The Reverend Allison Read, College Chaplain
“Students show themselves to be their most passionate, vulnerable, and inquisitive selves through the spiritual and religious life programs at Trinity” says Allison Read, Trinity College chaplain.
Read, who oversees all spiritual and religious programs at Trinity, also leads Chapel worship and encourages Christian community life on campus. She is passionate about the spiritual formation of college students, seeking to take them and their religious inquiries seriously while fostering some fun and liveliness in religious life at Trinity.
“My own appreciation for the people who were attentive to my involvement in religious life as an undergraduate motivates me to do what I do now,” adds Read.
Chaplain Read is an Episcopal priest, ordained in the diocese of New York in 2003. She served as a Lilly Fellow at St. James’ Episcopal Church in Manhattan and as Assistant Rector and Priest-in-Charge at Christ Church in Short Hills, New Jersey, before coming to Trinity College in January 2008.
Read earned a master’s of Divinity from Yale Divinity School where she was awarded the John A. Wade Prize for expository preaching. She also holds a diploma in Anglican Studies from the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, an M.A. in Religion from Yale Divinity School, and a B.A. from the University of Virginia. She is Trinity’s eighth chaplain and the second woman to serve in that capacity.
Read seeks to honor the legacy and maintain the traditions of the Trinity College Chapel while expanding the breadth of the chaplaincy to include people and programs as diverse as our twenty-first century student body.
Marwa Saied Aly, Muslim Chaplain
Marwa Saied Aly became the second Muslim chaplain at Trinity in September 2008. As adviser to Trinity’s Muslim Students Association, she trains students to lead the weekly Friday congregational prayers (Jumu’ah) and other spiritual and secular activities. Aly also is engaged in ensuring that the Trinity community has accurate information about Islam.
“That is why we sponsor various outreach events such as Islam Awareness Week and Eid (Festival) Banquets,” says Aly. “We aim to be as inclusive as possible, providing a safe space for anyone interested in Islam.”
Aly, who provides pastoral care and counseling, serves as a liaison between the Muslim students and faculty or the administration.
“Trinity is a place which has repeatedly offered accommodations for the Muslim students even though they are a small minority on campus,” adds Aly. “We have our own prayer space, and dining accommodations are made specifically for Muslim students who observe the month of Ramadan.”
The Muslim Prayer Room, located in South Summit 100, is used for the Friday congregational prayers (Jumu’ah) and other spiritual observances as well as study circles, breaking fasts, meetings, etc. Aly’s office also is located in this room.
Aly earned a bachelors degree in Middle Eastern studies and Philosophy from Fordham University in New York. She will complete her master’s in Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations in 2011 and is also in the process of completing her certification in Islamic Chaplaincy through the Hartford Seminary.
John Rose, College Organist and Director of Chapel Music
“The Trinity College Chapel offers a splendid opportunity for a variety of music making,” says John Rose, College Organist and Director of Chapel Music.
Rose’s role in the musical life of the Chapel is extensive. He directs The Chapel Singers, who sing at Vespers on Sundays and at special services, college convocations and concerts on campus and beyond.
Rose, who came to Trinity in 1977, also serves as an Adjunct Professor of Music, ex officio, in the Department of Music where he directs the Trinity College Choir. In addition, he is faculty coordinator of the private music lessons program.
“We are fortunate that the Chapel houses two magnificent pipe organs: the main Chapel organ, which contains nearly 5,000 pipes and a mechanical (tracker) organ, which provides students the opportunity to play two distinct types of organs,” he adds. Rose, along with his organ students, plays at Chapel services and at other events.
A celebrated concert organist, Rose began his professional career at the age of twenty, when he was appointed organist of the Sacred Heart Cathedral/Basilica in New Jersey. He has since performed across the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe and Australia as a recitalist and orchestral soloist.
Rose earned a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University, where he was also an instructor in organ. He was a student of the late Virgil Fox for seven years. Rose is an elected member of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences and an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in London and a member of the Association of Anglican Musicians and The American Guild of Organists.
The Reverend Michael J. Dolan, Roman Catholic Chaplain
The Reverend Michael J. Dolan joined the Trinity community in 2004. He describes his role as Trinity’s Roman Catholic chaplain as “facilitating worship, providing spiritual direction, and presenting a Catholic viewpoint within the campus community.”
Under Father Dolan’s care, Trinity’s Roman Catholic ministry offers regular worship for staff and students, as well as opportunities for pastoral counseling. Roman Catholic students are active participants in community outreach initiatives and in dialogues aimed at promoting better understanding among all people of the College.
“Trinity challenges every student, staff and faculty member in all their convictions, beliefs and intellectual conclusions,” says Fr. Dolan. “It is an invigorating venture of faith seeking understanding.”
Fr. Dolan is the Director of Campus Ministry and Vocation Director for the Archdiocese of Hartford. He also serves as the Archbishop’s liaison to the Islamic community. He has ministered to churches in Massachusetts and Connecticut and provided pastoral care at Cedar Crest Psychiatric Hospital in Newington.
Ordained to the Archdiocese of Hartford in 1996, Fr. Dolan earned a bachelor’s degree in History from Assumption College and a master’s of Divinity from Saint John Seminary. He also studied at Boston College, Weston School of Theology, The Hartt School at the University of Hartford, and in the Christian-Muslim Relations Program at Hartford Seminary.
Lisa Kassow—Director, Trinity Hillel
Lisa Pleskow Kassow became the first full-time Hillel director in 2001. Kassow sees her role as helping students create a warm and welcoming community based on Jewish values, ethics, and culture.
