taught me so much about the ways in which the vision of St. Julie Billiart could and should be practiced in schools and colleges founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame, ensuring that the SND mission and charism would stay well and vital at Trinity. Please join me in welcoming Sr. Regina Finnegan, chair of Trinity’s board from 1987 through 1993, and president emerita of the Academy of Notre Dame in Villanova.

(Sr. Regina Finnegan makes remarks.)

Today’s Board of Trustees is a group of dedicated women and men who share a deep commitment to ensuring the strength and vitality of Trinity for generations to come. Sisters of Notre Dame, alumnae and leaders from the Washington community come together on Trinity’s board to monitor our progress toward all of our strategic goals and to lead the fund raising effort to secure the resources we need to remain competitive. I am particularly grateful to Mrs. Lila O’Brien Sullivan, Class of 1968, for her great generosity of time, talent and treasure as a member of our board, benefactor and active volunteer leader for Trinity. Our Board Chair Peggy O’Brien regrets that business has taken her out of town today, and we are happy to welcome Lila Sullivan who brings greetings on behalf of the Trustees.
(Lila O’Brien Sullivan makes remarks.)

Sr. Margaret Claydon

The need to build appropriate athletic facilities on this campus was clearly articulated by presidents of the College as early as 1902, and the first Gym Fund began in 1914, raising $25,000 to construct the old swimming pool in 1916 that was supposed to be the ground floor of a new athletic center — a very old concept interpreted in an extraordinarily contemporary way in today’s Trinity Center. But through the 1920′s and 30′s the rest of the money could not be found, especially in the depression years, and by the early 1940′s other needs arose, so a Science Building was constructed on top of the swimming pool — and thank goodness for that!

In the 1960′s, another Trinity president once again articulated the great need for athletic facilities, and she envisioned a magnificent campus plan. Sr. Margaret Claydon was the longest-serving president of Trinity, our greatest builder, indeed, Trinity’s greatest president. She built the wing of Main Hall where the Art and Music facilities reside; then she built the library, for which we are all eternally grateful, and then Kerby Hall. She accomplished what was absolutely necessary for Trinity at that time, but she also never gave up on her vision for the sports center. She has put on her hard hat and joined me for biweekly tours of the construction site throughout the last year, and her wisdom and experience in managing building projects has been exceptionally valuable to me. In so many ways, the Trinity Center we dedicate today is thanks to the vision, faith and persistence of our President Emerita Sr. Margaret Claydon. Please join me in welcoming and thanking her for her leadership.

(Sr. Margaret Claydon makes remarks.)

Recognition of The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur

It is not coincidental that the three women I have just recognized are Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. As we launch this new phase in the life of Trinity College, we do so with a profound sense of gratitude to the SNDs along with a great sense of responsible stewardship for the enterprise they have entrusted to us to carry out their mission. I think if Trinity’s founders Sister Julia McGroarty and Sister Mary Euphrasia Taylor were here today, they would be leading the parade, and I suspect that Sr. Euphrasia would have already plunged into the pool. Will all of the SNDs here today please stand and let us thank you!

Recognition of Benefactors

Those of us who have visions are patiently tolerated by those who must pay the bills. Presidents are notorious dreamers, but our dreams are meaningless without the charitable gift support that is necessary for capital development of the college campus. Over the years, Trinity College has been most fortunate to enjoy wonderful gift support from our alumnae, parents, friends, corporations and foundations. Bolstered by this track record, when we took the measure of what we would need to create the Trinity Center, we went out to ask with confidence, convinced that the project was vital to Trinity’s future, certain that the Trinity family would respond with generosity and grace. We were not disappointed. The response of the Trinity community to the Centennial Campaign which supports the Trinity Center is terrific. To date, we have raised $10.75 million toward our goal of $12 million, surpassing the first goal we set of $10 million some time ago. We have just $1.25 million to go, and we remain confident that Trinity will reach this milestone very soon.

To speak today on behalf of all benefactors of this project, we are pleased to welcome Mrs. Nancy Oram Lesher of the Class of 1969. Nancy and her husband Donald have given a very generous gift to name that fabulous spa in the pool area — Nancy, I think your name will be cited millions of times in years to come by the grateful patrons of the spa. Thank you so much for your great generosity!

(Nancy Oram Lesher ’69 makes remarks.)

Recognition of the Alumnae Association

Alumnae leadership is a longstanding tradition of Trinity College, and the support of the Alumnae Association in this project has been exceptional. We are expecially grateful for the wonderful gift of $150,000 that the Association presented to Trinity at Alumnae Reunion in June. Alumnae President Betsy Griffith could not be with us today, but she sends greetings, and she asked Alumnae Association Vice President Peggy Lewis to bring greetings from the Alumnae Association Board of Directors.

(Peggy Lewis ’77 makes remarks.)

