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  • Welcome to the “Spring” 2019 Semester!

    January 14, 2019

    Mother Nature doesn’t seem to know that we are starting the “Spring” semester, but January snow is really right on time!  Welcome back to all students, faculty and staff — and welcome to new students as well!  We have a lot going on this semester, and we are eager to make the most of our time together.

    The snow this week made the campus look very beautiful, some photos below.  But the most important message is that we have wonderful members of our Aramark Facilities Team who worked tirelessly for three days (!!) to make sure all of the roads, walkways, parking lots, steps, etc. were clear of snow and ice.  Please thank them when you see them. Also please thank our Allied Universal Security team who worked through the storm, and also our Metz Food Service team who came in despite the storm to make sure our resident students were well fed!  Here are some photos of our great Facilities Team clearing snow:

    Thanks, team!  Special thanks to Andres Marin, above, who’s been supervising our crews since I’ve been at Trinity!  Great job, Andres!

    Here are some photos of the campus in the snow:

    And the snow brought out the birds…..including, can you believe it? — a wild turkey on Cuvilly parking lot!!   And a festival of cardinals and sparrows….

    Onward to the Spring 2019 semester!!

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    Shameful Shutdown

    January 11, 2019

    government closed signsLiberty is closed.  Air and Space is closed.  The beautiful places of our nation are closed.  Federal workers will not receive paychecks today.  Government contractors are in financial distress.  Retailers who depend on federal workers are facing fiscal disaster.  The food truck workers, the custodians, the ticket takers, the park rangers, the tour guides, the tech guys, the cafeteria cooks, the administrative assistants, the truck drivers, the research assistants, the laboratory directors, the analysts, the security guards, the photocopier repair technicians, the mail clerks, the receptionists, the help line specialists, the HR staffs, the payroll processors, the facilities crews, the wildlife experts — the real people who make our government work every day are out of work, or being forced to work without getting paid.

    The REAL “national emergency” is a political leader who is using people as pawns, playing games with the livelihoods of federal workers held hostage to a demand that has nothing to do with them, blatantly breaching the responsibilities of the president of the United States to lead a functional, effective government and to care for ALL citizens, not just those who happen to agree with him.  Holding federal workers hostage for a corrupt political purpose is unjust and immoral.

    The government shutdown is shameful, and the reason for the shutdown is simply appalling.  If the issue were simply coming to agreement on the best tactics for border security, we would not be at this impasse, the legislation would have been crafted with reasonable compromises, and the president would have long ago signed the bill.  But we are witnessing an extraordinary act of selfish political extortion by one man and those who are egging him on — the relentless demand for “Wall” is not a quest for better border security, which certainly can be negotiated, but a ransom note to construct a symbol of power, a monument to fearmongering, to racism and ethnic hatred, to political pandering at its most obscene baseness.

    The solution to the current morass is obvious, but it requires moral courage in the Senate, which seems to be in very short supply.  The Founders of this nation envisioned a government of checks and balances, three co-equal branches of government so that one branch does not become too powerful.  If the president vetoes legislation that the two houses of Congress agree upon, then the Congress can vote to over-ride the veto and the bill becomes law.  That seems so very obvious in a case such as we have at present, in which the life of the nation is grinding to a halt because of one man’s insistence on spending $5 Billion for something that is of dubious effect.  Before Christmas, the House and Senate did agree on legislation and they thought the president was on board with it; but suddenly, because a television talking head said something negative about him, he withdrew from the agreement.   Congress should have proceeded, but the leadership in the Senate has now demurred; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has stepped back, saying he cannot do anything about the impasse, which is not true.  A real leader would tell the president he’s wrong; a real leader would pave the way for a Congressional over-ride of the president’s veto.  McConnell could be a hero, but he chooses to be an accomplice in allowing innocent people — the federal workers and all affected by the shutdown — to suffer grievous harm and undue stress.

    Trinity students who are federal workers and contractors, or who depend on retail services to them, are among those deeply affected by the government shutdown.  Some students have already written to me to say that they might not be able to enroll this semester because they are worried about not getting paid, or that they’re not sure if their agencies will provide the usual tuition remission, or that if they have to dig into savings or retirement funds for living expenses they will not be able to buy books or afford transportation here.  The consequences of missing a semester are also large:  delayed graduation by a semester or two means ongoing college expenses and even more important, the lost salary increases that they could obtain once they receive their degrees.  The economic consequences of political folly are enormous, rippling well beyond this moment.

