Photo by Oliver Chapin-Eiserloh
Although skunk trap setters, administrative assistants and lighting specialists don’t always have much in common, they were all among the classified (hourly) employees who gathered for breakfast last Friday, Nov. 8. Trinity’s Board of Visitors organized the breakfast as a way of recognizing the hourly employees on campus.
“We come to campus and we just take for granted that the campus is always going to be beautiful, that the meals we’re served are always going to be delicious and they’re always going to be served by courteous, thoughtful people,” said Phil Wetz, Board of Visitors member. “We just felt as a group we wanted to recognize those people and to say thank you for what they to do to make Trinity such a very special place.”
Working directly under the president, the Board of Visitors is made up of 36 people, most of whom are alumni, from all over the country. Their mission includes being ambassadors, giving career assistance, assisting with fundraising, working on Trinity-endorsed projects and advising the president.
According to a 2016 Trintonian interview with vice president for Alumni Relations and Development Mike Bacon, the Board of Visitors had just begun more actively engaging with students that year. At the time, Bacon said the Board of Visitors was set to expand in future years. Since then, along with organizing appreciation events like the breakfast, the Board of Visitors has helped Mock Trial get funding as well as funded internships and other student awards.
The Classified Breakfast is just one example of the ways the Board of Visitors is trying to give back to the Trinity community. Class of 1988 graduate Cynthia Schluter is the current chair of the board and said it is in a transformation period at the moment.
“One of the things the Board of Visitors wants to do is really create a presence within Trinity but also, we are ambassadors of Trinity for anybody and everybody associated with it,” Schluter said. “We would like to become more involved with the students, the faculty, the staff, the administration.”
Schluter, her husband and her two sons all graduated from Trinity and the experiences they all had are why she is excited to be in a position where she can contribute to comunity’s experiences.
“We will forever be huge supporters of Trinity in multiple ways, whether it’s financially, with our time, with spreading the word, singing the praises of Trinity, really,” Schluter said. “I believe the type of education that our students get at Trinity is just so wonderful. I put our students up against anybody else no matter where they came from.”
Wetz graduated from Trinity in 1973 and was the chair before Schluter. He said he has always valued the opportunities to volunteer and better Trinity’s campus, both as a student and now, as an alumnus.
“I can remember the first semester my freshman year I volunteered to be a mentor for a teenage young man who came from an area where he didn’t have a lot of opportunities to do things,” Wetz said. “I started off doing volunteer work at Trinity my first month there. In my mind, Trinity has always valued that. It’s a lot broader in scope and a lot better organized than it was in my day, but it’s still part of the culture and I just love the fact that there are so many ways of doing that.”
Schluter said she wants Trinity’s community to know the Board of Visitors exists for their benefit. The group is currently trying to be more present on campus and more receptive to the community’s needs. Schluer said they all look forward to furthering their connections here.
“You have 36 incredibly amazing board members who are judges and attorneys and business owners and mentors for everything you can imagine,” Schluter said. “So we exist to help do what’s [in] our mission statement.”