May 16, 2022

Dear Members of the Trinity College Community,

On May 16, 1823, the Connecticut General Assembly accomplished a task worthy of a citywide celebration. When Bishop Thomas Church Brownell was granted a charter to incorporate Connecticut’s second college, Washington College came into existence, changing its name in 1845 to Trinity College. Glenn Weaver wrote in The History of Trinity College (Volume 1): “Great was the rejoicing in Hartford, and that evening cannons were fired and bonfires were lighted.”

And on this day next year, the rejoicing will be great once more when we will kick off a yearlong celebration of our bicentennial. Since its founding, the college and our community have become true treasures of this city, state, and nation. For two centuries, we have distinguished ourselves time after time with a spirit of innovation, determination, academic excellence, and unapologetic purpose.

Since I last communicated about the bicentennial, we shifted our schedule and timing, making considerable progress along the way. Philip Khoury ’71, H’21, former vice chair of the Board of Trustees, and Kelli Harrington Tomlinson ’94, a current trustee, continue to lead the Bicentennial Steering Committee, which guides the work of three community-wide Celebration Committees tasked with programmatic planning to honor what makes this college special—our People, Places, and the Liberal Arts. For the past several months, these groups have been meeting and developing ideas for collaborating, reflecting on our history and future, and assembling joyfully in many different ways.

Today, thanks to the work of these committees and the numerous submissions received last January, I am pleased to announce our bicentennial theme: Trinity at 200: Committed to the Future since 1823.

With many thoughtful ideas suggested, why did this theme emerge? For such a beloved institution, discerning a theme broad enough to encompass the diverse passions and perspectives of our community was no easy task. But holding true to the spirit of who we are—a steadfast community that is devoted to relationships and spaces that define Trinity and our future together—we looked to what is tried and true.

You play an integral part of telling Trinity’s story. Collectively, our individual stories about this campus and community constitute and complete the fuller picture, each one adding texture and depth. In these early days, our committees are working hard to develop programming to capture these stories and elevate our community. Stay tuned for more in the fall.

Please join me in thanking Phil, Kelli, and the many faculty, staff, students, and alumni who are working to make our communal celebration a success. I invite you to explore more and to be in conversation with our committees with your ideas and suggestions:

We thank you for your enthusiasm in this important moment. Together, we will celebrate 200 years of history and rally around our shared commitment to the future of our beloved Trinity.


Joanne Berger-Sweeney
President and Trinity College Professor of Neuroscience