    Trinity will do everything we can to help our federal workers and those affected by the shutdown.  But our resources are also limited, and like many institutions in Washington trying to help close the gap, we know that we cannot possibly be a suitable substitute for a functioning federal government.  We all must ratchet-up our advocacy and insist that the government reopen immediately, that negotiations about border security ensue as a separate matter that does not hold innocent people hostage to political ambition.

    To our political leaders we must fairly shout:  open the government NOW!

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    Speaker Nancy Pelosi: Knowing Her Power

    January 5, 2019

    Nancy Pelosi sworn in as speaker(photo credit: Speaker Pelosi website)

    Thursday, January 3, 2019 was a day for the history books.  Nancy Pelosi was elected once again to be the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives.  What makes her election historic is the fact that in 230 years since the founding of this nation, only ONE woman has ever been the Speaker out of 54 individuals to hold the position — and that ONE woman has been Nancy Pelosi, Trinity Class of 1962, the highest ranking and most powerful woman in American politics.  Speaker Pelosi returns to that position after first holding it from 2007 to 2011, and her re-election for a second time is notable since it’s been more than half a century since Sam Rayburn was re-elected as Speaker after a period out of office.

    I was honored to receive Speaker Pelosi’s invitation to witness this historic moment first-hand in the House gallery on Thursday.  What a thrill to watch this historic proceeding “live” and unfiltered by any television commentary — an extraordinary moment for me!  How exciting to see our distinguished alumna stride down the center aisle of the chamber as the powerful and compelling leader that she is, standing at the forefront of the Democratic leadership and California delegation as she ascended to the podium.  For me, as for others, this was an indelible memory of not only a Trinity Alumna but a Woman of Power taking her rightful place in charge of her peers in the People’s House.

    Speaker Pelosi noted in her acceptance remarks that the 116th Congress, which she now leads, has more than 100 women members at long last, in this year that also marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote.  The new Congress also reflects the triumphant march of women and men of color, representatives who are more diverse by race and ethnicity and religion and experience than any Congress in history.

    In her acceptance remarks, Speaker Pelosi noted the challenges this nation currently faces, and set a new tone of optimism and forward thinking, saying that in the recent election,

    “…the American people spoke, and demanded a new dawn.

    “They called upon the beauty of our Constitution: our system of checks and balances that protects our democracy, remembering that the legislative branch is Article I: the first branch of government, co-equal to the president and judiciary.

    “They want a Congress that delivers results for the people, opening up opportunity and lifting up their lives.

    “When our new Members take the oath, our Congress will be refreshed, and our Democracy will be strengthened by the optimism, idealism and patriotism of this transformative Freshman Class.

    “Working together, we will redeem the promise of the American Dream for every family, advancing progress for every community.

    “We must be pioneers of the future.”

    Nancy Pelosi(photo credit MSNBC screenshot)

    Nancy Pelosi loves her alma mater, and Trinity was so thrilled when she chose Trinity to host the very first televised event after her election.  So it was that we hosted the MSNBC Town Hall “The Speaker” with Joy Reid interviewing  Speaker Pelosi in O’Connor Auditorium on Friday, January 4, 2019.

    Women’s power was very much on the minds of our students and all in the audience that morning.

    Student Asks Question(screenshots above and below from MSNBC The Speaker)

    When Trinity Political Science Major Ewaoluwa Ogundana asked Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi ’62 how she handles the challenges of being the highest elected woman in America, Speaker Pelosi replied with her trademark phrase of confidence:  “Know Your Power.”  Ewaoluwa was one of several students invited to pose question to the newly-elected Speaker during the MSNBC Town Hall.

    student asking question(click on this link to watch the full segment on Women and Power)

    Students and alumnae who were present cheered loudly when Speaker Pelosi entered O’Connor Auditorium, transformed by the MSNBC crew into a dazzling set appropriate for this occasion.  MSNBC Political Correspondent Joy Reid kept the conversation lively with a number of provocative questions ranging from Impeachment to Health Care to Black Lives Matter to what it was really like to live at Trinity with the Class of 1962!  Click on those links to see the full clips of each segment!  I am so grateful to Speaker Pelosi for the many lovely comments she made about Trinity in the course of her remarks, and we are also grateful to MSNBC for the amazing coverage of her alma mater.

