October 2, 2018

Dear Members of the Trinity College Community,

In the fall of 1969, Alyson Adler became the first woman to sign the Trinity College Matriculation book as a first-year student. That historic moment signaled a sweeping evolution at Trinity and at so many other colleges that became coed in that era.

In some ways, though, Adler’s signing of the book was an important continuation of tradition. She’s part of a great Trinity family, the niece of longtime Trinity trustee and former board chair Alfred J. Koeppel ’54, H’00 and his brother Bevin D. Koeppel ’47 (the namesakes of Trinity’s Koeppel Student Center). Adler’s brother Edward graduated from Trinity in 1969, and her cousins—all three of Alfred’s children—attended Trinity as well: Caleb ’78, David ’80, and former trustee Sarah Koeppel Cohn ’83 (the Koeppel Community Sports Center is named for them and their mother, Ruth Koeppel). David’s son Noah graduated in 2018.

This Trinity story is but one powerful reminder that tradition and evolution are not mutually exclusive and that our history shapes our future.

I am grateful to those at Trinity who so wisely undertook coeducation and to Adler and others who not only helped blaze a trail for the rest of us but who also have remained connected and committed to Trinity. Women like Judy Dworin ’70, who contributed an extraordinary career as a faculty member at Trinity and who came here as a transfer student, becoming the first undergraduate woman to graduate from Trinity. And women like Susannah Heschel ’73, H’10, The Trinity Tripod’s first female editor-in-chief, today a member of the Board of Trustees.

It’s my great pleasure to serve as Trinity’s president—its first female president, I might add—as we celebrate Women at the Summit: 50 Years of Coeducation at Trinity College. Beginning in January 2019, we will commemorate this important moment in the life of the college with a three-semester-long set of programming, special occasions, and content for those on campus and off. We have convened an outstanding steering committee of alumnae (some of whom are also Trinity parents or former faculty or staff) to lead the planning effort, as well as a core group of faculty members who will partner with the steering committee and others to unite the entire Trinity community in this initiative. My thanks go to both of these groups:

Steering Committee

Judy Dworin ’70
Diane Brown ’73, P’03
Karen Fink Kupferberg ’73, P’07
Robin Sheppard M’76
Trish Mairs Klestadt ’80, P’09, P’11
Jane Swift ’87, H’02
Julie Mancuso Gionfriddo ’96, M’05
Shakira Ramos Crespo ’02
Candace Simpson ’12
Taniqua Huguley ’15, M’17

Faculty Advisory Group

Susan Bush (Biology)
Laura Holt ’00 (Psychology)
Kevin Huang ’12 (Engineering)
Gail Woldu (Music)

For this initiative, we’re developing a framework of “yesterday, today, tomorrow,” with, roughly, “yesterday” programming occurring in spring 2019; “today” in fall 2019; and “tomorrow” in spring 2020. That certainly won’t be the sum total of celebratory occasions—we know that Commencement 2023 will be a special moment, indeed, as it will mark both the 50th anniversary of the graduation of our first fully coeducational class and the college’s bicentennial year. But we are aiming for a focused consideration of coeducation over the next year and a half, with numerous to-be-developed opportunities for community members to participate, watch, attend, learn, and lead.

To that end, we want your help! Our aim is for the steering committee and faculty advisory group to enlist the ideas, talents, and efforts of a great many of you, including the students, staff, and faculty who have helped brainstorm and plan to get us to this moment. Melissa Bronzino Regan ’87, associate director of alumni relations, and Angela Paik Schaeffer, vice president for communications and marketing, will help coordinate the overall efforts and can be a resource for anyone with questions or ideas. You also can send an email to [email protected] to suggest a story, program, or event (on campus or off) or to volunteer to host, lead, or help plan these events.

We’ll kick things off officially with a celebratory moment on campus and at locations around the globe on January 11, 2019, the 50th anniversary of the trustees’ decision to approve coeducation. Mark your calendars, and stay tuned for more!


Joanne Berger-Sweeney
President and Trinity College Professor of Neuroscience