“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” — Henry Ford
THE POWER OF THE TEAM
It is common knowledge that Trinity College has a rich history of success in athletics. Our student-athletes come to our campus from all over the country and across the world and proudly wear the blue and gold. From our perennial championship squash teams to our powerhouse women’s lacrosse team to our All-Americans across the board, our student-athletes know what it takes to be successful: teamwork.
That same teamwork — collaborating and working together toward a common goal — exhibited by our Bantam athletes is much the same as the teamwork found within the College’s administration. You may have read about the newest additions to the leadership of the College: in July, Tim Cresswell joined the Trinity community as dean of the faculty and vice president for academic affairs, and Dan Hitchell started as vice president of finance and chief financial officer. Each of them comes to Trinity from very different types of institutions — Tim was most recently at Northeastern, a large research university in Boston where experiential learning is a hallmark, and Dan joins us from Ohio Wesleyan, a small liberal arts college in the Midwest with many characteristics similar to ours — and brings a varied perspective.
Their arrival marks the one-year anniversary of Angel Pérez, vice president for enrollment and student success, and Joe DiChristina, dean of campus life and vice president for student affairs. Angel and Joe, too, brought with them their own backgrounds and experiences, adding to the diverse makeup of the President’s Cabinet.
It goes without saying that many in the administration, including Vice President for College Advancement Jack Fracasso, Vice President for Information Services and Chief Information Officer Sue Aber, Chief of Staff Jason Rojas, Dean of Multicultural Affairs Karla Spurlock-Evans, Deans of Academic Affairs Sonia Cardenas and Melanie Stein, and Special Assistant to the President David Andres, were here long before my arrival in 2014. They provide a vital continuity, an all-important history, so that we are sure to understand the past as we build toward our future.
There is also a good deal of geographic diversity among our group. Tim hails from England, and Angel is from Puerto Rico. Deke Mathieu, general counsel and secretary of the College, is originally from Haiti. And many of us have traveled or lived abroad. I have lived in four countries in addition to the United States, a testament to my long-term commitment and interest in multicultural perspectives. I was an AFS exchange student in Malaysia, where I lived with a Muslim family, and I journeyed to France for my postdoctoral fellowship. I spent my first sabbatical at the University of Zurich in Switzerland and my second at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.
If we call ourselves a global college, we need to ensure that the people leading our institution reflect that idea. With something as complex as a college to run, we value different kinds of expertise and varying perspectives. We have taken that diversity and formed a team that collectively supports Trinity College as it spirals upward.
Trinity plans to share this leadership style with a forum of college presidents, planned for the first weekend of October. At “Setting the Tone: Student Activism, Community, and Presidential Leadership,” we hope to foster collaborations among college presidents as we examine how to create an environment that promotes meaningful campus dialogues and conversations that lead to action. As college leaders, we want to learn how to best impress upon our student bodies that it is more than simply coming together in a room; it is listening to and empathizing with other people so that we are trying to stand in their shoes and understand their perspectives.
As Trinity heads into an important strategic planning process — with our Bicentennial Strategic Planning Commission newly in place — we want to know your perspectives as well. Please be sure to keep an eye out for your opportunity to let us know what you envision in Trinity’s future.