HARTFORD, CT, May 22, 2013 – It’s not easy keeping a secret on the Trinity campus, but an enterprising group of 25 public policy and law students managed to do just that for six months while they ever-so-quietly solicited contributions from classmates, alumni and parents to pay homage to two of their professors.
The cat was let out of the bag, so to speak, when at a Smith House dinner honoring the program’s graduating seniors, the Adrienne Fulco and Edward Cabot Public Policy and Law Fund was unveiled. The fund’s income will be used to support students in what has arguably become one of the College’s most popular programs.
The public policy and law major is an interdisciplinary program in which students learn and practice methods and modes of thinking required to understand and become engaged in the analysis of legal and public policy issues. Grounded in the liberal arts, the program provides students with the tools of analysis and social science, law, and the humanities needed to understand public policy concerns.
Fulco, associate professor and Director of the Public Policy and Law Program, and Cabot, adjunct professor of public policy, who comprise the backbone of the program, were surprised, appreciative and wowed by the tribute.
“This is the most fulfilling work that I’ve ever done.” said Cabot, who is an attorney and has been national chair of Common Cause, a political aide, a public official and president of the New York Chamber of Commerce and Industry, among other positions. “I have a sense every day that I’m making a difference and that the ripples of our teaching go beyond what we will ever see.”
Fulco, who has been a faculty member at Trinity since 1983, said she felt “humbled” by the experience. “The money is wonderful but the real tribute is that [the students] did this and that they had the knowledge and savvy to get it done,” she said. “Being good citizens and knowing how to give back – that to me is precious.”
From left to right, Paige Greene '13, Jack Nettleton '13, Adrienne Fulco, associate professor and Director of the Public Policy and Law Program, Edward Cabot, adjunct professor of public policy, and Shaun Stuer '13.
Paige Greene ’13, who, along with fellow seniors Jack Nettleton and Shaun Stuer, spearheaded the effort, said they intentionally wanted to keep the fund a secret so that they could surprise their two instructors.
Nettleton said the trio brainstormed last fall in terms of what they could do “to make Trinity a better place,” to pay tribute to two influential professors and to create a legacy for the senior class in the Public Policy and Law Program.
They came up with the idea of the endowed fund, which includes gifts from students, friends, alumni, trustees and parents. The money, which Greene, Nettleton and Stuer hope will reach $50,000 within the next four years, can be used for – but is not limited to – senior thesis research, independent study projects, faculty-student engagement luncheons as well as guest and alumni lecture series.
“It became a program-wide effort, a team effort by all of the graduating public policy and law majors,” said Stuer.
Nettleton said the students wanted to demonstrate how the Public Policy and Law Program was special, that students viewed it as “a community and family on campus. There’s a strong bond and connection. It helped me to adapt and thrive at Trinity,” he said.
Added Stuer: “Professors Fulco and Cabot have been like a mom and dad here. They’ve been so instrumental to my development, both inside and outside the classroom.” He noted that the three classmates felt it was important “to give Professors Fulco and Cabot the resources they need to support activities related to the major. They’re here all hours of the day and the night."
Greene said she could tell from her first year that the Public Policy and Law Program was right for her. “They were not afraid to challenge us. I had the best time ever in my classes.”
In sum, said Nettleton, the students created the endowed fund in the names of Fulco and Cabot “because we love them.” To which Cabot replied, “And we love them back.”