January 22, 2019

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

Happy first day of classes! I hope the spring semester is off to a good start for everyone. I know it’s off to a fast start and that there’s much to look forward to in the months ahead.

This semester, we’ll celebrate the 50th anniversary of coeducation at Trinity with several signature events and special occasions. We started on January 11—marking the day in 1969 when the college voted to admit women as undergraduates—with celebrations on campus and across the country (plus one in Paris!). If you haven’t already, I encourage you to check out the “WomenAtTheSummit” story highlights on our Instagram. Please visit the Women at the Summit website for information on upcoming events and ways to be involved. One especially exciting endeavor is an oral histories project about coeducation led by Christina Bleyer, the Watkinson Library’s director of special collections and archives. We invite you to share your Trinity stories, and in March we’ll launch a website to share the content we receive.

The spring semester promises many terrific events as part of Black History Month in February and Women’s History Month in March, some of which align with Women at the Summit as well. Among them: The student-led Black History Month Committee will host author, activist, and daughter of Malcolm X Ilyasah Shabazz the evening of February 28. This year’s theme for Black History Month is “A Century of Black Excellence.” At noon the next day, to kick off Women’s History Month, tennis legend Chris Evert will join us for a conversation and Q&A with the community. Stay tuned for more details!

Another truly exciting development that I’m pleased to share is that we have signed our first contract with Infosys in the Applied Learning Initiative. As you’ll recall, we announced an exclusive partnership with Infosys in the fall. This contract is the first tangible step in that collaboration, creating an eight-week program for liberal arts graduates who will enter the Infosys workforce as business analysts. The pilot for that program will launch in mid-February. Trinity’s faculty and staff advisory group will be updating the community and our governance bodies early in the semester about their work on this initiative.

I hope all of you found time over the break to rest and recharge, whether here in Hartford or anywhere around the globe. I had the opportunity to spend some time in Trinidad and Tobago, where I bumped into several happy Trinity alums in the airport and was delighted to meet with Professor Joe Chambers and the Trinity students studying conservation policy and practice over J-Term.

The rhythm of the academic year is so familiar and welcome to me after all these years in higher education. Those first-day-of-classes flutters are real every time, as is my enthusiasm in welcoming all who are returning and those who are joining us for the first time, including our newest cohort of J-Start students. Welcome to Trinity!


Joanne Berger-Sweeney
President and Trinity College Professor of Neuroscience