Trinity College (Connecticut)

For other institutions named Trinity College, see Trinity College.
Trinity College
Former names
Washington College (1823–1845)
Motto Pro Ecclesia Et Patria (Latin)
Motto in English
For Church and Country
Type Private liberal arts college
Established May 1823
Endowment $562.2 million (2015)[1]
President Joanne Berger-Sweeney
Dean Tim Cresswell
Academic staff
Students 2,350
Undergraduates 2,255 (Fall 2014)[2]
Postgraduates 95 (Fall 2014)[2] (includes post-doctoral students and visiting scholars)
Location Hartford, Connecticut, United States
Campus Urban
Colors Blue and old gold          
Athletics NCAA Division IIINESCAC
Sports 29 varsity teams[3]
Nickname Bantams
Mascot Bantam
Affiliations CIC, Annapolis Group, Oberlin Group, CLAC

Trinity College is a private liberal arts college in Hartford, Connecticut. Founded in 1823, it is the second-oldest college in the state of Connecticut after Yale University. The college is an urban campus.

Coeducational since 1969, the college enrolls 2,300 students. Trinity offers 38 majors and 26 minors, with a student to faculty ratio of 10:1. The college is a member of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). U.S. News & World Report ranked Trinity tied for 38th in its 2017 ranking of best national liberal arts colleges in the United States.[4]


Early history

In Connecticut, a state dominated by Congregationalists, Episcopalians sought for years to set up their own college. The 1818 Connecticut Constitution disestablished the Congregationalist church and provided an opening, which was taken by Bishop Thomas Brownell. Yale alumni protested vigorously, but Washington College opened in 1824 to nine students.[5]

A fourteen-acre site was chosen, at the time about a half-mile from the city of Hartford. Over time Bushnell Park was laid out to the north and the east, creating a beautiful space.[6]

The college was renamed Trinity College in 1845; the original campus consisted of two Greek Revival buildings, one housing a chapel, library, and lecture rooms and the other, a dormitory.[7]

The site next to Bushnell Park, where Trinity College then stood, was deemed to be an ideal location to build a state house.[6] So the trustees were persuaded to sell the entire campus to the city in 1872 for the sum of $600,000.[6] The trustees moved the college to an 80 acre site on a ridge on the western edge of Hartford.[6] Then-president Abner Jackson hired an English architect to design plans for an entire campus.[6] Construction of the new campus was begun under the presidency of Thomas Ruggles Pynchon (1874-1883).[6]

New campus

William Burges's original plan for the campus of Trinity College

In 1872, Trinity College was persuaded by the state to move from its downtown “College Hill” location (now Capitol Hill, site of the state capitol building) to its current 100-acre (40 ha) campus a mile southwest. Although the college sold its land overlooking the Park River and Bushnell Park in 1872, it did not complete its move to its Gallows Hill campus until 1878.[8] The original plans for the Gallows Hill site were drawn by the noted Victorian architect William Burges but were too ambitious and too expensive to be fully realized. Only one section of the proposed campus plan, the Long Walk, was completed.

By 1889 the library contained 30,000 volumes, and the school boasted over 900 graduates.[6] Enrollment reached 122 in 1892. President Remsen Ogilby (1920–43) enlarged the campus, and more than doubled the endowment. The faculty grew from 25 to 62, and the student body from 167 to 530 men. Under President Keith Funston (1943–51), returning veterans expanded the enrollment to 900.[5]

Twentieth century

Trinity ended the nineteenth century as an institution primarily serving the Hartford area. The founding of the University of Hartford in 1957, however, allowed Trinity to focus on becoming a regional institution rather than a local one. The early years of the century were primarily growth years for Trinity. Enrollment was increased to 500 men.

1905 postcard to a Miss Irene Jackson (Message: "Here's where you find interesting specimens to analize [sic]. Very promising.")

In 1932, under President Remsen Ogilby, the Gothic chapel was completed and became the symbol of Trinity College. It replaced the Seabury chapel which had become too small for the student body.

In 1962, Connecticut Public Television (CPTV) began its first broadcasts in the Trinity College Public Library, and later in Boardman Hall, a science building on campus.[9][10]

In 1968 the trustees voted to withdraw from the Association of Episcopal Colleges.

