New Year’s Day 2015 dawns over Trinity with a great sense of happy anticipation for the progress Trinity will make in the months ahead. Along the southwest side of the campus facing Franklin Street, the footprint of the new Academic Center has emerged with the rising foundation walls. In just another few months, the structural steel girders will frame the building and, by New Year’s Day 2016, we will see the facade of the new building, red roof and all! We plan to start classes in the new building in Fall 2016.
Watching the teamwork, talent, hard manual labor and sophisticated engineering and orchestration that go into construction of a new building is very instructive for our work together in the Trinity community in the months ahead. We have big plans, and need a lot of teamwork among very smart and dedicated colleagues to make those plans become a reality. We need the hard work and great talent of our faculty and staff, as well as the remarkable engagement of our students in so many ways. We count on our alumnae, trustees and benefactors to be part of the large and sophisticated team of directors and supporters helping to ensure the very best performance in all parts of our large enterprise.
2015 will be a year of planning the myriad opportunities the new building will open for our academic programs, such as:
- For the sciences, eight new laboratories will provide more modern, more technologically sophisticated space and instrumentation to build upon the tremendous success that our faculty scientists and students have achieved in recent years; the number of science majors is growing rapidly, and the new labs and nearby classrooms will make it much easier for Trinity to accommodate this growth;
- For Nursing and related programs,four new laboratories — including a state-of-the-art simulation lab! — will ensure that Trinity’s healthcare professionals learn their professions using the most modern techniques available; fields like Psychology and Counseling will also reap many benefits from the availability of simulation and interview spaces, and classrooms that will make it possible for many related disciplines to work in adjacencies;
- For all students and faculty the 22 new classrooms will provide more modern, functional space for teaching and learning along with commodious lounge and gathering spaces. Classes will certainly still take place in Main Hall and the Library, but the Academic Center will reduce the stress on Main, reduce the use of rooms that no longer work well for modern instruction, and give us a chance to do more renovation of Main’s classroom areas.
Even while 2015 will be a year of academic planning for the new building, we also will be preparing a new Middle States Self-Study for Trinity’s decennial accreditation review. We have so much good news to share through our self-study — and the Trinity community will have many chances to participate in the process in the months ahead!
2015 must also be a year when Trinity faculty and staff, students and alumnae/i find even more ways to bring the power of this great eduction to bear on the chronic unresolved challenges, injustices and conflicts of our society. We are not bystanders to history, our education requires that we be protagonists for good, for peace, for justice. We build and sustain Trinity and the structure of this physical campus not for its own glory, but rather, so that Trinity’s mission can thrive for generations to come. This mission is only fulfilled if our students and graduates use this education to create effective, long-lasting social change in the communities they lead and corporations where they work. Our history is full of examples of remarkable leaders — our future leaders are on campus now, and we must be sure that every student has the talent, habits of mind and heart, ethical grounding and large vision to be a great leader for the common good.
In particular, 2015 offers opportunities here in the District of Columbia, as well as on the national and international stages, for Trinity students and graduates to exert leadership:
- We welcome and congratulate Washington’s new Mayor Muriel Bowser and look forward to finding ways for Trinity students and graduates to work with her to improve our city;
- We have launched a project with D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson and leaders on her team to examine ways in which the graduates of the D.C. Public Schools can do even better in college and careers; improving college performance, graduation and career success for DCPS grads at Trinity is a top priority in the year ahead because education is the most effective pathway from poverty to economic security, a goal that so many of our students from D.C. desire;
- We also continue to expand our programs in Early Childhood Education in partnership with DCPS as well as important community organizations such as Martha’s Table; at the same time, mindful that so many Trinity students are also parents, we continue to explore ways to support our student parents with on-campus services;
- We continue to welcome students who are Dreamers to Trinity, and we keep looking for ways to expand opportunities for Trinity students, faculty and staff to engage with the critical issues of immigration reform as a matter of social justice;
- We look to expand opportunities for students in International Affairs including more options for study abroad — helping more Trinity students to engage with people and issues around the globe is a major priority for our academic growth;
- With the 2016 presidential election season already revving its engines, we anticipate significant expansion of campus programs, student clubs and organizations around candidates, issues and the importance of political engagement;
- Finally, at the start of last semester we began the “Lessons of Ferguson” project to encourage academic engagement with issues of race and racism, the justice system, law enforcement, community organizing and related issues. Sadly, as 2014 drew to a close, rather than seeing some abatement of concern, the issues grew more acute around the country, along with more intense protests. In 2015, Trinity faculty and students will continue to engage with these issues that are so central to the idea of the “good society” and to achieving justice and peace.
Much work ahead, but we undertake these and so many other issues with a sense of joy in being together, pride in our work and gratitude for the privileges we experience each day through being part of the Trinity community.
Happy new year!