February 16, 2023
Dear Trinity College Community Members,
The campus is back into the rhythm of a new semester, and as 2023 is well underway, we have much to look forward to and much to do. Today, I write to share my usual update following the February meeting of the Board of Trustees. Retaining some of the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, the board decided to try a virtual, shortened format, largely because the February meeting is so often impacted by winter weather. I know our trustees look forward to re-engaging the campus community during their in-person meeting in April.
The theme of the February board meeting was “Following through on Our Commitments.” When I think about how Trinity should enter its third century, it should be with a solid reputation for turning planning into action. This meeting underscored just how well we have done as a community in advancing our strategic plan, Summit, and the steps we must take to continue our progress and to fulfill our commitments—to reach beyond the summit.
Updates at a Glance
Building a vibrant, sustainable future is a priority of our strategic plan. And that conversation often begins with the status of the budget. We reported to the board that we anticipate ending FY23 with a balanced operating budget. We also began to lay out some of the projects in the FY24 capital budget. In the past few years, we have approved the operating budget at the April meeting following discussions with our shared governance partners in the president’s Planning and Budget Council (PBC) and an open budget forum on campus. We will do the same this year. As part of the FY24 budget, we will fulfill our commitment to complete salary adjustments to employees based on our 2022 compensation study.
Since our founding, Trinity has been proud of its commitment to the study of STEM in a liberal arts context. It was a pleasure to announce to the board, and now to you, that we are creating the Trinity College President’s Medal for Science and Innovation; the first will be given in this Bicentennial celebration year. The annual award will honor a prominent, internationally recognized individual in science, technology, or engineering and will help as we continue to emphasize our commitment to the sciences as a vital part of the liberal arts.
The Student Experience
At the heart of our commitments in our strategic plan is the student experience and how we prepare our students for success inside and outside the classroom in a dynamically changing world. We provided trustees with updates on our ongoing work to fulfill our commitments to make Trinity a more inclusive, equitable campus, including our continued pursuit of equity in athletics after the Title IX audit, and we foreshadowed the Racial Justice Action Plan, which will be released to the community this spring. For approximately 18 months, multiple constituent groups (from the students, faculty, staff, alumni, and trustees) have devised more than 200 actions to improve racial equity on campus. Stay tuned for more information on this important plan.
Athletics has always been an important part of Trinity’s holistic student experience, and many of our fall and winter teams have shined bright—a huge shout-out to our Trinity athletes and coaches! In related news, we continue to make progress on the Ferris Athletic Center expansion to support student wellness, recreation, and performance. Our goal remains to break ground in 2023.
It’s hard to believe we are enrolling the Class of 2027! Our application numbers have increased again, with representation from all 50 states and from 148 countries. We’ve received more than 6,400 applications, and our Early Decision (ED) applicant pool is up approximately 25 percent. Encouragingly, we have promising potential to secure our largest ED cohort in five years, and the overall class is once again shaping up to be dynamic and high achieving.
I shared a new initiative that Trinity has joined to offer a pathway for students affected by worldwide crises to apply to U.S.-based colleges and universities and to access support when they arrive. It’s a wonderful initiative to be a part of, and the need is great.
Engaging Our Alumni
A significant portion of the board meeting included a discussion of the preliminary results of the College’s recent alumni survey, which was a follow-up to a similar survey conducted in 2018. It was designed to help us learn more about our proud alumni and how we can connect more to their experiences, particularly during this Bicentennial year. The depth and volume of responses from our alumni were phenomenal, showing a deep level of care for the College’s mission and its future. In the four years since the last survey, we made significant progress in positively engaging many of our alumni, despite headwinds of a pandemic, political divides, and social unrest. So many alumni remain true to their alma mater and believe strongly that Trinity has a valuable place in the world. Stay tuned to hear more about this survey and how we plan to engage even more of our alumni.
Congratulations and Gratitude
So much of our growth and success in establishing Trinity as a first-choice destination is because of the care and commitment our faculty members bring to campus to fulfill our academic mission. We celebrated the promotion to full professor of Laura Holt ’00 (psychology), Mary Sandoval (mathematics), and Scott Gac (history and American studies). As a pride moment for the College, we’ve been successful in increasing the number of women rising to the rank of full professor over the past several years. We also took time to recognize recent faculty achievements, including those of Paul E. Raether Distinguished Professor of American Studies Davarian Baldwin, Associate Professor of Computer Science Ewa Syta, and Professor of English Sarah Bilston, for their contributions to their fields of study. We then acknowledged remarkable years of service and dedication, awarding emeritus status to retired faculty members Janet Bauer (professor of international studies), Kathleen Curran (professor of fine arts), Luis Figueroa (associate professor of history), Cheryl Greenberg (Paul E. Raether Distinguished Professor of History), Jean-Marc Kehrès (associate professor of language and culture studies), Randolph Lee (associate professor of psychology), Donna-Dale Marcano (associate professor of philosophy), Janet Morrison (principal lecturer in chemistry), Anne Parmenter (professor of physical education), Michael Preston (associate professor of theater and dance), Clare Rossini (artist-in-residence), Mark Silk (professor of religion in public life), Stephen Valocchi (professor of sociology), and Nancy Wyshinski (associate professor of mathematics). Congratulations, and thank you for your dedication to excellence!
In closing, I’m looking forward to the rest of the spring semester and to moving into our Bicentennial celebration together. Our collective tenacity in implementing our commitments and moving the College forward continues to energize me as your president.
President and Trinity College Professor of Neuroscience