“Hillel is open to all students and serves as an educational resource for those who want to share Jewish experiences with our vibrant and accepting community,” says Kassow. “Part of my mission at Hillel is to promote opportunities for students to participate in leadership development as well as educational and community service programs connected to Jewish life – locally, nationally and internationally.”
Kassow oversees events and activities at the Zachs Hillel House, a dramatic 8,000 square foot building on Vernon Street. Under Kassow’s care, the Zachs Hillel House serves as a home-away-from home where students can spend time with others in a comfortable and warm environment. Kassow’s office is also located at Hillel House.
Kassow, who lived and worked in Jerusalem, Israel as a photojournalist, received the Simon Rockower Award for Excellence in Photojournalism. She holds a B.F.A. in Art from Carnegie Mellon University. Kassow is the founder of the Hartford Jewish Film Festival and a 2008 recipient of the Jewish Vision Award from the Charter Oak Cultural Center in Hartford, CT.
Ellen Dickinson, College Carillonneur
The 49-bell Plumb Memorial Carillon, housed in the Trinity College Chapel tower, is one of the finest in the country, and Ellen Dickinson is the College’s official Carillonneur. She discovered the carillon at Yale University, where she received a B.A. in Music and a Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music and Institute of Sacred Music.
Dickinson has performed carillon concerts throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. In addition to her role as Trinity’s Carillonneur, she also serves as Yale University’s carillon consultant and adviser and is Director of Music at Norfield Congregational Church in Weston, Connecticut. In 2006, Dickinson co-founded the Jubilate Ringers, a community hand bell ensemble.
As an undergraduate, Dickinson was co-chair and Summer Carillonneur of the Yale University Guild of Carillonneurs. She has attended the Summer Academy at the Netherlands Carillon School in Amersfoort, and is a Carillonneur member of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America (GCNA).
Robert Edward Smith, College Composer in Residence
“For a composer, knowing that your work means something to another person is the greatest satisfaction imaginable,” says Robert Edward Smith, Trinity College composer in residence.
Smith, who has written music for vocal and instrumental ensembles of all sizes, ranging from unaccompanied viola to symphony orchestra, has been composing music for Trinity since 1979. Students perform his work at special events and services taking place in the Chapel.
Smith says he is deeply gratified that students enjoy performing his music.
“I remember a reunion of the Chapel Singers when, after dinner, they all sang a piece I composed on a Latin text about the importance of learning,” recalls Smith. “Many of the singers had not seen each other, or sung my work, for years, yet they sang the piece from memory and with great enthusiasm.”
An acclaimed composer and a distinguished harpsichordist, recent works include Sonata III for Viola and Harpsichord; Diana, Queen and Huntress, a concert overture for orchestra; and A Place of Beauty, a one act chamber opera. Smith is also the first person since the eighteenth century to have performed the complete harpsichord literature of François Couperin. His recording, J.S. Bach: Harpsichord Music in the Grand Manner was named one of the best recordings of the year by the American Record Guide in 1996.
Smith has been Director of the renowned Trinity College Summer Chamber Music Series since 1998. He holds a bachelor of science, with a major in Harpsichord from Mannes College of Music in New York.
Garret Condon—Trinity Zen
Garret Condon, co-coordinator of the Trinity Zen Group, helped found the group in 1997. He is a longtime member and director of the New Haven Zen Center and became a Dharma Teacher in the Kwan Um School of Zen in 1997. A longtime health journalist, Condon now manages Hartford Hospital's website and is a graduate student in public health. He holds a bachelor's degree from Providence College and a master's degree in English from Trinity College. He is currently a graduate student in Public Health at the University of Connecticut.
John Elias—Trinity Zen
John Elias, co-coordinator of the Trinity Zen group, helped found the group in 1997. He is a longtime member of the New Haven Zen Center and became a Dharma teacher in 2004. John, a Vietnam War veteran, is a computer engineer.
John Hayes—Director, Trinity College Gospel Choir
The Trinity College Gospel Choir (TCGC), which began in 1988, is dedicated to gospel music and the spiritual expressions of the African-American church traditions. As one of its two part-time directors, John Hayes teaches gospel music to the Choir members, leads weekly rehearsals and accompanies the Choir on piano. Since taking on this role in 2004, Hayes has seen TCGC expand its presence on campus.
“Each year, we’re seeing that more and more people are embracing what this choir brings to the campus,” says Hayes. “It is gratifying to see how moved people are once they come and experience the music and the emotion beneath it.”
Hayes grew up surrounded by gospel music. He learned it on Sundays at Ebenezer Gospel Assembly in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where his father serves as pastor. Today, the younger Hayes is the church’s assistant minister of music, and has been playing piano for the past 12 years.
John Hayes holds a B.S. in Management Information Systems from Central Connecticut State University.
Anthony Williams—Director, Trinity College Gospel Choir
Anthony Williams was “born and raised in gospel music.” He has been singing and performing with gospel choirs since childhood, and were it not for his mother’s insistence that he go to college, Williams says he might have pursued a professional career as an R&B singer.
Williams serves as one of Trinity’s two part-time Gospel Choir directors. Since 2004, he has been teaching gospel vocals to Trinity’s Gospel Choir, leading rehearsals and accompanying the choir on drums. He views the Choir as more than “just entertainment.”
“Our role is not just to entertain people, but to speak to their hearts and show them there is a God who can help heal whatever broken parts they have,” says Williams. “We understand what students are going through and the Choir is a place for them to come and get spiritual nourishment, build friendships and become better people.”
Williams, who holds a B.S. in Accounting from Central Connecticut State University, is a senior accountant for a global information content provider.