May 16, 2023

Dear Trinity College Community,

Today we celebrate Charter Day to mark the 200th year of Trinity College. This morning, I was joined by Board Chair Lisa Bisaccia ’78, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, and other local luminaries to raise Trinity’s flag over the State Capitol. Please join me in this historic moment of Trinity pride!

We celebrate today with new traditions to honor our storied history of educating students who learn how to connect ideas and action through a remarkable liberal arts education.

One such story is that of A.E. Douglass, member of the class of 1889, who connected his love for astronomy with the exploration of sun spots. Eventually, this led him to study tree rings and how they tell their tales of environmental changes through the years. As recently told in this story on Connecticut Public—an institution, by the way, that had its start on this very campus—Douglass would later go on to establish the field of dendrochronology, which is the science of dating events, environmental changes, and artifacts through the analysis of annual growth tree rings.

Today, we continue our commitment to the environment. I am proud to announce that the Trinity campus has been designated an accredited arboretum. Under the leadership of Professor Susan Masino and the Sustainability Office, Trinity is now officially recognized for the stewardship of our living campus and the 1,500 trees that span 37 species. I invite you to learn more about our trees next time you are on campus, and to take the walking tour of our arboretum.

Trees have always been a defining feature of this remarkable campus, here “’neath the elms.” And like our trees, you are a part of Trinity’s living history and traditions. To honor our green campus, we are reviving a tradition that started when we first moved to the Summit campus in 1872. We are committed to renewing a tradition of planting a new tree every year.

Today, we will also premiere a new carillon piece, Fanfare 1823, which was composed by Ellen Dickinson and commissioned in honor of Trinity’s Bicentennial celebration.

We will also raise a glass for a lemonade toast. I invite all of you off campus to do the same and send us your photos through DM on Instagram or via email at [email protected]. I would love to see everyone in Trinity gear, raising their glasses together with pride!

Tonight, we will launch the first edition of our monthly Bicentennial newsletter which will feature event highlights and content for you to enjoy and share. We hope that throughout the year you’ll learn something new or contribute to our communal storytelling.

We only turn 200 once! Happy birthday and cheers to you, dear Trinity College.


Joanne Berger-Sweeney