At home in the heart of Hartford

JBSCroppedJBS1407-746I have told many people just how awestruck I am with the beauty of the Trinity College campus. I am also a city person; I grew up in Los Angeles and lived in cities around the world, and I thrive amid the hustle and bustle of city life. I feel incredibly fortunate to lead Trinity College as its 22nd president, to live on the Trinity campus in the city of Hartford. Already, I feel very much at home.

And you are now reading my new “home” in The Trinity Reporter, with “Endnote” replacing “From the President.” The change is part of the magazine’s vibrant new look by designer Lilly Pereira, who worked with Reporter editor Sonya Adams to give us an inspired interpretation of 160over90’s recent rebranding initiative for the College. As you read the rest of the issue, I hope you are able to take the opportunity to learn a little more about me in the interview that starts on page 12. It provides a bit about my background and my hopes for the College.

You will find that I like to refer to books that I have read recently. This past summer, as a result of my new position, I read Trinity College in the Twentieth Century, a fact-filled volume of Trinity’s history, written by recently retired College archivist Peter Knapp, himself a Trinity graduate, Class of 1965. It’s amazing to me how some of the quotes I came across remain relevant today.

For instance, even back in 1936, then-President Remsen Ogilby recognized the strong and important partnership that Hartford and Trinity have, with each offering resources to the other. In his annual report, Ogilby said of Trinity, “But the real contribution of a college to a city lies in the realm of the intangibles. The unconscious influence of the intellectual leadership in thought contributed by the members of the Faculty, the civilizing influence of a scale of values based upon eternal verities, the liberalizing effect of the presence in the community of a fellowship based upon high ideals of beauty, goodness and truth: all these should bulk large in the pride Hartford rightly takes in its college. We should bind the city to us with hoops of steel.”

In August 2014, I tweeted the news that Hartford was ranked No. 17 on Best College Review’s recent list of the 50 Best College Towns in America (please be sure to follow me on Twitter @JBergerSweeney). Now, of course, all of us already recognize that Hartford–more specifically Trinity College–is a great place to be. We wouldn’t be Bantams if we didn’t. But it certainly is gratifying when others recognize just how special this place is.

As I presided over Convocation, marking the official start of the 2014-2015 academic year, I felt the energy and excitement in the air. Students, faculty, and staff were ready to get back to the business of teaching and learning. On an administrative level, we began work on several key initiatives, including the creation of a Task Force on the Prevention of Sexual Misconduct, which I chair. These initiatives undoubtedly will serve to make Trinity College the best it can be.

While we should always keep an eye to the future, we know that our students already have the unique opportunity of experiencing a top liberal arts education within a lively urban environment. Community learning opportunities abound here, and students can volunteer their time at countless nonprofits within walking distance of the College. Career development options are endless, with internships and job shadowing experiences available at a variety of locations, including the State Capitol.

Our campus, in the heart of Hartford, provides an eclectic, varied environment that fosters academic and personal growth. As one of our Admissions brochures says, “Hartford is in our bones. It’s where we work and intern, where we shop and eat, where we volunteer, and where we live. Every Trinity student is made stronger and more world ready by experiencing the city.”