Shout-out for Nurses!

Shout-out for Nurses!

Coronavirus: #StayStrong Trinity

President Pat McGuire is communicating to the campus community frequently via All-Trinity e-mails to provide important information during the Coronavirus and offer positive messages of support. We’re posting her e-mail messages here. Additional information is available on the Coronavirus on Trinity’s Health and Wellness siteRead all of her March messages here. Stay up to date – read President McGuire’s blog here.

Message from Trinity President Pat McGuire
Wednesday, April 22: Wear Green for Earth Day, Founders Day! And the Trinity Cookbook…

Dear students and colleagues,

How time flies!  We are almost done with this historic semester! But we have some important moments still to observe….

Wednesday, April 22 is Earth Day!  Let’s all wear green to honor Mother Earth and go outside and take a photo of yourself in nature — send it to me for a photo collage of Trinity’s Earth Day observance. This year’s observance takes on special significance as we think about the global consequences of natural disasters like the current pandemic and the failure of good government and collective action to avert tragedy. Time is running out on our fragile environment, and if the coronavirus crisis teaches us anything, it should be that our global village is quite small and we all share responsibility to sustain the health of our planet and communities.

Trinity’s Founders Day falls on Earth Day this year, and there’s an additional special poignancy in the moment — the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur are observing the 15th Anniversary of the murder of Sister Dorothy Stang, SND, in the Amazon rainforest.  Sister Dorothy was a hero of social justice, working for the rights of the people of the Amazon and confronting the big money logging interests that continue to destroy the forest, wildlife and human habitat.  She is an exemplar of an environmental justice steward who gave her all for the sake of helping the people she served.  The SNDs have created a virtual celebration of Dorothy Stang on their website, you might want to take a look and join in the prayers.

Founders Day at Trinity is also a traditional time to pause and think of the great women who made our education possible at Trinity.  I will be posting some reflections about them tomorrow on my blog, but you should know their names and thank them every day for the gifts they have given to us:  Sisters Julia McGroarty and Mary Euphrasia Taylor, two courageous and visionary women who did not let the many obstacles they confronted daunt them.  They had much opposition from conservative clerics as they tried to get Trinity College underway in 1897 — but they persisted!  They went all the way up the chain of command and even managed to get the Pope to agree that Trinity should be allowed to proceed.  Imagine that!  Give thanks for our Founders!

In other news…

Federal grants for college students who need help in the pandemic will soon be available at Trinity.  We have received more information today about how the grants can be distributed, and we will be back in touch with you about the application process.  PLEASE CONTINUE TO CHECK YOUR TRINITY EMAIL EVERY DAY SO YOU CAN LEARN HOW TO APPLY FOR FEDERAL $$$ TO HELP YOU DURING THE PANDEMIC.

I have sent a separate message to all students who expect to graduate next month — the Great Red Class of 2020 — about our “virtual” celebrations.  Some of you have asked about academic regalia (caps and gowns).  Many undergraduate seniors have caps and gowns from the Cap & Gown celebration last fall, but other students may not have their regalia yet.  So, for the “virtual” celebrations, we will be sending every student who expects to graduate your academic mortarboard (the cap) and tassel so you can wear that for the virtual celebrations.  We’ll hold the academic gowns until the “live” commencement ceremony in the fall.  Watch your mail at home for your academic mortarboard to arrive!

Finally, the Trinity Cookbook!  Photos of delicious meals and favorite recipes are coming into my mailbox each day…. Don’t be left out!  Send me your best dishes, beloved family ingredients, or simple sandwich formulas.  Let’s make this a great legacy of our time spent at home!  Send to me directly at

And if you have not checked it out yet, see the Winners in our Backyard Bird Contest on my blog!

Remember:  Wear Green Tomorrow, Remember Sr. Dorothy Stang and give thanks for the Founders of Trinity!

May you continue to be safe and healthy,

President Pat McGuire

Key Resources and Contacts:

Coronavirus Information, Trinity Health and Wellness Center
Dr. Jacqueline Newsome-Williams, Trinity Health and Wellness Center
Dr. Karen Gerlach, Vice President of Student Affairs
Dr. Carlota Ocampo, Provost, Academic Affairs
Who’s Who at Trinity – Who should I talk to about ….
Media Inquiries: Ann Pauley

Message from Trinity President Pat McGuire
A Shout-Out for Nursing!

