The President’s Convocation marked the official beginning of the 196th academic year at Trinity College. President Joanne Berger-Sweeney noted that the members of the Class of 2023 will graduate during the year of the college’s 200th anniversary. “It is humbling to think about the 200 years of tradition that we both benefit from and carry forward, and it’s incredibly exciting to think about the college’s next 200 years and see the future in all of you,” Berger-Sweeney said to the students gathered at the Main Quad on August 29.
Arriving at Trinity this fall are 582 members of the Class of 2023, 17 transfer students, and nine new Individualized Degree Program (IDP) students. Also present at the Convocation ceremony were members of the historic Trinity Class of 1973. “Fifty years ago, Trinity welcomed its first fully coeducational class,” Berger-Sweeney told the newest students. “Tomorrow, you’ll carry on the tradition of signing our Matriculation Book. In the fall of 1969, those women [of the Class of 1973] became the first undergraduate women in the history of the college to sign the Book.”
A liberal arts education, Berger-Sweeney added, intends to help students embrace complexity and analyze ambiguities to effectively communicate across numerous fields. “This year, right now, right here, I encourage you to open your minds and your hearts and develop your range,” she said.
The range that is already evident in the Class of 2023 was illustrated by Vice President for Enrollment and Student Success Angel B. Pérez, who spoke about the diversity of the first-year students. “We now have 76 different countries represented at Trinity,” said Pérez, who added that this is the Trinity class with the highest percentage of first-generation college students, who would be the first members of their families to earn a four-year college degree.
Included among the members of the Class of 2023, Pérez said, is a student who is part of the USA bobsledding team, someone who organized the first non-gender-segregated Model United Nations conference in Saudi Arabia, the holder of a youth Olympics gold medal for ice hockey in Sweden, several published authors, environmental activists, a Broadway performer, and a competitive stilt-walker. “You told us that you want to use your education to have an impact on the world and I know you will spend the next four years learning how to do just that,” Pérez told the students. “You are an extraordinary group and we are proud to have you at Trinity College.”
On behalf of the faculty, Mark Stater, secretary of the faculty and associate professor of economics, advised the students to engage with professors in their pursuit of scholarship. “As your professors, we want you to explore widely and deeply. We want you to be challenged. We want you to ask for help. We want you to grow. We want you to succeed,” Stater said.
Student Government Association President Trinna T. Larsen ’20 encouraged students to engage in extracurricular activities, utilize office hours of professors, and make the most of their time in Hartford to gain real world opportunities. “If you don’t see what you want at Trinity, make it! This is a place where your ideas really can become realities,” Larsen said.
Larsen also welcomed the Class of 2023 into the Trinity community by telling them about some Trinity traditions. One such tradition, the lemon squeezer, was used for the lemonade toast offered by Berger-Sweeney, Class of 1973 President Joyce Krinitsky, and Larsen before Interim Dean of the Faculty Sonia Cardenas declared the academic year under way.
Another tradition—a performance of the alma mater, “’Neath the Elms,” by The Trinity College Chapel Singers—concluded the ceremony, which was followed by a family picnic on the Gates Quad.
Watch the full President’s Convocation here.
Below, view of video of “Bantam Beginnings for the Class of 2023” and more photos from the President’s Convocation.