Recognition of the Architects

There is something about watching a building project evolve that convinces me that it is one of humanity’s great intellectual and social accomplishments. A building project is an incredible social microcosm, with hundreds and hundreds of individuals gifted with many special talents all trying to make those talents work together in a coordinated, seamless manner to erect a magnificent structure that will endure for many generations. It just continues to amaze me that they know where to put the pipes and the wires and how to make it all work as an organic whole. Of course, the individuals who must have the broadest vision of that organic being we call a building are the architects, individuals who combine deeply artistic sensitivities with broad technical know-how to create a work of durable, functional art such as the Trinity Center.

I would like to present to you the architects who are responsible for this project. Mr. Phillip Renfrow is the lead project architect from the firm of Geier Brown and Renfrow. Mr. Wayne Hughes is the architect of the athletic building itself from the Hughes Group.

(Phillip Renfrow and Wayne Hughes make remarks.)

Recognition of Forrester Construction

Just like presidents, architects have visions. Just like vice presidents and deans, the construction contractor has to make the vision work in yards of concrete and tons of steel and miles of conduit and gallons of paint… and on budget on time. Trinity has been most fortunate to have for this project not only a tremendous team of architects, but an equally exceptional partner as the general construction manager, the Forrester company. The Forrester colleagues with whom we have worked have been delightful, professional, deeply caring about ensuring the quality of this project for Trinity.

Before I invite David, Rick and Scott Forrester to come up, I want to extend a very personal and public thanks to the Forrester leadership team on this project: Marney Bands, the senior project manager; Rich Golay, the senior project manager; Joe Ribero, the superintendent, and Ben Benoski, the assistant superintendent. Marney, Rich, Joe and Ben, we’re so grateful to you!

Please join me in thanking this team and welcoming David Forrester.

(David Forrester makes remarks.)

Let me add my deep thanks to all of the countless subcontractors and others whose time and talent made this project so exceptional.

The Importance of Sports for Girls and Women

Now, for the final part of the program, let’s talk about WHY we’ve built this great athletic complex. The WHY is found in the WHO — the individuals whose lives will be significantly improved through the many health and fitness, educational and recreational benefits that will result from using these facilities. Those individuals will include current and future generations of Trinity students, faculty, staff and alumnae; our neighbors and friends here in Ward 5 and throughout the city; our special partners like the Girl Scouts, the Washington Tennis and Education Foundation, D.C. Scores, the DC Public Schools, DC Parks and Recreation, and the schools of the Archdiocese of Washington, and so many other partners.

All of these countless future patrons of the Trinity Center should stop each time they pass through these doors to give thanks to all those we have already mentioned, and then give thanks again for the vision, courage and drive of the pioneers of women’s sports, whose stories gave us the inspiration to persist in seeing this project through to completion. This year, we are observing the 30th anniversary of Title IX, the law that guaranteed equal opportunity for women in all levels of education. The law had particular impact on women’s collegiate sports, providing previously unimagined opportunities to women on big university campuses.

In some circles today, however, it’s fashionable to say that Title IX is outmoded, that the law might have been a mistake. Tell that to Billie Jean King, one of the greatest women athletes and tennis players of all time, who did not receive the same rewards for her accomplishments that male tennis players received in their tournaments. Tell that to Donna Lopiano, president of the Women’s Sports Foundation, who passionately recounts the day when the little league coach refused to give her a uniform in spite of the fact that she was the best player who came out for the team. Tell that to women of a certain age who attended the University of Maryland or George Washington University or other such institutions where, before Title IX, they were forced to play their sports in cramped little huts where you had to aim low for the basket, putting your foot against the wall to be out of bounds. Trinity could be competitive with them back in those days…. and we will be again, in contemporary competition in our magnificent new arena.

The Women’s Sports Foundation

The pioneers in women’s sports were part of the revolution in women’s educational opportunity, and it is natural that Trinity College, as the only women’s college remaining in Washington, works in partnership with such women. We are proud of our relationship in particular with the Women’s Sports Foundation, and today we are delighted to welcome Dr. Lillian Greene-Chamberlain, Olympic champion, Board of Trustees of the Women’s Sports Foundation.

(Dr. Lillian Greene-Chamberlain makes remarks.)

Students and Student Athletes

This new facility will provide significant benefits to many future generations of Trinity students. Our current students are eager to claim their place in history as the first generation to enjoy the Trinity Center. They deserve this pride of place, since they have put up with the construction noise and dust and occasional inconveniences. The other night, when our fall athletes had the first student tour of the Center, the joy on their faces told me that all those mornings of being awakened by jackhammers are forgiven (almost!).

To bring greetings from the students of Trinity College, please welcome Ms. Maya Carraway, the president of the Student Government Association.

(Maya Carraway ’04 makes remarks.)