Good afternoon, Trinity scholars, today we are officially halfway through the month of April!  I know you are all working very hard, I hope you are also getting enough rest and down time away from screens.  Go outside and see some birds — enter the Backyard Bird Contest, there are still a few hours before the deadline!  See instructions on the last message below

An important note:  Mayor Bowser today extended the “stay at home” order through May 15, and she will be having more information about the status of schools later this week.  She also extended the required use of masks to taxis and ride shares.  You can read her entire order here:  Mayor Bowser’s April 15 Covid-19 Update (PDF).

Much as we all feel very weary of this period of confinement, you should also know that you are an important part of what might be the greatest public health and safety endeavor ever in human history.  To get millions of people to follow orders to practice social distance, stay at home, wear masks is no small feat.  The result seems to be a beginning of reduction in the rate of cases of coronavirus, still very high, but perhaps some “flattening” of that curve beginning.  We all have a part to play in ensuring everyone’s good health — so on the days when you are so tired of this, just think of yourself as a vital part of citizen response to a major danger, what you are doing is important!  You are making a great contribution to our society, thank you!

A senior nursing student, Elisia George, is also working as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) and she wrote this remarkable message to me this week giving a big shout-out to our nursing faculty while also relating her experience on the front lines of healthcare right now:

“I am a senior in the School of Nursing, and as a Patient Care Technician or CNA I had the opportunity to care for COVID19 patients today.  I walked out of the hospital, after working a 12-hour shift reflecting on my day and was very grateful for my professors whom I thought thoroughly prepared me for what I experienced today.

“What we see and hear in the news is a far cry from the reality that hits you in caring for the people affected by this horrible, horrible disease. The fear is so visible in the eyes of your co-workers behind the mask. We are all aware of the risks that we are taking and what it means to our families, but we have to set our fears aside and give the care needed in the best way we can.  I am so grateful that I was able to put fear aside and remember that I have been taught that before you can treat the patient, you have to see the person. Fear of this disease forces one to only focus on the disease, but the truth of the matter is that we are caring for a “person” with whatever their diagnosis is.

“I left out grateful to God, that in his wisdom and plan for me, he chose Trinity to have me truly discover my strength. As I was ending my shift an elderly patient thanked me for coming in to care for her today, this made it worth all the emotional roller coaster rides I experienced throughout the day. I can’t imagine the loneliness they feel being in isolation. May God help us all.”

Thank you, Elisia, you are courageous in your work and generous with your praise.

Do you know of others who deserve a shout-out?  Send me your nominations and a few words about them.  Don’t forget to check out my blog with student essays offering advice during the pandemic.  So much creative energy!  We will all be better and stronger for the resilience and wisdom we are experiencing in these days.

Know of my ongoing care and concern for you, and as always, let me know what you need.

With high hopes for your continuing health and safety,

President Pat McGuire

Message from Trinity President Pat McGuire
Week #5: Easter Hope, Funding News, and something for the birds….!!

Good afternoon, Trinity!  I hope that everyone had a peaceful holiday weekend and that you were able to observe Passover, Easter and other traditions with family and friends.

These days we all feel somewhat beleaguered, stressed out.  I put this on my blog but it seems worth repeating as we start a new week in our “new normal.” In his homily for the Easter Vigil liturgy at the Vatican, Pope Francis spoke of the women who went to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus.  He said, “They, like us, had before their eyes the drama of suffering, of an unexpected tragedy that happened all too suddenly. They had seen death and it weighed on their hearts… there was fear about the future and all that would need to be rebuilt … For them, as for us, it was the darkest hour. Yet in this situation the women did not allow themselves to be paralyzed. They did not give in to the gloom of sorrow and regret, they did not morosely close in on themselves, or flee from reality. …They did not stop loving; in the darkness of their hearts, they lit a flame of mercy.”

The message is this: let’s avoid the temptation to cower in self-pity as victims of a very cruel fate.  Instead, let’s be like the women at the tomb — unafraid, resilient and loving, ready to be flames of mercy and hope for others.  We can do this!  We can help ourselves as well as each other by seeing this moment as a time when we are called to a new kind of grace — the grace of resilience, persistence and hopefulness to inspire all others who depend on us each day.

Now for some more mundane but important news:

U.S. Department of Education Emergency Grants for Students:  You may have read that the CARES act passed by Congress several weeks ago includes some funding for students in colleges and universities across the nation.  Hooray!  We are at the beginning of the process for securing these funds for Trinity students, and I should know more about how much and how we will be able to distribute to our students in another week or two.  The amounts are not large, but we know that every penny counts these days.  Please watch your email for more info on this, I will let you know as soon as I know more.

