Trinity College (Connecticut)

Last updated
Trinity College
Trinity College Connecticut Seal.svg
Former names
Washington College (1823–1845)
MottoPro Ecclesia Et Patria (Latin)
Motto in English
For Church and Country
Type Private liberal arts college
EstablishedMay 1823;198 years ago (1823-05)
Endowment $605.7 million (2020) [1]
President Joanne Berger-Sweeney
Vice-presidentMichael T. Casey
Dean Sonia Cardenas
Academic staff
298 (Fall 2018) [2]
Students2,198 (Spring 2021) [3]
Undergraduates 2,098 (Spring 2021) [3]
Postgraduates 91 (Spring 2021) [3]
United States
CampusUrban, 100 acres (40 ha)
Colors Blue and old gold   
Athletics NCAA Division IIINESCAC
Nickname Bantams
Affiliations CIC, Annapolis Group, Oberlin Group, CLAC, Space-grant
Sports29 varsity teams [4]
Mascot Bantam
Website OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
Trinity College Connecticut.svg

Trinity College is a private liberal arts college in Hartford, Connecticut. Founded as Washington College in 1823, it is the second-oldest college in the state of Connecticut.


Coeducational since 1969, the college enrolls 2,235 students. [3] Trinity offers 41 majors and 28 interdisciplinary minors. [5] The college is a member of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC).


Early history

Founder Thomas Church Brownell Thomas Church Brownell (cropped).jpg
Founder Thomas Church Brownell
[[Thomas Church Brownell|Bishop Thomas Brownell] opened Washington College in 1824 to nine students [6]  and the vigorous protest of Yale alumni.

A 14-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. [7]

The college was renamed Trinity College in 1845; the original campus consisted of two Greek Revival buildings. One of the Greek Revival buildings housed a chapel, library, and lecture rooms. The other was a dormitory for the male students who attended the college. [8]

The site next to Bushnell Park, where Trinity College then stood, was deemed an ideal location for building a statehouse. [7] So the trustees were persuaded to sell the entire campus to the city in 1872 for $600,000. [7] The trustees moved the college to an 80-acre site on a ridge on the western edge of Hartford. [7] Then-president Abner Jackson hired an English architect to draw up plans for an entire campus. [7] Construction of the new campus was begun under the presidency of Thomas Ruggles Pynchon (1874–1883). [7]

New campus

William Burges's original plan for the campus of Trinity College Burgesplan.jpg
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. [9] 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. [7] 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. [6]

Twentieth century

Trinity ended the nineteenth century as an institution primarily serving the Hartford area. The early years of the century were primarily growth years for Trinity. Enrollment was increased to 500 men.

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.

The founding of the University of Hartford in 1957 allowed Trinity to focus on becoming a regional institution rather than a local one.

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. [10] [11]

In 1968, the trustees voted to withdraw from the Association of Episcopal Colleges. [12]

Also in 1968, the trustees of Trinity College voted to make a commitment to enroll more minority students, providing financial aid as needed. 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. [13]

Less than one year later, Trinity College became coeducational and admitted its first female students, as transfers from Vassar College and Smith College. [14] Today, women make up about 50 percent of Trinity's student body.

Academic regalia

Trinity followed the European pattern of using academic regalia from its foundation, [15] and was one of only four US institutions (all associated with the Episcopal Church) to assign gowns and hoods for its degrees in 1883. [16] There were six degrees awarded at the time, all taking a black gown of silk or stuff and a hood of black silk lined according to the degree: BA white silk, MA dove-colored silk, BD crimson silk, DD scarlet silk, LLD pink silk, MusD purple silk. [16]

In 1894, a year before the introduction of the intercollegiate code on academic costume, the college brought in a new scheme of academic regalia. The hoods and gowns followed the shape of those used at the University of Oxford except that the hood for Doctors of Divinity was of the shape used at the University of Cambridge. A variety of different colours and fabrics were used for the hoods: BA black stuff edged palatinate purple, BS black stuff edged light blue silk, BLitt black stuff edged russet brown silk, BD black silk edged scarlet silk (not in use by 1957), LLB black silk edged dark blue silk (not in use by 1957), MusB black silk edged pink silk (not in use by 1957), MA black silk lined palatinate purple silk, MS black stuff lined light blue silk, DD scarlet cloth lined black silk, DLitt scarlet silk-lined russet brown silk, LLD scarlet silk lined dark blue silk, DCL crimson silk lined black silk, MusD white silk-lined pink silk, DSc black silk lined light blue silk, PhD black silk lined people silk (not in use by 1957), MD scarlet silk lined maroon silk (not in use by 1957). [15] [17] To this were added DPH black cloth lined salmon pink silk (1945), DHLitt scarlet silk-lined people silk (1947), DHum white silk-lined crimson (1957), and DST scarlet silk-lined blue with a gold chevron (1957). [15] As of 2018, the hoods for doctorates (except the PhD and MD) and for the MMus remain in use for honorary degrees, with the further addition since 1957 of the DFA wrote lined white with a red Chevron. [18]


