Year-End Review of Campus Events

The 2005-06 academic year brought a variety of guest lecturers to campus as well as an array of concerts, presentations, and all manner of engaging events fill the campus calendar. Here is a chronological sampling of some of the highlights.

Early in the fall semester, Claude Steele, Lucie Stern Professor in the Social Sciences at  Stanford University, came to campus to deliver a lecture entitled “Identity Happens: How it Shapes Performance, Emotion, and Our Lives in a Diverse Society.” Dr. Steele is well known for his theory of “stereotype threat,” which describes how negative group images can affect intellectual performance and inter-group relations.

The College hosted a symposium entitled “Women Making History” in honor of Barbara Sicherman, the retired William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of American Institutions and Values, who taught history and American studies at the College from 1982 to 2005. The late September symposium brought together scholars, students, and the general public to reassess the ways in which women have shaped the course of their own lives and the lives of others and to consider how the lives of women historians and the writing of women’s history has changed since the field took root in the academy more than three decades ago. 

“Israel, Palestine, & Gaza: Will Unilateral Withdrawal Revive the Peace Process?” was the topic of a fall lecture by Matthew Silver, a lecturer in the Jewish and World History Department at Emek Yezreel College in Israel. Dr. Silver asked the question, “Has the Gaza disengagement turned the page onto a new, more optimistic future for the Palestinians and the Israelis, or will it undermine the hopes for peace?” A lively and thought-provoking discussion followed the lecture.

Mather Hall was the site for the Fifth Annual Conference of the Consortium on High Achievement and Success (CHAS) Working Group on the Satisfaction, Success, and Retention of African American and Latino Male College Students. Trinity is one of more than 30 prestigious liberal arts institutions that hold membership in the unique consortium. The purpose of the mid-November conference was to allow campus teams from CHAS institutions to learn from each other’s strengths and experiences and to re-examine their own efforts, resources, and strategies for establishing and/or enhancing programs that positively impact their African American and Latino male student constituencies. 

In March, the Human Rights Program presented the first annual Fred Pfeil Memorial Lecture in memory of social activist and Professor of English Fred Pfeil, who passed away November 29, 2005. The lecture, entitled “The Global State of the Death Penalty,” was delivered by Victor Streib P’06, the Ella and Ernest Fisher Professor of Law at Ohio Northern University, who teaches courses on criminal law and capital punishment.

Do Latinos equate “no religion” with secularism?  Is there a secular tradition among Latinos? These were among a host of questions and related issues addressed by a panel of scholars during a March 7 colloquium presented by the Trinity-affiliated Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture (ISSSC). Held in the Terrace Rooms in Mather Hall, “Are U.S. Latino Society & Culture Undergoing Secularization?” began with a presentation of key findings from the 2001 American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) by ISSSC Associate Director Ariela Keysar.

From a short film featuring stand-up comedians explaining that “Allah Made Me Funny” to a night of poetry and reflection on the life and times of the Prophet Muhammad, members of the Trinity and Hartford communities were treated in April to a series of informative and entertaining events designed to better acquaint non-Muslims with the particulars of the world’s second-largest religion. Organized and coordinated by the Muslim Students Association, the College’s first annual Islam Awareness Week sought to engage participants in intellectual and spiritual conversations about Islam. The program was entitled “Bridging the Gap: Islam’s True Colors.”

Augustine Hungwe, the Patricia C. and Charles H. McGill III ’63 Fellow in International Studies, and students from the “Human Rights in a Global Age” class held two public events in April dealing with the war on terror. The first event involved students leading an exciting panel discussion focusing on the war in Iraq and the future of U.S. troops there. The second event was “The Moot Trial of Osama bin Laden,” in which the Al Qaeda leader was charged with masterminding the September 11 terrorist attacks and related crimes.

In late April the College hosted the first ever large-scale International Hip-Hop Festival. The three-day event, which was organized by students and included documentary films, lectures, and panel discussions, boasted a line up of performers from as far away as Brazil, Kenya, Tanzania, India, and Korea. Performances were in more than seven languages, including Spanish, Portuguese, and Swahili.

Toward the end of the academic year Hillel sponsored a memorable lecture by Alvin Corwin, who served as a captain in an American anti-aircraft unit during World War II and was one of the liberators at the Frodenhein Labor Camp in Germany. A winner of the Bronze Star for heroic service, Mr. Corwin commanded displaced persons camps in Germany after the war.

For a complete listing of lectures this academic year, beginning in September, please go to


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