This year, Trinity reaches its sesquicentennial. And we’ve come a long way.
As university historian Douglas Brackenridge mentioned in his column last week, only 502 students graduated from Trinity in its first 50 years. Since 2005, Trinity has graduated an average of more than 600 students per year. Trinity enrolls roughly four times as many students now than it did when the university celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1919.
In the early 1970s, discussion of moving women into all-male dorms began. In the Feb. 6, 1970, issue of the Trinitonian, Jack Gullahorn wrote a letter to the editor, urging the student body to look at this residence relocation plan as “the first step necessary for the success of any progressive program designed to improve university life,” something he said should be “received with the frame of mind and maturity that is usually expected of college-age men and women.”
In 1983, Trinity student Steve Teepe came out in a letter to the editor, calling out homophobia on campus. In the following months, Teepe and fellow student David Kerr created a gay student group. Two-and-a-half years after Teepe’s initial letter and debate over the morality of the club, the Gay/Lesbian Support Group was granted status as a registered student organization.
At around the same time, Andrea Scott wrote in to the Trinitonian about recognizing the successes of black students on campus. Her letter was printed in the Feb. 24, 1984 issue, where she wrote, “I know that Trinity does not have a large black enrollment and the need for some type of recognition might not have seemed necessary; but the recognition would be for the entire school, not just the black population.” Scott suggested the creation of a black student group to benefit the community.
Trinity students are foundational to our community and to our progress. Just this school year, students have helped relaunch the Coalition for Respect; have proposed new ways to bring together communities, like introducing the plans to a new African-American Student Affinity hall; and have been strongly active in politics and campaigns. In many ways, the passion that Trinity students had in the past remains.
While, of course, community members, faculty and staff have aided in creating the Trinity atmosphere that exists today, it’s been the students who have pushed it to its limits. There is still room for improvement on campus, and Trinity students are at the helm.
So when you celebrate the 150th this week, think back to all this community has accomplished, but remember what is left to do. We must continue to fight for all students to be seen and heard. We can only hope that future Tigers will continue striving to such lengths.