Passion and Commitment
the Payden Academic Center Comes to Life
President Patricia McGuire, ’74
In April of 1897, 120 years ago, Trinity Founder Sr. Julia McGroarty, SND, wrote to Sr. Mary Euphrasia Taylor, SND, that she was worried about the economic viability of their plan to start a new Catholic college for women in the nation’s capital. “Why should we fear to fail, simply because one element of success is wanting (the money).” (Quotations from the founding documents.) Sr. Julia was passionate about the idea of Trinity but worried about the cost. She was proud of the gritty independence of the SNDs: “We are considered by the outside world immensely wealthy, because we manage our own affairs, have no man of business, have never asked anything of anyone.” She knew the Trinity project required resources unlike anything she had done previously, and she was committed to finding them: “I have been studying Vassar and Wellesley both asking for unlimited means.” Her co-conspirator Sr. Euphrasia, ever the optimist, wrote a confident rejoinder a few weeks later, “The project is so grand, the incentives so great…. We shall succeed!” Euphrasia’s passion and commitment ensured the transformation of the idea into real bricks and mortar, students and faculty.
Passion and commitment to a grand idea, bold optimism, fiscal prudence and creative resource development: from the earliest days Trinity embodied these traits of the Founders, and across twelve decades these values and virtues have ensured the ultimate success of the ongoing great mission of Trinity.
Standing in the gorgeous light-filled entrance lobby of the new Payden Academic Center, the legacy of Trinity’s 19th Century founders remains vibrant in the modern life of 21st Century Trinity. Their legacy inspired generations of Trinity Women to realize remarkable accomplishments in their personal and professional lives, and those achievements returned inspiration and support to sustain new generations of students, faculty and staff at Trinity.
“Passion and commitment” are the words that Joan Payden ’53 used in her address at the dedication of the wonderful center that now bears her name at Trinity. She evoked the courage of the Founders in remaining steadfast in their vision for Trinity despite many obstacles; she spoke of her own passion and commitment in building a business that made it possible for her to have the resources to share a magnificent gift with Trinity to create the Payden Center. She reminded all alumnae and friends present, as well as current students, faculty and staff, that the ongoing work that is Trinity’s mission requires constant replenishment of our passion and commitment to the values we live in and through Trinity: our work for social justice, ideal of service to others, commitment to women and those who need this great education to transform other lives.
Passion and commitment are values evident every day in the work of Trinity students, faculty and staff as we pursue the joys and challenges of a great mission in higher education for the sake of the world our graduates will inspire and change for the better. This edition of the TRINITY magazine reveals how the Trinity community today reaps so many benefits from the passion and commitment of alumnae and benefactors like Joan Payden who have continued the work of our Founders through their gifts to build and sustain the mission of Trinity today.
In the Payden Academic Center, the beautiful new laboratories for nursing and the sciences have fostered innovative pedagogies and new manifestations of student and faculty achievement in research and professional advancement. In the nursing labs, an entire family of simulation manikins provides opportunities for state-of-the-art simulation instruction while other labs offer skills training and opportunities to practice health assessment skills. The new technologies, made possible through many grants, ensure that nursing students at Trinity are practicing with contemporary tools including digital medical records and electronic medication systems.
In the science labs, grants also supported all new instrumentation. New imaging microscopes now allow faculty to project one slide onto a screen for all to see, and students can even download their images to smartphones and tablets for continuous study. The modern laboratory environments have improved the ability of faculty and students to conduct research and experiments that require the vastly improved hoods and ventilation system that the new building provides. The glass walls of the labs have given a window into the sciences for all students, perhaps influencing some future major choices!
All disciplines take full advantage of the classrooms and common spaces in the Payden Center, which has quickly become the center of much campus activity, from Spring Research Day to career fairs to registration and orientation. Faculty appreciate the technology-infused classroom environments and pleasant light, and students enjoy the comfortable chairs and many study nooks throughout the building.
Passion and commitment also inspire many alumnae and benefactors to support Trinity students. Trinity today serves a distinctive population of students who have high ambition but limited resources; these students are predominantly African American and Latina, mostly women and some men in our graduate and professional programs. While Trinity strives to keep tuition within reason, almost all students need financial support, and that’s where great benefactors and generous alumnae rise to the occasion. Trinity is so grateful to remarkable benefactors like William and Joanne Conway who support nursing students through the Conway Scholars Program. Shannon Scholars are a tribute to Mary Shannon ’60 and The Shannon Foundation. Dreamer Scholars are enrolled at Trinity thanks to TheDream.US and great support from an anonymous benefactor. These are just several of the many named scholarships that make it possible for great Trinity students to achieve their degrees.
Passion and commitment – across twelve decades, the story of Trinity is truly a tale of passion for the idea of this great educational enterprise and commitment to the values that make Trinity’s mission so vitally important in every age. Trinity’s gratitude to all who continue to sustain this mission is immense. Thank you!