    Joy Reid and Nancy Pelosi(photo by Timothy Russell, Trinity)

    Before the program began, Trinity Alumna Airen Washington ’16, who is also now a master’s degree student in the Strategic Communications Program, gave a welcome and introduction for MSNBC Political Correspondent Joy Reid.  Airen (on the right in the photo, below) was also interviewed by NBC4 Anchor Barbara Harrison — see this clip of the Harrison story on the event.

    Nancy Pelosi greet Airen Washington(photo by Timothy Russell, Trinity)

    Many alumnae who saw the broadcast have written to me to comment on how impressed they were with all of the Trinity students who participated, especially those who asked questions during the Town Hall.  In addition to Airen and Ewaoluwa, above, the students asking questions included (photos are screenshots from MSNBC video):

    Carol SardinhaCarol Sardinha is a student in the Master’s in Occupational Therapy Program and she asked Speaker Pelosi how she would fix the Affordable Care Act.


    Shelley Ward (below), a student in the Journalism and Media Studies Program in SPS, asked Speaker Pelosi if she supported the Black Lives Matter movement.


    Michelle Vazquez, a first year Political Science major, posed a question about the deaths of two young children while in Border Patrol custody, and asked what Speaker Pelosi intended to do about the situation at the border.  (photo on left by Timothy Russell, Trinity)



    Meanwhile, throughout the program, the Class of 1962 (photo by Timothy Russell, below) basked in the glory of their classmate and reveled in her recollections of the “ice cream theft” and other escapades as Trinity students.


    Other notable Trinity alumnae were able to join us for the Town Hall including former Congresswoman Barbara Bailey Kennelly ’58, now a Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Trinity; and Kathleen Sebelius ’70, former Secretary of Health and Human Services and former Governor of Kansas. See Secretary Sebelius on left, below, with Peggy O’Brien of the Class of ’69, and Trinity’s Board of Trustees Chair Sister Patricia O’Brien.  Many members of the Board of Trustees, below, were also happy to salute Speaker Pelosi on this grand day.

    As the program closed, Speaker Pelosi stopped for a minute to relate one of her favorite stories (and ours!)  — at the ceremony at which President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, Speaker Pelosi in her first tenure as House Speaker was present (she was the major architect of the law) along with Secretary Sebelius who also played a major role in the legislation.  With Nancy and Kathleen standing on either side of the president, Speaker Pelosi asked President Obama if he would take a photo with the “Trinity Sisters” and he said, “Sure, where are they?” — looking around as if to search for nuns in habit.  With that, the Speaker and Secretary exclaimed, “We’re right here!” and so the famous photo of President Obama and the Trinity Sisters became history:

    Trinity SistersI love this photo and the story behind it for several reasons:  certainly the way in which it celebrates two Trinity Women who achieved so much for the people of our nation, and the smile on the president’s face tells us how much he appreciated their hard work.  The photo also illustrated a terrific article by Kevin Carey in the Washington Monthly (see “The Trinity Sisters”). But even more, the photo and story behind it — and the fact that Nancy Pelosi tells this story often — reveals the deep and lasting importance of the bonds we share across time and generations, the real love and friendship in the “Trinity Sisterhood” that has shaped and influenced Trinity Women for twelve decades.  To Know Our Power, we also have to know the value of relationships and friendships, to build strong bonds with each other, to work shoulder-to-shoulder through the hard times, to celebrate with great joy together in the good times.

    During the show, in reflecting on women and power, Nancy said that one of the important qualities of women in leadership is their ability to have each other’s backs, to support and lift up each other, to realize that none of us can accomplish anything great all on our own.  That powerful statement of leadership philosophy echoes how many women lead across many positions — and contrasts sharply with the “I, alone” hubris of some current male leaders.

