November 7, 2017

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

Karla Spurlock-Evans, our beloved dean of multicultural affairs, has informed me of her plans to retire at the end of this academic year, in June 2018. Karla came to Trinity College in 1999, having been recruited to take on a brand-new role. The role grew out of the college’s 1998 strategic plan, which, among other things, called upon the community to promote a climate that valued and celebrated diversity, to institutionalize a broad and inclusive definition of diversity, and to make a substantial commitment to the Office of Multicultural Affairs.

We have much to reflect on in thinking how Trinity has changed since 1999, and for a great deal of that change, we owe Karla our enormous gratitude. She was part of a generation of pioneers, multicultural affairs administrators who were charged with the challenging task of effecting change on campuses across the country. Her devotion to our students is legendary, as she has helped students from all backgrounds feel supported and empowered at Trinity. For anyone who knows Karla personally, you will recognize that her fun-loving spirit, wise counsel, warm laughter, and strong sense of social justice will be sorely missed.

Over the years, Karla grew the Office of Multicultural Affairs into an operation that weaves multiculturalism into the institutional fabric of the college, one that provides support and advice to individuals and student organizations, administers the Promoting Respect for Inclusive Diversity in Education (P.R.I.D.E.) program, and advises and supports three cultural houses: La Eracra—La Voz Latina, the Umoja House, and the Asian-American Students Association. Today, Karla also supervises the administrators who lead the Women & Gender Resource Action Center and the Queer Resource Center, which is now recruiting its first full-time director.

Karla serves as the liaison with the Posse Foundation and, since the advent of the Bantam Network, she has served as the dean for the Washington and Lemon nests. Karla also has been instrumental in sustaining the Consortium on High Achievement and Success (CHAS), an organization of 34 selective liberal arts colleges dedicated to promoting high achievement, leadership, and satisfaction among students, especially students of color. Founded at Trinity in 2000, CHAS is going strong, and Trinity will host its annual national conference in the spring of 2018.

Trinity will honor Karla’s work by building upon it and advancing toward a truly inclusive community. To that end, I am seeking your input on how a new leader in diversity and inclusion can advance this work at Trinity. I hope you’ll come to my open office hours to share your thoughts with me, and I will look for other occasions in the coming weeks to engage with you. My expectation is that with your input the college will create a search committee and launch a national search for Karla’s successor in January 2018, with the aim that s/he would arrive on campus by July 2018.

For now, please join me in thanking Karla for her many years of dedicated service to Trinity and wishing her much happiness in her upcoming retirement. Over the next several months, we will have many opportunities to celebrate her significant impact on Trinity and to give Karla a proper Trinity farewell.


Joanne Berger-Sweeney
President and Trinity College Professor of Neuroscience​