A Little History…
Over a century ago, Trinity College was founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur as the nation’s first Catholic liberal arts college for women. The Sisters of Notre Dame had a vision of an institution for women, built on a challenging liberal arts curriculum that assumed that women are the intellectual equal of men, and composed of a student body national in scope. Today, as Trinity moves forward into its second century, the work and beliefs of the community of the Sisters of Notre Dame live on as Trinity continues to educate women of all ages in the College of Arts and Sciences and to both women and men in the School of Professional Studies and School of Education. Beginning with the first graduating class of 1904, the mission of Trinity has been realized in the lives of her graduates, women whose accomplishments range from the halls of Congress to board rooms, classrooms and courtrooms, laboratories and artists’ studios, town hall meetings and family dinner tables.
As the global community moves into the 21st century, the significance of educating a new generation of leaders and citizens equipped with the intellectual perspective and ecumenical knowledge of liberal learning is as important as any other time in history. The ability to think critically, to write and speak clearly, to make ethical judgments, to know the context of history and literature, to understand the fundamental economic and political forces affecting the psychology of whole peoples, these are the quantities essential to effective leadership in our ever-changing global environment. These are the hallmarks of a Trinity education in the liberal arts.
Liberal learning at Trinity is enriched and enlarged by the resources of the nation’s capital, from internships in Congressional offices or scientific laboratories to research at the Library of Congress to participation in classes at any of the major area universities through the Consortium of Universities.
Trinity’s commitment to liberal learning derives its ultimate meaning from the core identity of Trinity as a Catholic college. Beyond spiritual growth realized through theological studies and liturgies, the Trinity community also lives its faith through active service to people in need in Washington and around the country. Trinity’s commitment to faith and liberal learning is also realized in the Honor System that governs all aspects of academic and co-curricular life on campus.
One hundred years since its founding, the work of the Sisters of Notre Dame continues to thrive as Trinity remains an institution centered on women, and enriched by the Catholic tradition, a place where new generations of students can gain the knowledge and tools necessary to succeed in their own lives and give back to their communities.
Patricia A. McGuire ’74
Visit Women’s Colleges and Institutional Innovation for more on Trinity’s transformation, challenges and opportunities in higher education today