    Nancy Pelosi steps up once more as Speaker of the House of Representatives at a time of tremendous challenge for our nation and our political system.  Indeed, our very future as a free people may be at risk, given the tendency toward abuses of power and threats to diminish individual rights that we keep hearing from the current administration.  Researchers on women’s leadership have noted a phenomenon known as the “glass cliff” — it means that women often become leaders in times of the most peril,  after a catastrophe, or when the house is teetering on the brink of collapse.  The election or appointment of women leaders often signifies a realization of the need for change before it’s too late — before the house falls off the cliff.  Given Speaker Pelosi’s long-proven powers as a legislator and leader, we know that she can draw a map to move this nation away from the cliff.  Given her unapologetic knowledge of her own power, we have reason to be confident that she will seize every opportunity to forge a better, stronger, more certain future, to “redeem the promise of the American Dream” she proclaimed in her acceptance speech on January 3.

    Congratulations, Speaker Pelosi, our Trinity Sister!!

    (photo credit)

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    Hope in the New Year

    December 31, 2018

    eagles flying(Eagles flying overhead at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge —
    a beautiful image of working in harmony to start the new year!)

    Somehow, it seems fitting that 2018 is departing on a soggy, gray day…. good riddance to a year of endless rain in the east, wild winds and wildfires in the west, weird weather everywhere and harbingers of the climate change disaster that looms over our small planet.  In Washington, the rancid politics of the moment leaves a bad taste and nasty odor, plunging federal workers into a period of uncertainty and unfair worry, tarnishing once bright reputations among people who tried to serve this country in an administration that seems ungovernable, let alone capable of governing the nation.  The standoff over “The Wall” is a metaphor for the paradox we face at the clock strikes midnight:  how much necessary compromise on the issues is a good and worthy objective, or does compromise mean capitulation?  We yearn for diplomats and deal makers, leaders who know how to thread their way through opposition and controversy to achieve what’s best for “We, the People” who are the real government of our nation.

    Nancy Pelosi at Dreamer Symposium(Photo by Summer Faulk – Leader Pelosi speaks at Dreamer Symposium at Trinity, October 2017)

    The new year begins with new leadership in the United States House of Representatives, and Trinity takes rightful pride in the considerable achievement of Speaker-of-the-House-designate Nancy Pelosi, Class of 1962, who is in line to receive the Speaker’s gavel once more when Congress votes on Thursday, January 3.  No woman except Nancy Pelosi has ever been Speaker of the House, a distinction she won in 2007 in her first election as speaker.  No Speaker has been re-elected to the position after a time out of office since the legendary Sam Rayburn in 1955.  Speaker Pelosi has the experience and savvy to change the dialogue in Washington for the better.

    Speaker Pelosi will take office this time in a moment that verges on a national crisis.  The government is in a partial shutdown mode; the humanitarian crisis at the border is growing; climate change is an urgent issue, but so are other issues: protecting the hard-won gains of healthcare reform, addressing the utterly immoral proliferation of guns and the violence that our gun-soaked culture endures, tackling the vexing immigration issues sensibly and with a sense of respect for the human beings that are caught up in nightmares often not of their own making, particularly the young undocumented Dreamers.  So much is on the agenda, and Speaker Pelosi will have to use all of the lessons she’s learned in more than 30 years in Congress to find a pathway through to solutions, good compromises and lasting legislative achievements for our nation.  We pray that she will have the strength and wisdom to help lead our nation through the current turmoil to a better place for all.

    Closer to home, Trinity will be starting 2019 with much joy and excitement.  On Friday, January 4, we will welcome Speaker Pelosi for a Town Hall with MSNBC host Joy Ann Reid, a marvelous opportunity for our students to dialogue with our sister alumna about the critical issues on her agenda.

    Immediately following the Town Hall on Friday morning, we will be racing over to the Trinity Center to put the final touches on plans for the 2019 Winter Commencement that takes place on the evening of January 4.  We have a wonderful group of graduates from all programs, and the ceremony will be festive and full of joy.  Don’t miss the wonderful stories of some of our newest grads published on my prior blog.