Also in 1968, the trustees of Trinity College voted to make a commitment to enroll (with financial aid as needed) more minority students. This decision was preceded by a siege of the administrative offices in the Downes and Williams Memorial buildings during which Trinity students would not allow the president or trustees to leave until they agreed to the resolution.

Less than one year later, Trinity College became coeducational and admitted its first female students, as transfers from Vassar College. Today, women make up about 50 percent of Trinity's student body.


Trinity College in 1909, showing the Long Walk and three attached buildings: Northam (center), Jarvis (right), Seabury (left)

Trinity offers three types of degrees: B.A., B.S., as well as M.A. in a few subjects. In total, the college offers 38 majors. Students also have the option of creating a self-designed major or adding an interdisciplinary or departmental minor. Trinity is part of a small group of liberal arts schools that offer degrees in engineering. Trinity has a student to faculty ratio of 9:1.

Study abroad

Study away is a part of the Trinity experience and is also a component of Trinity’s urban/global focus. Approximately 70 percent of Trinity undergraduates study abroad or in another U.S. city before graduating. In addition to the Trinity College, Rome Campus, Trinity has programs in Paris, Barcelona, Vienna, Trinidad and Tobago, Cape Town, and Buenos Aires that are partially staffed by Trinity professors. In addition there are many other study abroad programs which Trinity students are approved to take part in. In 2012 Trinity established a program in Shanghai through a partnership with Fudan University.[11][12]

Trinity College, Rome Campus

Trinity College, Rome Campus (TCRC), is a study abroad campus of Trinity College. It was established in 1970 and is in a residential area of Rome on the Aventine Hill close to the Basilica of Santa Sabina within the precincts of a convent run by an order of nuns.[13]

The program usually consists of 50–70 students from different American colleges and universities. Students can either attend TCRC for a semester or for their summer program. Each semester, there are usually a range of courses from economics to art history. Most courses make use of the city of Rome by conducting numerous walking tours and trips. Every student enrolled in the program is required to take the appropriate level of study of Italian language. The program also regularly makes trips to other parts of Italy, such as Florence, Venice, and Capri.


Admissions building

Admission to Trinity has been increasingly competitive in recent years; this may be attributed to a large increase in admission applications. In January 2011, Trinity's Dean of Admissions reported a 45% application increase. A New York Times article in January 2011 noted a 47% increase, the highest increase of the nation's most selective colleges.[14][15][16]

For the class of 2019, Trinity received 7,570 applications and accepted 2,530 (33.4%); 559 enrolled.[17] The yield rate (the percentage of accepted students who enroll) was approximately 22%.[17] The middle 50% range of SAT scores for enrolled freshmen was 570–670 for critical reading, 580–670 for math, and 580–670 for writing.[17]


University rankings
Forbes[18] 84
Liberal arts colleges
U.S. News & World Report[19] 38
Washington Monthly[20] 85

U.S. News & World Report ranked Trinity tied for 38th in its 2017 ranking of best national liberal arts colleges in the United States.[4] However, the college joined the "Annapolis Group" in August 2007, an organization of more than 100 of the nation's liberal arts schools, in refusing to participate in the magazine's rankings.[21]

The Wall Street Journal has ranked Trinity as one of the 50 best "feeder schools" in the nation for top graduate school programs.[22] Data compiled by the National Science Foundation lists Trinity as a liberal arts college that graduates disproportionately high numbers of future scientists.

In 2009, authors Howard and Matthew Greene included Trinity in the second edition of Hidden Ivies: 50 Top Colleges that Rival the Ivy League.[23] Likewise, The Princeton Review has given Trinity a 95 (out of 100) for selectivity and in 2011 named Trinity as a best value college. In addition, Forbes magazine in 2015 ranked Trinity College 81st among colleges and universities in the nation.[24]

A 2011 Huffington Post article named Trinity one of the top 10 trendiest schools in the United States, along with other exclusive schools such as Columbia and Yale. The article noted Trinity's "drastic application increases and soaring student reviews" and "close-knit student body."[16]

Student life



The matriculation ceremony, sometimes referred to as the "signing of the books," first started in 1826 and is the oldest continuously observed tradition at Trinity. First year students formally join Trinity College as students by signing the matriculation register. By signing the register, students agree to the declaration found in The Charter and Standing Rules that reads: "I promise to observe the Statutes of Trinity College; to obey all its Rules and Regulations; to discharge faithfully all scholastic duties imposed upon me; and to maintain and defend all the rights, privileges, and immunities of the College according to my station and degree in the same." Symbolic of Trinity's becoming coeducational in 1969, the first student to sign the matriculation register was a woman.[25]

