123 years ago today, August 20, six Sisters of Notre Dame signed the charter (preamble above) establishing Trinity College. This historic act launched a remarkable story threading progressively across the last 12 decades. The SNDs believed deeply in the right of women to learn at the highest levels possible, to obtain a college education equal to that of men in that day at the end of the 19th Century. Today, August 20, 2020, Trinity continues to advance the vision of our Founders with new enthusiasm and welcoming many diverse new populations of students, still focusing primarily on the education of women in our undergraduate college (the College of Arts and Sciences) while also welcoming men as well as women in our professional and graduate programs.
People sometimes ask me why we still need colleges that emphasize women’s education and advancement into leadership positions. As this week’s observance of the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote coincides with the nomination of Kamala Harris for vice president of the United States, let’s reflect on the fact that Harris is only the 4th woman in all of U.S. history to be on a major party ticket in a presidential election. Only one woman has ever been elected Speaker of the House, and she is a Trinity Woman, Nancy Pelosi, Class of 1962, the highest ranking elected woman in the nation. Women continue to be distinctively in the minority in the most powerful places in America, whether the Cabinet Room or U.S. Senate or board rooms and corner offices. This society continues to need institutions of higher education that concentrate on building women’s leadership talents and the confidence necessary to succeed. Our mission is parallel to the great mission of Historically Black Colleges and Universities that do the same for African Americans (we congratulate Howard University for launching Kamala Harris on her leadership trajectory!) and Trinity today is proud to enroll a majority of Black and Latina students who are ambitious, talented and eager to claim their rightful place in leadership for our society.
Today, we celebrate and thank our Founders, the Sisters of Notre Dame, who had the vision and courage to persist through the hard days of our founding in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. We who are Trinity alumnae have reaped incalculable benefits thanks to them. To celebrate Trinity’s birthday, we invited students, faculty and staff to wear our colors, purple and gold, and the entries are already coming in:
Here’s Bridjett Barbour, Class of 2017, a second grade teacher who is now back at Trinity for a graduate degree in Elementary Education:
Welcome to Ayesha McNair, a new student in the School of Professional Studies:
Holly Rockingham, SPS advisor:
Professor of English Dr. Elizabeth Child shows her Trinity style:
Have your purple and gold photo? Send to me on firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll add yours to this blog!