Trinity Emergency Grants for Students:  Meanwhile, we do have some private funds donated by very generous benefactors to help students who need emergency cash.  Dr. Karen Gerlach, vice president for Student Affairs, administers Trinity’s Emergency Student Assistance Fund.  Click on that link to find the application and instructions if you need this kind of support.  Dean of Students Meechie Bowie also manages the food pantry and you may contact her for assistance.

Graduation Celebrations:  As previously announced, we will have the “live” commencement ceremony with full pomp and circumstance later this year — depending on when we are allowed to have large events again, this might be in September or October.  We know that graduation is so important to our students and families, and we will do it in grand style the moment it’s possible! Please note that your official graduation date is May 16, 2020, assuming you complete all of your degree requirements.  In the meantime, however, we also want to celebrate our graduates with as much style and class as we can muster “virtually.”  We are working on some ideas about that right now, and will be back in touch with you later this week or early next week about the specifics.

And don’t forget the Backyard Bird Contest!  See below….. yes, it’s raining outside today, but you can still see those hungry birds looking for lunch on the grass…..  I’ve got some great entries already, don’t be left out!! (Here’s a goldfinch.)

May you stay healthy and safe, and as always, let me know if I can be helpful to you,

With Hope in this Easter Season,

President Pat McGuire

First Annual Trinity Backyard Bird Challenge

I invite you to take some time during the next week to be outside, observe the wild things all around you, keep track of birds and other wildlife you see, and take photos if you can.  Below is a grid with sample photos of birds and you can use this form to record what you are seeing, or make your own list.  You may well see birds and wildlife other than what’s on the list, and that’s OK!  For example, just this morning, Sister Ann Howard, our Director of Campus Ministry, saw this handsome pair of pileated woodpeckers on a tree on Connecticut Avenue. Well done, Sister Ann! And Shelda Summons NHP ’20 sent me some geese!





So, the competition is already shaping up!!  What are you seeing out there?  Write them down, take some photos, and send me your entries by the end of the day on Wednesday, April 15.  You can simply send me a list describing every bird or wild critter you observe, or use the checklist below, or take photos.  If you want to tell me a story about your favorite wild thing, include that.  I will publish the lists and photos on my blog next week.  Send entries to me —

Oh, yes, prizes.  Everyone who enters will get a copy of one of my favorite wildlife photos.  The best entries will each get a beautiful Audubon poster.  How many depends on how good the entries are!  So grab your notebook and binoculars, or just go outside and start observing!

Message from Trinity President Pat McGuire
Passover Prayer, Easter Coming, Summer Sessions Information

Dear Trinity Students and Colleagues,

Tonight begins the observance of Passover in the Jewish tradition, usually a time to gather over the tradition-rich Seder meal.  This year the tradition continues but in ways that observe the physical distancing required by the current coronavirus crisis.  In looking for a prayer to signify the occasion, I found a beautiful prayer written by Rabbinic Pastor Cantor Lisa Levine, “A Payer for Passover in the Era of Covid-19” for your reflections today.

Tomorrow is Holy Thursday in the Christian and Catholic faith traditions, the commemoration of the Last Supper, followed by Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday.  Trinity is closed starting tomorrow, Thursday, through Sunday, and I ask you to take some time during these next four days to pause, rest and reflect, try to get outside for a while, enjoy the company of your families.  It’s certainly strange to be in this important religious season and not be able to be at church, but you can be observant in many other ways while staying safe at home.  The Archdiocese of Washington will live stream most of the services and liturgies of the next few days, and other churches and ministries are likely to do the same.

Turning to more mundane but necessary Trinity business:

Summer Sessions Online: We have made the decision that all May Term and Summer Semester classes will be conducted online, continuing the current course delivery formats.  We will provide more information about all of this immediately after the Easter break but I wanted you to know as soon as possible for your own planning.