The Bantam

The Bantam, Trinity's mascot

Trinity's mascot, the bantam, was conceived by Joseph Buffington, Class of 1875, who was a federal judge and trustee of the College. He was a noted speaker, and gave an address during an 1899 dinner with alumni of other prestigious colleges. Giving his view on what a Trinity student is, and supporting his view that Trinity students are different from the "collegiate barnyard" consisting of Harvard and Yale (amongst others such as Amherst), Buffington said: "But I tell you, my fellow chanticleers, that the Trinity bantam has been brought up in the Trinity barnyard on different principles, and the most marked outcome of his collegiate training is the fostering of a habit which leads him to size things from his own standpoint, and not have somebody else size them for him." He continued, saying: "You will therefore understand, gentlemen, the spirit in which the Trinity bantam, game from comb to spur, crows at your door, hops in, shakes his tail feathers, and with a sociable nod to the venerable John, and a good natured "How d'ydo" to the ponderous old Elihu steps into the collegiate cock pit, makes his best bow to the tiger, says he is glad to be here, is not a whit abashed at your hugeness, [and] is satisfied with himself and his own particular coop." [25]

Subsequent to this address, word spread throughout campus, and newspapers began to refer to the Trinity athletic teams as the "bantams." Soon after, the bantam became accepted at Trinity and at fellow colleges as the mascot and has been so ever since.

Alma Mater

Trinity's alma mater is "’Neath the Elms." It was written in 1882 by Trinity student Augustus P. Burgwin to the tune of a song that his butler often sang. When "'Neath the Elms" was written, the College had been planting elm trees on the quad, which remain today. Trinity alumni use this as a motto when referencing Trinity; for example, a Trinity alumnus would say to another: "I'll see you 'neath the elms." The alma mater of Trinity College is also the basis for other terms used on campus, such as "Ol' Trin."

Student publications

A Cappella groups

Improv groups


The Trinity College Department of Athletics currently sponsors a wide range of sports.

Fraternities and sororities

Officially, approximately 18% of the student body are affiliated with a Greek organization.[26] They operate under guidelines and regulations established and enforced by the Trinity College.

In 2012, then-president James F. Jones proposed a social policy for Trinity College which made a commitment, among other things, to require all sororities and fraternities to achieve gender parity within two years (i.e., for each sorority and fraternity to have an equal number of male and female members) or face closure. Trinity College's co-ed mandate for fraternities and sororities was withdrawn by the school's administration in September 2015, having been replaced by a "Campaign for Community" effort to establish more inclusive social traditions on campus.[27]

Trinity currently has the following sororities and fraternities:

Hartford campus

Seabury Hall, part of a $32.9 million renovation and restoration of the Long Walk buildings

Long Walk Buildings

The first buildings completed on the current campus were Seabury and Jarvis halls in 1878. Together with Northam Towers, these make up what is known as the "Long Walk." These buildings are an early example of Collegiate Gothic architecture in the United States, built to plans drawn up by William Burges, with F.H. Kimball as supervising architect. The Long Walk has been expanded and is connected with several other buildings. On the northernmost end there is the Chapel, whose western side is connected to the Downes and Williams Memorial building. Heading south, the next building is Jarvis Hall, named after Abraham Jarvis. Jarvis becomes Northam Towers heading south, then Seabury Hall. Seabury Hall, named for Samuel Seabury, is connected to Hamlin Hall. To Hamlin's east is Cook, then Goodwin and then Woodard. The dormitories on the Long Walk end there, and the terminal building on the south end of the long walk is Clement/Cinestudio. Clement is the chemistry building; Cinestudio a student run movie theater. If one travels to the south of Hamlin there will be Mather Hall and the Dean of Students Office.[28]


The Trinity College Chapel was built in the 1930s to replace Trinity's original chapel in Seabury Hall (now a lecture hall). The Chapel's facade is made almost entirely of limestone and connects to the adjacent Downes Memorial Clock Tower. Its primary architect was Philip Hubert Frohman, of Frohman, Robb and Little, who were also responsible for the National Cathedral in Washington, DC.