    In the year ahead, Trinity will be launching some wonderful new ventures.  We have just received funding from the Mellon Foundation to create the Trinity Global Leadership Initiative and I will be sharing much more on this as we start the spring 2019 semester.  We have some great news of much progress in our Nursing Program and Masters’s in Occupational Therapy Program, and other ideas are percolating for academic initiatives across our five schools.  We are looking forward to starting planning in earnest for a major renovation of Alumnae Hall — a project that will take a number of years to complete, and will require a big capital campaign, but something that we all know will be very exciting and certainly welcome.  We are starting to think about that 125th Anniversary of Trinity’s founding — August 20, 2022 will mark our 100th birthday! — so lots to do as we think about that festive moment.

    Even as so much is going on at Trinity, we look to the community beyond Michigan Avenue and constantly ask ourselves what more Trinity can do to be of service.  We are having discussions with the D.C. Public Schools about some initiatives that will strengthen our partnerships, and we are also working with some area charter and private schools to develop some additional programs.   Our colleagues in the School of Education are also doing some extraordinarily important work on Adverse Childhood Experiences and they are planning a major symposium in April to present research and foster dialogue on solutions.

    We also know that Trinity’s leadership in women’s education and advancement is vitally important for our city and nation, and following-up on work we did during the fall, we are planning a symposium on the topic of sexual violence and the #MeToo movement.  The program will include an opportunity to consider next steps for the Catholic Church as the clergy child abuse scandal continues to rock the faithful.

    Amid all of our many plans and activities, in the year ahead the most important thing we can do at Trinity is to stay faithful to the ideals that have been our bedrock for more than a century:  to uphold human dignity and treat all people a worthy of respect and affirmation; to promote the idea of social justice as a central commitment to action for those who are on the margins; to advance opportunities for education and leadership for women and men who share these values, who want to leverage the power of a Trinity education to make good and lasting change in their communities, nation and world.  We do all of this inspired by the courage, wisdom and faith of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur who had the best idea ever when they founded Trinity, and whose commitment to our ideals in education, social justice and faith empower our progress each day.

    Happy New Year to all!

    eagles flying high(Resolved to Fly High Each Day in 2019!!)

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    Voices of Trinity: Winter Graduates Share Their Stories!

    December 26, 2018

    January 4, 2019 is a big day for Trinity.  In the morning we will celebrate with our distinguished alumna Speaker-of-the-House-designate Nancy Pelosi ’62 in an event that will be broadcast that evening on MSNBC.  But another huge event about very high achievement will also take place at 5 pm on January 4 — Commencement for our winter graduates!  More than 200 Trinity Women and Men will receive their degrees and join Nancy Pelosi and nearly 14,000 other Trinity graduates in the great family of Trinity alumnae and alumni. Congratulations to all!

    I invited students who are graduating to share their stories, and as always, these short essays are a great tribute to the hard work, persistence, courage and quest for academic excellence that our students manifest each day.  Please join me in congratulating these students;

    Fehema Johnson — a 2015 grad (BA, Human Relations) now earning her MA in Counseling!

    studentI began my academic journey at Trinity Washington University in August of 2011. At the time, I was a recent high school graduate, eighteen years old, and ready to hit the ground running. I never would’ve imagined that I would commence from Trinity Washington University not once, but twice. I received my bachelor’s degree from Trinity University in 2015. I was still hungry for education and immediately following commencement, I applied to Trinity again, this time, in hopes of receiving a masters degree in School Counseling. Eager and nervous, I started my graduate degree program at Trinity in August of 2015. I was pleased with myself regarding my recent academic success and I was overjoyed to begin graduate school. In 2016, as I approached my second year in the program, I received some of the most shocking news, I was pregnant.  Puzzled and petrified, I knew that I had some choices to make. As I weighed my options, I thought about things, but none of them involved quitting school or giving up. At nine months pregnant, I sat in class completing a group project, knowing that on the following day, I would be admitted into the hospital to deliver my son via scheduled C-section. I returned to school two weeks after giving birth, determined to finish the educational journey I started, not just for myself at this point, but also for my son.  My academic journey since becoming a mom has not been easy. I have had many ups and downs. However, I rose to the occasion, and with the support of my family and friends, I was able to earn my second Trinity degree. I am proud to say that on January 4, 2019, I will receive my masters of arts degree in School Counseling Urban Youth. God has truly blessed me.

