Professor Emeritus Albert Gastmann retired in 1990 after 36 years of teaching political science at Trinity. His dedication to Trinity and its students will live on in perpetuity because he directed that the majority of his estate—a bequest that will exceed $2.5 million—would go to the College to provide support in three ways: 1) enhancing resources for the Political Science Department, such as visiting lecturers, field trips, and library purchases, 2) funding the Gastmann Initiative in International Organizations and Programs, which will support Trinity’s Rome campus programs, and 3) establishing a Trinity scholarship fund giving preference to students from the Netherlands or the Netherland Antilles.
“This is a remarkable gift, for which we are very grateful,” says President James F. Jones, Jr. “Professor Gastmann’s contributions as a teacher, author, and in furthering crosscultural understanding are legendary at Trinity. To bequeath nearly his entire estate for the benefit of Trinity students and faculty is a breathtaking act of love and generosity.”
Gastmann’s Political Science Department colleague and close friend, Professor Brigitte “Gitte” Schulz, explains, “This bequest will allow us to take our students to the United Nations in New York and even on trips to visit Geneva, Brussels, Paris, and Rome. It will allow us to bring political science students from the Netherlands and the Dutch Caribbean to Hartford and also enable a faculty exchange program.”
Schulz adds, “Bert wanted to make sure that the Political Science Department would offer ample opportunities for students to explore the wider world. He wanted American students to hear professors with different accents, to travel abroad to experience other cultures, to study with students from other lands. In a word, he was interested in turning Trinity students into citizens of the world.”“An educated person is multilingual”
Albert Gastmann was a much-respected teacher and friend to hundreds—indeed thousands—of students. He stayed in contact with many former students long after graduation, attended their weddings, met them for dinner, or sometimes dropped by for an unexpected visit.
The extent to which Gastmann remained in touch with friends on multiple continents was apparent from his address book, which his former student and close friend Philip Wellman ’86 says was the first one he ever saw organized by place, rather than by name. For example, under “G,” one would find all of Gastmann’s contacts in Geneva, and there were more than a few.