Main Quadrangle

The Downes Memorial clock tower

Trinity's campus features a central green known as the Main Quad, designed by famed architect Frederick Law Olmsted. The large expanse of grass is bound on the west by the Long Walk, on the east by the Lower Long Walk, on the north by the Chapel, and on the south by the Cook and Goodwin-Woodward dormitories. While a central green is a feature of many college campuses, Trinity's is notable for its unusually large, rectangular size, running the entire length of the Long Walk and with no walkways traversing it. Trees on the Quad have been planted in a 'T' configuration (for Trinity) with the letter's base at the statue of Bishop Brownell (built 1867).[29] and its top running the length of the Long Walk. Tradition holds that the trees were intended to distinguish Trinity's campus from Yale's. Also on the Quad are two cannons used on the USS Hartford, flagship of Admiral David Farragut during the American Civil War.

English Elm Tree on Trinity Quad

The whole of Trinity's campus is set out on a 100-acre (40 ha) parcel of land that is bound on the south by New Britain Avenue, on the west by Summit Street, on the east by Broad Street, and on the north by Allen Place. Trinity's former northern border, Vernon Street, has been transferred from the city of Hartford to Trinity College and closed off at one end (Broad Street), creating a cul-de-sac within Trinity's borders. Completed in 2001, and on what was formerly an abandoned bus depot adjacent to Trinity's campus, the Learning Corridor is a collection of K-12 public magnet schools co-created by Trinity and the governments of Hartford and Connecticut.


Crescent Street, on the southeastern end of campus, is the only through street on Trinity's campus. The only other exception until its recent closure was Vernon Street, at the north end of the campus. Since the street was transferred to the school from the city, Trinity widened and repaved it, as well as installing light posts about every ten feet and adding granite crosswalks, curbs, benches, and fenceposts. Vernon Street is the location of most of the campus' cultural houses and Greek organizations, as well as Vernon Social Center. There are also various residences on that street, including the President's house, the Dean of Students' house, other faculty housing, and the Smith House for visitors. Planning is currently underway to reconstruct Crescent Street in a fashion similar to Vernon Street, as the College has demolished blighted former public housing units that once occupied the street.

Other Important Buildings on Campus

The Trinity College chapel, built in 1933, is an example of English Gothic architecture
The $35 million Raether Library, completed in 2003, shown during a snow storm
Northam and Seabury Long Walk buildings, restored in 2008
Tulip Tree

Sustainability Initiatives

Trinity is a signatory of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. Students are involved with programs such as Green Campus, ConnPIRG, and The TREEhouse (Trinity Recreational and Environmental Education House). Students also have access to Zipcars, UPass bus passes.

Trinity College and Hartford

Trinity is in urban Hartford, within walking distance of the state capitol of Connecticut. The main campus is bordered by Summit Street, Allen Place, Broad Street and New Britain Avenue. WRTC-FM serves as the College's radio station, and can be heard throughout Hartford County.

Trinity and the community

Along with Trinity, the Learning Corridor, Hartford Hospital, and The Institute of Living make up the Southside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance, or SINA. SINA aims to create affordable housing in Hartford's Frog Hollow and Barry Square neighborhoods as well as in the creation of the Learning Corridor and the Trinity College Boys and Girls Club.

Trinity's library, computer resources and the new Koeppel Community Sports Complex are available to Hartford residents. The new sports complex functions both as a rink for Trinity’s ice hockey teams and as a public skating rink. Trinity also runs the Trinfo Café which provides Hartford residents with internet and computer access as well as computing services/education.

Trinity has a partnership with the Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (formerly Hartford Magnet Middle School) across the street. Trinity advises the school with academic affairs, provide professors to lead summer courses and opens up some Trinity courses to qualified seniors at Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy.[34]

In the summer months, when not in session, the college opens its campus to the community for its Plumb Memorial Carillon Concerts that are held on Wednesday nights. Trinity's 49-bell Carillon is one of approximately 200 such instruments in North America.

Contributions to the arts

Trinity's Cinestudio is a 1930s-style movie theatre
A student run film festival.

Cinestudio is an art cinema with 1930s-style design. An article in the Hartford Advocate described this non-profit organization, which depends solely on grants and the efforts of volunteer workers who are paid in free movies.[35] Cinestudio has been in the Clement Chemistry Building since it was founded in the 1970s.