Trinity’s student athletes today are some of the most remarkable young women I have ever had the pleasure to meet. The dedication of our fall athletes was clear in the ways in which Trinity’s teams excelled in sports where once we were not considered a threat. Now, the other teams in the Atlantic Women’s College Conference know that they have to reckon with Trinity! Our soccer team went all the way to the finals of the AWCC tournament. Our crew team has blown away other boats on the river, including earning “Champions of the Chase” shirts for winning the women’s four at the Head of the Occoquan. To speak on behalf of our athletes, I am pleased to present Ms. Anjelica Lara, Class of 2006, a member of the soccer team.

(Angelica Lara ’06 makes remarks.)

Archdiocese of Washington Catholic Schools

The young women who attend Trinity’s College of Arts and Sciences come from public and private schools throughout the Washington region, as well as nationally and internationally. Their teachers may well have earned master’s degrees and continuing education credit in our School of Education. Their mothers, and even their dads today, might be taking courses through Trinity’s School of Professional Studies. Our relationship with our area school systems is of tremendous importance to Trinity — so much so that we’re delighted when one of ‘our own’ takes over a leadership position with schools.

Dr. Patricia Weitzel-O’Neill was, for 20 years, a member of Trinity’s faculty in Sociology, and for the last nine years of her tenure with Trinity she was vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. We are so delighted to welcome her back to the campus today in her new role as Superintendent of Schools for the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington.


The Girl Scouts of the Nation’s Capital

Finally — we opened our program with the Girl Scouts, and we close with this wonderful organization as well. Trinity College and the Girl Scouts have always enjoyed a warm relationship, and over the years Trinity found many ways to express that obvious synergy, even offering courses in Girl Scouting in the 1920′s. Today, our partnership has found exciting new expression in the ways in which we are able to work together as organizations devoted to the education and advancement of girls and women.

Last spring, we created the Girl Scouts Scholarship Program for scouts and troop leaders, with special emphasis on Gold and Silver award scouts, and I am pleased to say that five members of the Class of 2006 have received the Girl Scout Scholarships to date, including Anjelica Lara, as well as one troop leader. We hope to increase that number in the years ahead as we interest more Girl Scouts in the power of women’s higher education, and we think the Trinity Center might just have something to do with that! We hope that this new facility will be full of Girl Scouts on many occasions.

Jan Verhage, the executive director of the Girl Scouts of the Nation’s Capital, is one of the most amazing leaders I have ever known. Through her creativity, smarts, passion and plain common sense, she has made this Girl Scout Council the biggest, the best and the most fun of any in the nation. Jan, we are so delighted that you can be with us today to wrap up our program.

Recognition of All Members of the Team for the Trinity Center

Before we move on to the food and party, let me offer a few more notes of recognition and thanks. This project would never have come to fruition without a great deal of teamwork on the part of many professionals. I would like to publicly recognize and thank:

John Leary of the law firm of O’Donoghue and O’Donoghue, Trinity’s general counsel who has contributed countless hours of service to Trinity, and in particular on this project

Maureen Dwyer and colleagues at the law firm of Shaw Pittman for representing Trinity so well on our zoning issues

Sean Glynn and colleagues at Arent Fox for representing us on the bond issue

Michael Hodge and friends at the D.C. Office of Economic Development for guiding us through the bond issue process

Sam Schreiber, Patty Lenihan and friends at First Union/Wachovia for having the faith in Trinity to underwrite our bonds

Joe Beck, Mike Guernier at Shattuck Hammond for guiding us through the bond rating process

Michael Catlett and colleagues at Advanced Project Management for representing Trinity so well throughout this effort

Paul Brailsford and Centers Inc. for undertaking the management of this facility

Rob Urbach, Josh Schwartz, Audrey D’Onofrio and colleagues at SFX Sports Group for representing Trinity

Here on campus, everyone deserves a huge thanks for cooperating with this project, but in particular, I want to recognize and thank:

Christy Neff, Jody Bergstrom, Christy Germani, Matthew Virtue and all of our coaches and athletic staff

All of our staff in the Physical Plant department who have had added duties as a result of this effort

Food service staff who have experienced many changes and inconveniences as we tried to hook up these two buildings

CFO Barbara Lettiere and Operations Director Dan Slattery for quickly coming up to speed on this project and preparing the plans for the next phase of management

Judy Tart, Shaughna Giracca, Liza Boffen-Yourdanov, Alicia Rajnarine, Heather Jamison, Kimberly Davis and Kimberly Tucker for your great work in development and alumnae affairs

Ann Pauley who, in addition to leading the development effort and doing all of the public relations, also was Trinity’s staff liaison for construction

Closing Remarks

Winston Churchill once said, “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.” While some of us do hope that there will be literal meaning in that saying when it comes to the Trinity Center, in the larger sense that phrase also articulates our hope today that the Trinity Center for Women and Girls in Sports will shape the future of Trinity College in ways that are as beautiful, elegant and ambitious as this architecture.

Today we make a good beginning on a great future. We look forward to welcoming you back to the Trinity Center often, and especially in the next few months as we continue to introduce this new facility to friends.

Thank you for all that you have done to help the future of Trinity College become a reality!


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

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