Trinity Treasure

Joan Hedrick
Joan Hedrick
Photo by John Marinelli


In late September 1980, Trinity College hired Joan Hedrick to take over an experimental American cultures class after the instructor fell ill. Following her unexpected arrival, she decided to stay. “I just felt so at home at Trinity,” says Hedrick. “I felt more comfortable here than I had at any other institution.” Hedrick, now Charles A. Dana Professor of History, spearheaded the formation of the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Program, an academic community that has helped make Trinity “home” to students ever since. William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor in American Institutions and Values Robert Corber says Hedrick will be sorely missed upon her retirement in 2018. “Joan has tirelessly dedicated herself to the important task of mentoring young women at Trinity,” says Corber. In 1995, Hedrick was awarded the Pulitzer Prize; her biography Harriet Beecher Stowe: A Life was a 10-year project that she researched at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center in Hartford. Hedrick, who earned an A.B. in English from Vassar College and a Ph.D. in American civilization from Brown University, is the author of two other books and more than a dozen articles. She has been featured in a PBS documentary about the abolition movement and has served on the boards of the Society for the Study of American Women Writers and the Harriet Beecher Stowe Society. Hedrick says she was ecstatic to have had what she called the most exceptional “WMGS 101: Women, Gender, and Sexuality” class to date in the fall of 2016, her last semester of classroom teaching. She credits Angel B. Pérez, Trinity’s vice president for enrollment and student success, and Venture Trinity, a pre-orientation program to promote women’s leadership that she helped found in 2013, with bringing and supporting these incoming students. “They were so diverse, so thoughtful, so willing to listen to one another and to learn. We had the most nuanced discussions about race and sexuality and gender and power that I’ve ever had with the students here at Trinity.”

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