College Update Following Board of Trustees Meeting

October 26, 2016

Dear Members of the Trinity Community,

The autumn season is one of my favorite times of year on our campus.  I can’t believe it, but, in fact, we have reached the halfway point in the fall semester.  On a daily basis, I am impressed by what I see in abundance at Trinity: the high caliber of teaching, learning, and scholarship; the focus, drive, and passion of teams working together; devotion to creative endeavors of all kinds; the depth of community engagement; and the bold, independent spirit of our students pursuing their liberal arts education, both inside and outside of the classroom.

Members of the Board of Trustees, who were on campus October 14 and 15 for the fall trustees meeting, were pleased to have opportunities to interact with students, faculty, and staff.  Our trustees were inspired by the level of engagement and accomplishment that they witnessed.  The trustees are encouraged by the College’s progress on many important fronts, including increasing admissions metrics, first-year retention, and national college rankings.  As I have done before, I’d like to share with you the highlights of the Board of Trustees meeting: 

  • New Mission Statement.  The trustees approved a new mission statement for the College.  Our 10-year NEASC reaccreditation study asks us to reconsider our mission statement to determine if it is still relevant.  Many of our constituencies found the previous mission statement not sufficiently inspirational or aspirational, prompting us to revise it.  The updated mission statement was developed over a period of nine months with input from more than 500 people.  Our new mission statement is meant to emphasize both the traditional strength of the liberal arts education as well as to articulate Trinity’s distinctiveness, and it will serve as the anchor for the College’s ongoing strategic planning process.  
  • Audited Financial Statement.  The trustees reviewed and approved Trinity’s audited financial statement for the 2015-16 fiscal year.  We received “clean” financial statements from independent auditors.
  • Crescent Street Liberal Arts Building.  Faculty and staff representatives of the planning committees for the Crescent Street Building​ made the project come alive for the trustees, who approved the building moving forward.  The planning committee members shared the architectural plans for the building, which has been designed to foster creativity and collaboration across disciplines.  We are all enthusiastic about the future home of the Neuroscience Program, an Arts Creativity Corridor, and a Student Common space.  The targeted completion of this new building is summer 2017.    
  • Constitution Plaza.  The trustees approved moving forward with selling 200 Constitution Plaza and leasing back space on Constitution Plaza.  Due to contractual obligations, details cannot be shared until the transaction is finalized.  Highlights that can be shared follow.  The three pillars for the use of our Constitution Plaza space will be: a) a specific manner to connect our undergraduate students with Hartford’s central business district; b) a site for collaborations with other Hartford institutions of higher education; and c) graduate programs that will serve the central business district, be consistent with Trinity’s mission, and expand revenues.  We are looking toward an opening of Trinity’s Constitution Plaza space in 2017, and we will have transportation between our Summit Street campus and Constitution Plaza.
Since the trustees meeting, we have heard that the Hartford/East Hartford Innovation Places planning grant has been awarded by the State of Connecticut.  Trinity is a strong partner on this planning grant to support innovation and entrepreneurship in our region. 

In total, I look forward to working with all of you as we shape Trinity’s bright future and continue our positive spiral upward.  

Sincerely,

Joanne Berger-Sweeney
President and Trinity College Professor of Neuroscience