Trinity College Announces Leadership Changes

President Jones to Retire in 2014; Cornelia Thornburgh ’80 Elected Chair-Elect of Board of Trustees

HARTFORD, CT, May 6, 2013 – Trinity College today announced plans concerning changes in two strategic leadership positions. First, the Board of Trustees has accepted the request of President James F. Jones, Jr., that he be able to retire as President of the College on June 30, 2014, one year earlier than his original date of June 30, 2015.

“I approached the Board of Trustees to convey that because the College now has in place a solid plan for the future, the timing is optimal for me to retire from Trinity one year earlier than my contract calls for. Several years ago, I had agreed to extend my term through June of 2015. Now, with the Cornerstone Campaign completed and much of our work related to our strategic priorities completed or well under way, I have concluded that I do not need to serve out my final year as president to ensure a successful transition for the College. I believe the stage is set for new presidential leadership at Trinity,” said President Jones.

“Two years ago President Jones generously and graciously accepted our request to stay three years beyond his original contract, which ended in 2012,” said Paul E. Raether, Chairman of the Board of Trustees. “We now feel that his wish to shorten that extended tenure by one year is in the best interest of the College, and that we have acted favorably on his wish to retire.  President Jones has always placed Trinity first, and this request from him at this time indicates once again that the College’s future is his most important priority.”

Second, in anticipation of the end of Paul E. Raether’s term as Chair of the Board of Trustees on June 30, 2014, the Board of Trustees has unanimously selected Cornelia Parsons Thornburgh, Class of 1980, as Chair-Elect of the Board of Trustees. Thornburgh will take over officially as chair on July 1, 2014.

In announcing these moves, the Board acknowledged the many significant contributions that President Jones, Chairman Raether, and Chair-Elect Thornburgh have made to Trinity College. President Jones began his appointment as its 21st President on July 1, 2004. He oversaw the multi-million dollar renovation of the Long Walk whose buildings comprise Trinity’s signature architectural appearance. He also oversaw the renovation of the Gates Quadrangle, the Mather dining facilities, and Trinity Commons; guided the College’s single largest capital campaign in its long history; and oversaw the expansion of Trinity’s study-abroad programs as well as recognition of the College by the most distinguished foundations in the country. In addition to his role as President, Jones also serves as Trinity College Professor in the Humanities, a tenured appointment he will resign when he leaves, and teaches in the classroom each fall. Known for his open-door policy among students, he welcomes individual students into his office to meet on a variety of topics, and keeps in touch with many once they graduate and enter the ranks of alumni.   

Paul Raether, Class of 1968 and Trinity parent ’93 ’96, and ’01, joined the Board in 1989 and assumed the chairmanship in May 2002. He has been the longest–sitting Chair of the Board in the history of the College. He also has been the most philanthropic of all alumni at Trinity College. His enduring contributions to, and affection for, Trinity include the completion of the Raether Library, the endowment of five Raether faculty chairs, significant faculty development initiatives, and the Dream Camp summer program for Hartford children. All of these gifts have been made with his wife Wendy and their daughters, all three of whom are Trinity graduates. Raether has also supported key Trinity initiatives anonymously, serving as a quiet benefactor of many critical endeavors.

Cornelia Parsons Thornburgh joined the Board of Trustees in 2005.  Since then she has been actively involved in every facet of the Board’s activities. She served as tri-chair of the Cornerstone Campaign and was National Chair of the Trinity Annual Fund. She co-chaired the Charter Committee for Building Community at Trinity and is a founder of the Women’s Leadership Council. She and her husband Richard provided funding for the creation of four theme houses on campus, and Thornburgh is currently the liaison to the Board of Trustees as Trinity implements the new social initiatives unanimously adopted in October from the Charter Committee’s recommendations. Both Raether and Thornburgh have been stalwart contributors to, and advocates of, the Career Development Center at Trinity.

A search committee will be formed for a new President of the College and will consist of trustees, faculty and students. In accordance with best practices, Thornburgh, as Chair-Elect of the Board of Trustees, will head the search committee.