More than 1,500 Trinity alumni, spouses, and friends gathered over Reunion weekend to take part in the College’s Alumni Bicentennial.  Spanning seven decades and five continents, attendees came together to recognize a remarkable Trinity milestone while reconnecting with classmates, faculty, and friends.

Celebrating a Community of Remarkable Achievers

While alumni return to campus every year to celebrate Reunion, the occasion of Trinity’s Bicentennial celebration brought a new level of specialized celebrations and programming designed to reconnect alumni with the College’s history, reflect on the remarkable impact Trinity has on the world at-large, and join in committing to Trinity’s bright future at the dawn of its third century.

From exhibits on the College’s history, to panel presentations with world-renowned alumni in the fields of sports, law, literature, and entertainment, the weekend programming, from June 8 to 11, centered around the Bicentennial theme, “Committing to the Future Since 1823,” which demonstrates the College’s dedication to tomorrow while reflecting on its incredible history.

Panels included a discussion about “The Art and Business of Film and TV” moderated by Academy Award-winner Will McCormack ’96, with panelists Stephen Gyllenhaal ’72, director, Billy Lazarus ’93, partner and senior agent in the Motion Picture Talent Department at United Talent Agency, and Stephanie Ritz ’90, partner at WME. When asked what his first job in the film industry was, Gyllenhaal immediately answered, “sweeping floors at Cinestudio.”

Following the program, Ritz shared her own thoughts on both the once-in-a-lifetime weekend as well as the role Trinity can play to prepare students for the industry. “Besides having an absolute blast celebrating this historic moment,” said Ritz, “I felt profound appreciation for all [Trinity] did to prepare me for the entertainment industry. If you want to work with artists, you better understand religion, philosophy, art history and economics, as well as film and theatre.”

During “The Role of Sports in Modern Society” featuring Billy Hogan ’96, CEO of the Liverpool Football Club; Sam Kennedy ’95, H’19, president and CEO of the Boston Red Sox; and Mimi MacKinnon ’04, former director of the commissioner’s office of the National Football League, moderator Robin Sheppard M’79 asked the panelists to share how Trinity has impacted their lives. “Without the friends I made at Trinity,” said Hogan, “I wouldn’t be here.”

Pulitzer Prize-winner George F. Will ’62, H’79 was a highlight of the weekend, sharing his views on the future of baseball, politics, and freedom of speech, while in conversation with fellow Pulitzer Prize-winner and former editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Baltimore Sun William K. “Bill” Marimow ’69, H’16.

Other panels included a presentation by Bantams who have carved out successful careers in law: Claudia Baio ’86, Connecticut Superior Court judge; Lisa Banks ’90, founding partner of Katz Banks Kumin LLP; and LaTanya Langley ’97, chief legal officer and corporate secretary of Edgewell Peronal Care Company. And a panel with alumni authors Charity Elder ’00 and Joanna Scott ’82, who was awarded a MacArthur Genius Award in 1992 and a Lannan Literary Award in 1999.

Reflection and Recommitment

There were also quiet moments for reflection on Trinity history and personal Trinity experiences. On Friday, alumni and guests had a hands-on exploration of Trinity artifacts and history during the “200 Years of Trinity History: Memories and Memorabilia,” exhibit in the Raether Library and Information Technology Center. On Saturday, alumni had a chance to find their signatures,  penned as newly arrived first-year students, in the Matriculation book during the “Matriculation Ceremony Remembered” with the Eric Stoykovich, archivist and manuscript librarian.

On Saturday afternoon, two dozen alumni couples gathered in the Chapel to renew their commitment to each other during a service planned by the Reverend Marcus Halley, College chaplain and dean of spiritual and religious life.

With all of this, the weekend also featured many of the time-honored traditions of Reunion weekend including class dinners, opportunities for reflection, and time to reconnect with classmates. The classes also announced their communal philanthropic commitments to the College. Those totaled $37.5 million across the Reunion classes led by the $6.9 million contributed by the Class of 1963 for its 60th Reunion.

Each class held an event designed to reunite friends and provide an opportunity to catch up on where life has taken them since their last reunions. These class-specific events, held during the day on Friday and Saturday, ranged from wine tastings to lawn games, with a special open invitation for all alumni to attend “50 Years Later: A Retrospective Roundtable with the Class of 1973” and reflect on Trinity memories.

Following two days filled with panels, exhibits, class meetings, and meals, the “Bantam Birthday Bash” on Saturday night served as the weekend’s crowning moment. A dinner and dance party were held on the Main Quad to officially mark the 200th “birthday” of Trinity College, complete with cake and a surprise samba rendition of “Happy Birthday.”

After dinner, the Alumni Bicentennial Celebration concert, headlined by Grammy-nominated singer Aloe Blacc got attendees on their feet, and the evening capped off with fireworks and a DJ set that stretched until midnight.

“Trinity truly is a connected community, and it was incredible to see our proud alumni return to the campus they love for the Alumni Bicentennial Celebration,” said President Joanne Berger-Sweeney. “Our alumni help give life to our College and bridge generations of Bantams together, and I was thrilled to celebrate a historic weekend with every attendee. The celebration also allowed us to recognize Trinity’s impact on the world while reconnecting with our own traditions in this our Bicentennial year – and we had a lot of fun doing it!”

The Alumni Bicentennial Celebration marked just one of many Bicentennial events planned over the next year; picnics and concerts will be held over the summer, while Cinestudio will launch a film series in the fall. As part of the 1823 Series, each varsity sports team will designate one game throughout the academic year and hold a reception in honor of the Bicentennial. Learn more about these events and about 200 Years of Trinity and save the date now for Bicentennial Fall Weekend, October 13-15, 2023!