Throughout our history, Trinity has remained true to our urban roots, devoted to our liberal arts foundation, and rooted in the principles of inclusion and freedom of thought and expression.

Major Milestones in Trinity’s History

  • 1823: Trinity is founded as Washington College, the second college in the state of Connecticut. Although our earliest heritage was Episcopalian, our charter prohibits the imposition of religious standards on any student, faculty members or other members of the college, consistent with the forces of religious diversity and toleration in force at the time.
  • 1824: Trinity moves to our first campus, which consisted of just two Greek Revival-style buildings.
  • 1830: The college awards its first academic degree to a black person in preparation for his work as missionary and educator. The Rev. Edward Jones, an alumnus of Amherst College, is ordained a priest by Bishop Brownell, and receives the Master of Arts degree in course.
  • 1845: The college’s name is changed from Washington College to Trinity College.
  • 1872: Trustees sell the “College Hill” campus to the City of Hartford as the site for a new State Capitol.
  • 1876: The student body grows to nearly 100, a size rarely exceeded until the 20th century.
  • 1878: Trinity moves to its current 100-acre location.
  • Late 1800s/early 1900s: The college increases the number of Ph.D.s on the faculty, introduces more electives into the curriculum, adds and strengthens its science programs, and doubles the number of library holdings. Trinity increases enrollment to an optimum 500 students.
  • 1968: Trinity commits to admitting a substantially larger number of African American and other minority students.
  • 1969: Trinity votes to admit women as undergraduates for the first time.
  • 1969-1989: Enrollment increases to 1,800, and faculty grows to more than 200. Trinity begins to actively increase the number of women and minority in the faculty and administration.
  • 1995: Trinity devotes increased attention to the needs of surrounding neighborhoods, working to ease the social and economic problems common to American cities. The Learning Corridor includes schools, a child care center, health and technology center, and Boys & Girls Club, serving suburban and Hartford students and teachers. Trinity students begin to engage in volunteer work, internships, and research projects in conjunction with these initiatives.
  • 1999: The men’s squash team under Coach Paul Assaiante becomes the first in Division III competition to win the National Intercollegiate Squash Racquets’ Association team championships and begins what will become the longest unbeaten streak in any intercollegiate sport in the nation’s history.
  • 2008: Renovation of The Long Walk is completed, preserving the historic and architectural integrity of the three buildings (Seabury, Jarvis, and Northam Towers) while outfitting the classrooms, faculty offices, and student suite-style rooms with modern, state-of-the-art amenities.
  • 2014: Joanne Berger Sweeney becomes the 22nd president of Trinity College, marking many firsts: she is the first woman, first African American, and first neuroscientist to become president of the college.

Past Presidents

2004-2014 James F. Jones, Jr., H’14, 2004-2014
​2003-2004 ​ Borden W. Painter, Jr. ’58, H’95
2002-2003 Richard H. Hersh
2001-2002 Ronald R. Thomas H’02, Acting President
1995-2001 Evan S. Dobelle H’01
1994-1995 Borden W. Painter, Jr. ’58, H’95, Acting President
1989-1994 Tom Gerety
1981-1989 James Fairfield English, Jr., H’89
1968-1981 Theodore Davidge Lockwood ’48, H’81
1953-1968 Albert Charles Jacobs H’68
1945-1951 George Keith Funston ’32
1943-1945, 1951-1953 ​Arthur Howard Hughes M’38, H’46, Acting President ​
1920-1943 Remsen Brinckerhoff Ogilby
1915-1916, 1919-1920 Henry Augustus Perkins, Acting President
1904-1919 Flavel Sweeten Luther ’70, H’04
1883-1904 George Williamson Smith H’87
1874-1883 Thomas Ruggles Pynchon ’41
1867-1874 Abner Jackson ’37
1864-1866 John Barrett Kerfoot H’65
1861-1864 Samuel Eliot H’57
1860-1861, 1864, 1866-1867, 1874 ​ John Brocklesby H’45, Acting President ​
1853-1860 Daniel Raynes Goodwin
1848-1853 John Williams ’35
1837-1848 Silas Totten
1831-1837 Nathaniel Sheldon Wheaton
1824-1831 Thomas Church Brownell

Now that you know where we’ve been, find out where we’re going next. Read our strategic plan for the future of Trinity College.