Fall Semester: Much too early to know about our fall semester, but as of now, we are planning a regular fall semester with the understanding that some dates may change and more instruction than usual might be in the hybrid format, meaning some online and some in class.  Of course this may change.  We are planning for different scenarios, so please stay tuned…

Grading Policy:  As a reminder, our faculty have agreed to allow the Pass/No Pass option for all courses except those that are required for licensure programs like Nursing and Occupational Therapy.  Your individual deans will provide more information on this.  You certainly do not need to take this option, and letter grades will also continue unless you choose the P/NP option according to the guidelines that the deans have distributed.  Please note that your GPA is not affected by a P/NP grade.  Also, some students have questioned how employers or graduate schools might view P/NP grades.  It’s important to understand that this kind of policy has been enacted by universities across the country, and the Spring 2020 semester will always stand in history as somewhat unusual.  Unless they are extremely out of touch with reality (there are always a few…), employers and grad schools should not have any negative reaction to P/NP grades for the Spring 2020 semester — and most of the time even in normal times, what they are really looking at is your overall GPA and whether you have graduated.

Any student who has a question about this policy or how your grades might be affected by this semester should be in touch with your academic advisor or dean.  We are devoted to helping you to end this semester successfully.  Keeping lines of communication open and active is essential.  Please do not pass on rumors, but instead, ask us if you have questions.

Graduation:  For those students who complete all requirements successfully at the end of this semester, your official graduation date will be May 16, 2020, and that will appear on your transcripts and diplomas. We will mail your diplomas so you have them as quickly as possible. As of this writing, we do not have a firm date for the commencement ceremony since the Covid-19 situation continues to evolve.  June is probably not likely at this point, so we will push to later in the cycle, with September looking more likely.  We will definitely have the ceremony with all the trimmings, so please know that we will let you know with enough time to make plans.

In the meantime — we want to celebrate our seniors and graduating students, so we will be back to you right after Easter with plans for a lovely virtual celebration.  Hint:  it will involve your photos in your caps and gowns, decorated mortarboards, and stories of your journeys to your degrees.  So, you can start thinking about that now….

And, if all else fails, you can go outside and find some birds so you can Enter the First Annual Trinity Backyard Bird Contest!  Easter weekend seems like a great time to do this.  Oh, and by the way, your children are welcome to play along!!  Enjoy!

My thanks, as always, to everyone for working so hard and cooperating earnestly with the dramatic changes of these days.  In your prayers during these holy days, please also remember the members of Trinity families who are afflicted with coronavirus, and those who have died; and please pray for the strength and courage of the medical professionals, including numerous Trinity graduates, who are on the front lines right now.

May you have a weekend of some joy and much peace,


President Pat McGuire

Message from Trinity President Pat McGuire
Week #4: Holy Week, Easter, Passover, Purple and Gold Spirit!

Dear Trinity Students and Colleagues,

We’re starting the fourth week of this remarkable journey, and I hope that each of you can find some time this week to chill out a little bit, relax, meditate, pray, sleep… whatever moves you!  We’re doing this all together, and you are doing it with grace and cooperation and compassion for each other.  Thank you!

This week on the Christian and Catholic calendar is Holy Week, and on the Jewish calendar Passover begins this Wednesday, April 8.  Normally, these days would be full of time spent together, whether worshiping in Church or gathering around the seder table, our religious traditions are intensely social and always expressed in community.  Yesterday, Palm Sunday, Pope Francis celebrated the traditional liturgy in an empty cathedral, as Archbishop Gregory also did in Washington, and countless priests around he nation and world did the same.  The images of the empty churches were, at once, stunning and deeply moving, reminding us that we really cannot remain in physical or spiritual isolation for long.  We are social beings, born to live and work in community with each other.  The Pope’s Palm Sunday homily challenges us: “The tragedy we are experiencing summons us to take seriously the things that are serious, and not to be caught up in those that matter less; to rediscover that life is of no use if not used to serve others.  …let us ask for the grace to live in order to serve.  May we reach out to those who are suffering and those most in need.  May we not be concerned about what we lack, but what good we can do for others.”

I see great works of service every day within the Trinity family — the faculty who are working so hard to keep students moving forward in the great endeavors of higher learning — the format may be new and strange and challenging, but the purpose is timeless and constant to enlarge and expand our intellectual capacity and treasury of knowledge.  I see students who are stretched to live up to the expectations of faculty even as you care for the education of your own children now gathered around the same table of learning at home, sharing technology as best possible, and also trying to work remotely as well — service to family, to community, to others in so many ways.  I also see our staff who are working in so many creative ways — most from home and also a number of staff who come to campus to keep everything going.  I am so grateful to all of you!  Your work in service to each other, your families and communities also keeps hope bright through these difficult days.

This is a solemn week, but no reason we can’t have a little fun as well.  Watch tomorrow’s message for my First Annual Backyard Bird Challenge, something that will certainly entertain you during the Easter holidays.

