September 3, 2019

Dear Members of the Trinity College Community,

Welcome to the new academic year! Last week, we welcomed new members of the Bantam family to Trinity at our Convocation and Matriculation ceremonies (582 first-year students, 17 transfer students, and nine students new to our Individualized Degree Program). This fall, we also welcome nine new tenure-track faculty members and several other new faculty and staff members, who collectively provide that spark of energy and sense of constant renewal to our campus.

For those of you returning to campus, you can see it’s been a busy summer here. In between summer research programs and various camps, we made important progress on infrastructure needs and maintenance. Some improvements are more visible than others, such as the design refresh of Mather Hall’s lobby that highlights our mission statement, updates to Vernon Social—with a new bagel vendor expected this fall—and new bleachers in Oosting Gym. The kitchen in Doonesbury Hall was renovated to support students living in the new Cross Cultural Living Community, and accessibility upgrades were made around campus. Meanwhile, the construction fence in the area of Gates Quad is a sign of the major work under way to replace a significant section of our central steam pipe. And we’ve replaced the campus’s decades-old electrical switching gear, updating that system for the next 30 years.

Meanwhile, many folks have been busy planning for a number of historic anniversaries the college will celebrate this year. At Convocation, we honored the Class of 1973 and other early pioneers of coeducation—on the 50th anniversary of that class’s matriculation as our first fully coed class. We look forward to a number of events as part of Women at the Summit, our ongoing initiative celebrating the 50th anniversary of coeducation at Trinity. We will select “50 for the Next 50”: 50 Trinity women who will lead the college and the world over the next half century. We invite your nominations!

This academic year also finds us celebrating the 50th anniversaries of our Rome Campus and of Cinestudio, cutting-edge then and now, both of them immeasurable treasures that help define the Trinity experience for so many. We will honor these milestones in various ways throughout the year; stay tuned.

I’m also looking forward to Homecoming Weekend, October 25–27, when we will induct the inaugural class of the Trinity College Athletics Hall of Fame. We will celebrate not only those individual outstanding athletes but also our historic strength in athletics and the role that athletics has long played in creating community and fostering generations of connections at Trinity.

While we have much to celebrate, we also, of course, have much work to do to strengthen our community and to continue to advance the college. This year, we will move forward our shared governance initiatives and analyze and address findings from the employee and climate surveys from last spring. Also, I am pleased to announce that I will lead two presidential tasks forces this year: one on the status of women (beginning this fall) and one on campus climate (beginning in the spring). These task forces will shed light on the progress we’ve made in recent years and address the work that remains to create a welcoming and equitable environment for all. Please keep an eye out for invitations to participate in these efforts.

Also this year, we will be searching for a vice president for academic affairs/dean of the faculty and an assistant vice president for human resources, two positions that are critical in leading important conversations and constituencies on campus.

As I did this time last year, I’m delighted to share with you this Year in Review, which is a reminder of some of the highlights and achievements from the past year. I also am pleased to share with you that we ended the last fiscal year with a balanced operating budget based, in part, on our collective efforts to support a year-end push of the college’s annual fund. Thank you! For those interested in our financial details, we will provide a full audited financial report in late October.

At the start of what is certain to be a busy and exciting year, let us remind ourselves of our commitment to the mission: “As the preeminent liberal arts college in an urban setting, Trinity College prepares students to be bold, independent thinkers who lead transformative lives.” I continue to be inspired both by what we achieve together each year and by our potential to achieve even more.


Joanne Berger-Sweeney
President and Trinity College Professor of Neuroscience