Golden Jubilee Citation for the Class of 1959
On the Occasion of the 50th Reunion in 2009
Delicately balanced at the pinnacle of time after and time before — after Korea, before Vietnam; after the peace, before the revolution; after Rosie the Riveter, before Bette Friedan; after the silent sacred murmur of et cum spirtu tuo, before the casual vernacular of “and also with you…” — the Class of 1959 descended upon Trinity in the Fall of 1955 with the boundless optimism of girls becoming women whose college packing instructions included stuffed animals and tea dance dresses. Sister Columba sternly apprised you while Sister Ann Francis gently allowed you (at least on occasion). Your lives were full of serious assignments and Father Burke’s enlightened theology and excursions to the Mayflower and too many nights in the smoker when books gave way to banter. Little could you anticipate your small brush with history when Senator John F. Kennedy stood to address you in O’Connor Auditorium.
The world was moving fast beneath your feet.
In 1959, the world said goodbye to Cecil B. DeMille, Frank Lloyd Wright, George C. Marshall, Billie Holiday, and Errol Flynn while the babies coming into the world in ’59 included Brian Williams, Magic Johnson, Sarah Ferguson, Eliot Spitzer and Marie Osmond. (With all due respect, this doesn’t sound like a completely fair exchange.) Buddy Holly went down on the day the music died. Barbie was born.
Batista fled and Castro moved into Havana. DeGaulle became president of France and Pope John XXIII announced the Second Vatican Council. Alaska and Hawaii became new stars on the American flag. Two monkeys made a trip into outer space, becoming famous as the first creatures who lived to tell the tale. 7 men showed that they had “the right stuff” to become the first American astronauts.
From graduation day you ventured out to a world that was everything you expected and nothing you could have predicted. In the short span of a decade, the cold war got very hot, the counterculture challenged the establishment everywhere, Vietnam went from flashpoint to quagmire, the civil rights movement transformed institutions and workplaces, women’s horizons expanded infinitely, and Catholics started praying in plain English. By 1969 a man walked on the moon, looking down on a planet scarred by assassinations, riots, war and protests, a world seemingly gone mad at times. Through it all, and the decades since, the Class of 1959 drew upon the power, wisdom and love of your Trinity education as the stable center around which you built families and careers, influenced communities and found peace amid the chaos.
Your class survey tells us that you have been married for more than 1,000 years (collectively) and you have hundreds of children and grandchildren. Your families are your masterpieces. If you knew then what you know now, some of you might have done a few things differently, but you have lived your lives with no regrets.
Today you are triumphant on another pinnacle, the amber light of this great Gold Class illuminating a past of fidelity and a future filled with hope. May you go forth from this Chapel filled with the same spirit of optimism and faith that you took with you on that bright commencement day in 1959 when you first ventured forth as Trinity Alumnae.
In proud recognition of your achievements through 50 years of proclaiming Trinity’s ideals in families and communities around the world, Trinity is pleased to bestow upon the Gold Class of 1959 the Golden Jubilee Medal.