Take a minute and see our new Purple and Gold Video now posted on my blog here. 

My blog also includes a number of shout-outs — thanks to all who submitted them, and if you’d like to recognize someone for great work or wonderful service, please send me their name and a sentence or two, I will add them to my blog!

More seriously, I know that many of you have expressed concerns about your personal finances, your Trinity bills, other related issues.  We are awaiting word from the U.S. Department of Education about how they will distribute the funds for higher education that are in the CARES Act that Congress passed last week.  I do not have details right now, but please know that we will be looking to use any grant we get from that stimulus package to help alleviate some of the financial concerns we are hearing.  I will share more with you when I know more.

Meanwhile, if you have a more immediate need please let me know and I will connect you with the right person to provide some help.  Don’t suffer in silence — we are here to help, and we must be in solidarity with each other and all who need us through this ongoing time of historic pandemic and global crisis.

Stay well, be healthy, and be at home…. And don’t forget to wear a mask if you go shopping for groceries, do your part to help everyone stay healthy!


President Pat McGuire

Osprey will be coming back to the Chesapeake Bay this month….

Message from Trinity President Pat McGuire
Reducing stress: Online classes, financial concerns

Dear Trinity Students and Colleagues,

Thanks to everyone who participated in our community survey about the challenges you are facing during the coronavirus crisis. I summarized your top concerns and answer the biggest questions in a Q & A posted on my blog today.  Click on that link to read my answers to your concerns about reducing stress with online classes, financial concerns, refunds and graduation.  I’ll be adding other questions and answers on this blog in the days ahead so please feel free to let me know about topics you’d like to see addressed in this format.

I am very concerned about student stress with online learning.  Please note that I have shared the student survey answers with our deans and faculty, and I have asked them to work on solutions to reduce the volume of assignments and screen time while certainly not reducing the purpose of the class or learning goals.  I also very much appreciate that faculty are feeling stressed as well, and I hope everyone knows that you can step back a little and take a deep breath, this is an unusual time and we have to give each other a wide berth of understanding and support.  I think everyone, students and faculty, are absolutely heroic and making Trinity proud!!

I know there’s a great deal of financial stress for everyone right now, and while we cannot resolve all of that, we do have some emergency funds and support for students administered by Dr. Karen Gerlach ( and also the food pantry administered by Dean Meechie Bowie (

We are looking at other financial issues including funds that may be available through the recently-enacted stimulus package, and as we move into April I hope to have more information to help everyone with these concerns.  Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work with public agencies to figure out some of the solutions.

You are always welcome to write to me directly with your concerns at   I do read all of my email and try to answer the same day…

I continue to invite “shout outs” to recognize faculty, staff, students who are doing great work through these hard days.  Here are some more:

A senior criminal justice major gave this very nice shout-out to Associate Dean Mostowy:  “I have taken Professor Thomas  Mostowy multiple times and have had an enriching experience each time, online has been no different. He has responded promptly to my multiple emails and has made learning virtually a nice experience. His work has been manageable and he is available all of the time. he’s very accommodating and I really appreciate him. Thank you so much.”

I would also like to give a big shout-out to our very hard-working team of academic advisors who are working with the guidance of our academic deans and Associate Provost Debbie Van Camp who also deserves this shout-out.  Please cheer for all of our advisors including (CAS Advisors) Tabatha Cuadra, Kenya Kirkland, Alex Earley and Marla Cunningham; (NHP Advisor) Sarah Trippensee; (SPS, BGS and EDU Advisors) Antonio Otey, Stacey Holloway and Brittany Wills; and also Cristina Lynch who advises all students at THEARC as well as manages our program there.  THANK YOU, TEAM, you are heroes for so many of our students!!

Who else deserves recognition?  Please send me your “shout out” on email

Don’t forget, Friday is Purple and Gold Day so plan your wardrobe now!!  Of course, true Trinity die-hards wear their Trinity gear every day so please remember to send me your photos of what it’s like to be “working/learning at home” as part of our historic record of these epic days….

Also, I am serious about the backyard bird challenge I mentioned yesterday… start looking out for the bird varieties in your yards and neighborhood, write down what you are seeing and I’ll be inviting you next week to send in your lists… with some very nice prizes for the best ones!  What prizes?  You’ll be surprised…. Here’s a nice female northern cardinal.

With thanks to everyone and prayers for your continuing health and safety,

President Pat McGuire


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