Cinestudio is host to the annual Eyeball Film Festival, in which young filmmakers premier their latest works in front of their peers. The festival has judges, each schooled in film from a different perspective, who judge the students' films.

Fine arts

Trinity has a strong faculty in fine arts, including Picasso scholar and art historian Michael C. FitzGerald.


Trinity also hosts the annual Trinity International Hip Hop Festival. A three-day celebration of global hip hop culture, the festival features lectures, panel discussions, workshops and live performances. The festival was founded in 2006 with the goal of unifying Trinity with the city of Hartford.

Since 2006, the station has broadcast the Trinity Samba Fest from the Hartford waterfront featuring regional and international talent.[36] [37] [38]

Notable people

Some notable alumni of Trinity College include: (Chronologically ordered by class)


Notes and references

  1. As of June 30, 2015. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2014 to FY 2015" (PDF). National Association of College and University Business Officers and Commonfund Institute. 2016.
  2. 1 2 "Trinity College Common Data Set 2014-2015" (PDF). Trinity College.
  3. "Schools".
  4. 1 2 "National Liberal Arts Colleges - Trinity College". U.S. News & World Report. September 12, 2016.
  5. 1 2 Albert E. Van Dusen, Connecticut" (1961) pp 362-63
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Hartford, Conn., as a manufacturing, business and commercial center; with brief sketches of its history, attractions, leading industries, and institutions .. Hartford, CT: Hartford (Conn) Board of Trade. 1889. pp. 182–187. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  7. Albert E. Van Dusen, Connecticut" (1961) pp 362–63
  8. "Trinity College". Retrieved January 24, 2011.
  9. "Our History | Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network". Retrieved 2014-08-17.
  10. "CPTV Celebrates 50 Years: Present at the Creation - Connecticut Magazine - April 2013 - Connecticut". 1962-10-01. Retrieved 2014-08-17.
  11. "Trinity to Launch Study Abroad Program at Fudan University in 2012".
  12. "Office of Study Away".
  13. "The Trinity College Rome Campus".
  14. Steinberg, Jacques; Platt, Eric (January 31, 2011). "Applications Rise (Yet Again) at Dozens of Selective Colleges". The New York Times.
  15. Archived May 28, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  16. 1 2 Harrington, Rebecca (June 30, 2011). "The TRENDIEST Colleges". The Huffington Post.
  17. 1 2 3 "Fall Admissions Statistics, Traditional First-Time Full-Time Undergraduate Students" (PDF). Trinity College Office of Institutional Research. October 23, 2015.
  18. "America's Top Colleges". Forbes. July 5, 2016.
  19. "Best Colleges 2017: National Liberal Arts Colleges Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. September 12, 2016.
  20. "2016 Rankings - National Universities - Liberal Arts". Washington Monthly. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  21. "Trinity College". August 16, 2007. Retrieved January 24, 2011.
  22. Archived November 22, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  23. Greene, Howard; Greene, Matthew (2009). The Hidden Ivies: 50 Top Colleges - From Amherst to Williams - That Rival the Ivy League. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-172672-9. Retrieved February 2, 2013.
  24. "America's Top Colleges". Forbes. July 24, 2013.
  25. 1 2 Archived September 22, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  26. e. "Trinity College - College Facts". Retrieved 2015-08-16.
  27. "Important Message about Student Life".
  28. Thomas, Grace Powers (1898). Where to educate, 1898-1899. A guide to the best private schools, higher institutions of learning, etc., in the United States. Boston: Brown and Company. p. 26. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
  29. Archived May 26, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  30. "A Brief History of Campus Planning at Trinity".
  31. Knapp, Peter J., and Anne H. Knapp. Trinity College in the twentieth century: a history. Hartford, Conn.: Trinity College, 2000.
  32. "Trinity College and Hartford Public Schools Join Forces".
  33. "About". Cinestudio. September 25, 2008. Retrieved January 24, 2011.
  34. "Samba Fest" (Press release). Trinity College.
  35. Hamad, Michael (April 30, 2015). "Samba Fest: A Day Of Brazilian Culture, Music, Food". Hartford Courant.
  36. Boyer, Brian & Dell, Barbara Glassman. "Ninth Annual Samba Fest at Hartford Riverfront, May 2". MetroHartford Alliance.

Coordinates: 41°44′49″N 72°41′24″W / 41.747°N 72.690°W / 41.747; -72.690

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