    Jordan Washington, BA in Human Relations, minor in Forensic Psychology

    Being a transfer student from Delaware State University, I never thought Trinity would be home for me to finish my degree. I left Delaware State because my grandfather became sick with cancer and I wanted to be closer to him. So, once I found out I had to get the ball rolling and find a school closer to home. I had to choose from Trinity, UDC, and Catholic University. Of course Trinity was my first pick, but I didn’t know much about the school. Research had to be done, so I could find out more. I found out that the school was all girls and that alone made me happy because I could focus more. I am happy that I picked Trinity because I have met great professors, financial aid counselors, and advisors. Actually, I never thought Trinity would have become home for me but I am glad I have chosen this University. At Trinity, I am majoring in Human Relations and minoring in Forensic Psychology. When I graduate I will be becoming a Case Manager caring for kids or immigrants. I am thankful for spending these last four years at Trinity Washington University.

    Annyck Hamez, MA in Counseling

    I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s in the North of France. The place of women at that time was still much in evolution, and the traditional gender roles were still widely practiced. I struggled to convince my parents to let me enroll in the Université Catholique de Lille, in the Education program. I completed my degree in 1984. The second phase of my life included meeting the father of my children, an American man. This is when I came to the US. From 1985 to 2015, I raised two children of my own, and taught French to various Washington DC communities. At the same time, I went through an entire personal awakening, with a motivation to pursue a higher degree, and make a career switch. The mission remains to help out in the community, where I have been living for over 30 years now. Today, I am graduating with a whole lot of positive qualities, I have developed on my own, such as: self-confidence, integrity, gentle assertion in any group, and a boundless open mind towards others. I am looking at continuing my contribution to this local society, and enjoy a peaceful life with my family, and friends.

    Karina Flores, BA in Health Services, Health & Wellness Track

    The path to my degree was not linear, especially since I was an undecided major. I did not start out strong and was discouraged with my grades, so I decided to drop out my sophomore year to become certified in massage therapy. After losing 2 semesters, I came back to continue my education and my grades were better than ever. Returning was the best decision because I learned so much about myself that I would not have known if I stayed out of school. I spent a semester advocating for environmental justice in the DC area as a project for a political science class. I used the knowledge I learned from my chemistry teacher, Dr. Hsieh, to teach my classmates health risks at the molecular level and created obtainable solutions. This project fueled my interest in health and the importance of keeping our bodies & communities clean. I also learned that I have a talent in statistics and loved it so much I took it again in the 200 & 300 level! It became a hobby that can be useful for future research. All these classes were mandatory, but I am extremely thankful that they helped shape who I am today. I’ve always had an interest in wellness and plan to pursue a career in holistic health. As I reached the end of my college career, I made it a goal to offer guidance to my younger peers who are just starting out. I helped classmates study for quizzes and offered advice on assignments. I did not want my friends to get discouraged at the starting line like I did. We are all capable of remarkable things so keep up the good work! I am grateful for the wonderful teachers who showed that they cared, and I am confident that they will continue to create future leaders.

    Mirna Gricelda Romero-Sanchez, B.A.  Business Administration, minor in Women’s Studies

    I am Mirna Gricelda Romero-Sanchez, I was born in El Salvador, and I came to the U.S.A as a young girl and completed my high school here in Washington, D.C. I always had the ambition to complete a college degree but there were many obstacles. So much happened after I received my high school Diploma. I worked at several jobs to support myself and my children at Sibley Memorial Hospital in the housekeeping department where I learned a lot; I also worked at Liberty Language Service, as medical Interpreter but, I always had the urge to attend an institution of higher learning.  There were many times that I felt deprived of higher learning. I had no funds to pursue my hopes and dreams. I sincerely thank my scholarship TheDream.US sponsors who gave me this wonderful opportunity to attend Trinity Washington University to fulfill my goal. I know that often I felt like giving up, but I am so grateful to the father of my two children and my family who strongly supported me through difficult times. I do feel proud of myself and I want to be a role model for my children Mateo and Christina. I want to make a difference in my community because I know that education is the key to success. I thank you, God, for this amazing opportunity to complete my college degree within 3years.


    If you would like to add your story to this marvelous testimony of achievement, email me ( paragraph and your photo and I will keep posting the stories of our graduates to this blog.

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



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