Women at Trinity

women at graduation
Members of the Class of 2019 march at their Commencement, 50 years after the college began admitting women as first-years. Photo by Shana Sureck

Here and now … and looking toward tomorrow

As the college continues to celebrate 50 years of coeducation, The Trinity Reporter—with the help of several student workers and Communications Office staff members—sought to take the pulse of today’s campus. We asked more than 30 individuals two key questions: How would you characterize the role of women at Trinity College today? And how do you see that role evolving in the future? The following pages offer excerpts of the responses we received. To hear the complete audio interviews—which also have become part of the Stories from the Summit oral histories project—please visit our SoundCloud playlist.

How would you characterize the role of women at Trinity College today?

“When you look at the people and programs at Trinity, you’re starting to see parity at all levels, from the president down to the faculty and staff. And I think with time, that parity will continue to increase.”
Alison Draper
Director, Science Center

“I do think that women bring a different perspective to an institution that has been traditionally male dominated, and I see that as a very positive development.”
Anne Lambright
Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor of Language and Culture Studies 

“I think that there’s still a lot of progress to be made toward gender equity, but I think that women at Trinity College are breaking barriers, holding these leadership positions, and really seeking gender equity.”
Brooke LePage ’19

“Under Joanne’s leadership, we see a very different structure for leadership at the college, one that both reflects her as a woman and her as a woman of color.”
Carlos Espinosa ’96, M’98
Director, Community Relations and Trinfo.Café

“Women are making an impact on this campus and are having an impact on the policies and procedures, and the practices of the institution.”
Carrie Robinson
Director, LGBTQ+ Life

“I think we have a huge voice, and it’s really important for us to stick up for marginalized students and women.”
Cat MacLennan ’20 

“I would use one word: ascendant. I feel that women have certainly gained a lot of ground in terms of visible leadership positions because clearly I’m one of them … as chair of the board. And also, we have a president who is a woman. And to have those top two leadership positions filled by women at Trinity is, I think, a remarkable testament to the ascendancy of women in our college community.”
Cornie Thornburgh ’80
Chair, Trinity College Board of Trustees

“Students see the women in front of them as classroom teachers, but the women at Trinity are also recognized internationally and nationally as scholars.”
Gail Woldu
Professor of Music

“We still have some progress to make, but I think in terms of leadership and visibility, we associate Trinity right now with some really powerful and very talented women.”
Jennifer Regan-Lefebvre
Associate Professor of History

“The institution now has its first female president and first female chair of the board. And anytime you’re in an organization where there’s a first, the people who are in those roles at first are forging new pathways, thinking about their role relative to the past of the institution and thinking about what they want their role to be in the future in a very different way than if you were not first.”
Joanne Berger-Sweeney
President and Trinity College Professor of Neuroscience

“In my 20 years here, I’ve been blessed to be able to work with incredible students who identify as female who have been change agents, who have been community builders, who have found their voice and agency through WGRAC but also through [academics] and through organizing around issues that they believed in and became leaders.”
Laura Lockwood M’95
Director, WGRAC

“I see us as leaders and trailblazers.”
Rose Rodriguez ’15, M’18
Sustainability Coordinator

“Women at Trinity College have objectively and subjectively made this campus much better than it ever has been and continue to do so.”
Trinna Larsen ’20
Student Government Association (SGA) President 2019–20

male graduates in 1968
Men in the Class of 1968 take part in their Commencement. Photo: TRINITY IVY 1968

How do you see that role evolving in the future?

“I think that … women have a lot to offer, a lot to bring to the table, ways of changing the conversation that could take Trinity in a really good direction.”
Anne Lambright
Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor of Language and Culture Studies

“I hope that we can kind of come out of this with some clearer understanding not only as to who we are, honor where we’ve come from with respect, and acknowledge that we’ve still got a lot more growing that we need to do to include every single person on this campus.”
Anne Parmenter
Professor of Physical Education and Head Field Hockey Coach

“I think at Trinity, like at a lot of college campuses, I think [there are] still obstacles that women are facing in terms of social culture and academic culture, but I know Trinity has had some really great milestones recently and is doing a lot to improve campus culture for women.”
Gillian Reinhard ’20

“Right now we have strong women here and definitely will continue to, so I definitely see that legacy continuing in a really positive way.”
Jennifer Chavez ’19

“When I think about the evolving role of women, it’s based on understanding our past and history and where we have been a part of this institution, understanding where we are now, and then, together, setting what future we want for Trinity College with women integrated in it.”
Joanne Berger-Sweeney
President and Trinity College Professor of Neuroscience

“I definitely think that in the future Trinity is just going to become stronger, and we are going to see more women in leadership roles because that’s organically going to happen. … That’s just going to take our institution to higher heights.”
Jyles Romer ’20

“I think the future outlook for women here at Trinity College is promising, but we still have a lot of work to do. … We need to do a better job of … supporting women to pursue engineering and STEM.”
Kevin Huang ’12
Assistant Professor of Engineering

“I hope that the future can be a time where we don’t even have to ask or we don’t even have to refer to female leaders as female leaders and we can just look at them as leaders … on the same playing field as everyone else.”
Kristina Miele ’19
SGA President 2018–19

“I hope that the trend of having female leadership here at the college continues. I think it’s the kind of thing that we would need to see continue in order to best meet the needs of all of our students but in particular our female students.”
Laura Holt ’00
Associate Professor of Psychology

“I think women really are the driving force of a lot of the change that happens here. … I’m very hopeful that we will continue to admit women, diverse women, women with different backgrounds … and I know that that’s going to do a lot for this school.”
Manny Rodriguez ’20

“I believe that one of the real differences, since I’ve been here for some time, is that there are women available to mentor women, and sometimes, that’s extremely important.”
Adrienne Fulco
Associate Professor of Legal and Policy Studies

“I hope to see leadership in both students and in faculty demonstrate clear values for women as true equals in the educational sphere and in the institutional life of Trinity College.”
Trinna Larsen ’20
SGA President 2019–20

“I think in the future, their role needs to evolve in such a way that we can see them as being not just women on campus but as Trinity students … as Trinity faculty, as members of the community that aren’t defined by the title as women.”
Will Estony ’21