Imagine Our Founders
Imagine an idea so powerful that it would change thousands of lives for more than a century.
Imagine starting with nothing — no money, no land, no buildings, “no man of business,” no faculty, no students — and yet finding a way to build a great institution of higher learning in a very short period of time.
Imagine doing all of this with no cell phones — no telephones at all! — no internet, no email or texting, only handwritten letters and couriers or postmen.
Imagine having some priests declare you a heretic for wanting to educate women. Imagine picking up the newspaper to see your great project denounced and slandered.
Imagine sitting in your full woolen habit on a steam-driven train (no air conditioning then!) on a “day trip” to Atlantic City to meet with the Pope’s ambassador (the papal nuncio) to explain to him why this idea was so important for the future of society and the Church that the Pope must approve it.
Imagine their satisfaction when approval arrived.
Imagine the audacious drive and creative powers that led the founders of Trinity College to persist through all the obstacles thrown their way from the earliest days in 1897, through incorporating on August 20, 1897, through buying the land, building Main Hall and welcoming the first students and faculty in November 1900. (Follow the Countdown to History every day leading up to August 20…)
This year, as Trinity celebrates our glorious 125th year as a powerful center of learning and achievement, we will trace the story of our Founders, the great Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur whose imagination, fortitude and inventive spirit made our lives in and through Trinity possible.
We celebrate our history and this anniversary not out of any nostalgic longing for a glorious past, though we respect and admire all that has come before us. But the most important part of Trinity’s founding story and history is the way it teaches us today, and informs future generations, about WHY Trinity exists, about our mission and purpose, and about HOW we move forward with the same sense of zeal, persistence and imagination that animated our founders.
Our history speaks to our future. We go into this anniversary era with a sense of joy, eagerness for all that is yet to be, and gratitude to those brave women whose idea sparked a revolution in education that is still urgent for the students of Trinity today.