History of the College

Trinity, originally known as Washington College (the name was changed in 1845), was chartered on May 16, 1823, becoming the second college in Connecticut (Yale University was the first) and the 61st in the nation. Although the College had a close but informal relationship with the Episcopal Church, from the beginning it did not use religious background as a factor in admissions.

The late 19th and early 20th centuries were a formative period for Trinity as the industrialization of the American economy began to be reflected in the curricula and institutional practices of the College. As the model of the modern university began to evolve, Trinity reaffirmed its commitment to remain a liberal arts college, to support expansion to a regional institution, and to increase enrollment to an optimum of 500 students. In 1968, Trinity aimed to admit a substantially larger number of underrepresented minority students; and less than a year later, the trustees voted to admit women as undergraduates for the first time. Over the next 20 years, the College expanded enrollment to 1,800 and increased faculty to more than 200. In 1995, Trinity began to devote increased attention to the needs of the surrounding neighborhoods, working to ease the social and economic problems common to American cities.

Central to that initiative is the Learning Corridor, an education complex that opened in 1997 adjacent to Trinity’s campus that includes a public, Montessori-style elementary school, the first Boys & Girls Club in the country to be located at a college, and the Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (HMTCA), among others. The academy allows middle and high school students to stay within the same magnet school environment, and Trinity faculty help shape the curriculum with the ultimate goal of preparing all of the students for their college years at Trinity or any institution of higher education.

Amid continuing change, our commitment to liberal arts education remains steadfast. By maintaining a rigorous curriculum grounded in the liberal arts and sciences, the College can most effectively help its students discover their strengths, develop their individual potential, and prepare themselves for lives that are both personally satisfying and valuable to others. With this mission clearly in view, Trinity moves confidently into the future as one of the nation’s leading independent liberal arts colleges.