Trinity College in 1909, showing the Long Walk and three attached buildings: Northam (center), Jarvis (right), Seabury (left) PictureHartfordCTTrinityCollegePanorama1909.jpg
Trinity College in 1909, showing the Long Walk and three attached buildings: Northam (center), Jarvis (right), Seabury (left)

Trinity offers three degrees: the B.A., B.S., and M.A. (in a few subjects). The college offers 41 majors, as well as the options 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. [19]

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. [20]


Admissions building Trinity College Hartford Admissions building.jpg
Admissions building

The 2020 annual ranking by U.S. News & World Report categorizes Trinity as "more selective". [21]

For the Class of 2022 (enrolling fall 2018), Trinity received 6,096 applications, accepted 2,045 (33.5%) and enrolled 579. [22]

As of fall 2015, Trinity College does not require the SAT or ACT for students applying for admission. [23] Of the 31% of enrolled freshmen submitting SAT scores, the middle 50% range was 630–710 for evidence-based reading and writing, and 670–750 for math, while of the 23% of enrolled freshmen submitting ACT results, the middle 50% range for the composite score was 29–32. [22]

Rankings and reputation

University rankings
Forbes [24] 109
THE/WSJ [25] 87
Liberal arts colleges
U.S. News & World Report [26] 44
Washington Monthly [27] 20

Trinity is known as one of the Little Ivies.[ citation needed ] [28] U.S. News & World Report ranked Trinity tied for 46th in its 2020 ranking of best national liberal arts colleges in the United States. It was also ranked 49th for best value school. [29] Additionally, College Choice ranked Trinity 19th among best national liberal arts colleges. [30] 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. [31]

The Wall Street Journal has ranked Trinity as one of the 50 best feeder schools in the nation for top graduate school programs. [32] Data compiled by the National Science Foundation lists Trinity as a liberal arts college that graduates disproportionately high numbers of future scientists.[ citation needed ]

In 2016, authors Howard and Matthew Greene continued to include Trinity in the third edition of Hidden Ivies: 63 Top Colleges that Rival the Ivy League. [33] In addition, The Princeton Review has given Trinity a 92 (out of 99) for selectivity and in 2017 named Trinity as a best value college. In 2018, Forbes magazine ranked Trinity College 89th in the country and 35th for best liberal arts universities. TIME magazine ranked Trinity College 84th among all colleges and universities in the nation. [34] [35]

Student life


The bantam

The Bantam, Trinity's mascot Trinity Bantams.gif
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. [36] [ citation needed ]

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.

Student publications


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. [37] 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 in September 2015 and replaced with the "Campaign for Community" effort to establish more inclusive social traditions on campus. [38]

Trinity currently has the following sororities and fraternities: [39]

Hartford campus

Seabury Hall, part of a $32.9 million renovation and restoration of the Long Walk buildings Seabury Hall.jpg
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 Woodward. 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. [40]


Trinity College Chapel, Hartford Trincollchapel.jpg
Trinity College Chapel, Hartford

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.[ citation needed ]

Main quadrangle

The Downes Memorial clock tower TrinCollHartford.jpg
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). [41] 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 English Elm Tree on Trinity College Quad, Hartford, CT - June 15, 2011.jpg
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.

Other important buildings on campus

Albert C. Jacobs Life Sciences Center Albert C. Jacobs Life Sciences Center Trinity College Hartford.jpg
Albert C. Jacobs Life Sciences Center
Austin Arts Center Austin Arts Center.jpg
Austin Arts Center
The Trinity College chapel, built in 1933, is an example of Collegiate Gothic architecture TrinCollHartfordChap.jpg
The Trinity College chapel, built in 1933, is an example of Collegiate Gothic architecture
Raether Library and Information Technology Center Raether Library and Information Technology Center.jpg
Raether Library and Information Technology Center
Northam and Seabury Long Walk buildings, restored in 2008 Northram and seabury.jpg
Northam and Seabury Long Walk buildings, restored in 2008

Contributions to the arts

Trinity's Cinestudio is a 1930s-style movie theatre Cinestudio facade.jpg
Trinity's Cinestudio is a 1930s-style movie theatre

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. [45] Cinestudio has been in the Clement Chemistry Building since it was founded in the 1970s.


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. [46]

Since 2006, the station has broadcast the Trinity Samba Fest from the Hartford waterfront featuring regional and international talent. [47] [48] [49]

Notable alumni

John smith phelps.jpg
John S. Phelps, 23rd Governor of Missouri, praised as one of Missouri's best governors
Danny Meyer FT Charity Wine Dinner 2010.jpg
Danny Meyer, Shake Shack founder and chief executive officer of the Union Square Hospitality Group
David Chang David Shankbone 2010.jpg
David Chang, Momofuku founder and host of Ugly Delicious
George Will.jpg
George Will, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and political commentator
Leffingwell cropped.JPG
Ernest de Koven Leffingwell, influential Arctic Explorer and geologist
Boston Red Sox cap logo.svg
Sam Kennedy, President and CEO of the Boston Red Sox

Among Trinity College's distinguished alumni include many influential and historical people, including five governors, US Cabinet members, federal judges, political commentators and journalists, and senior executives in business and industry.

Notable alumni of Trinity College include:

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Coordinates: 41°44′49″N72°41′24″W / 41.747°N 72.690°W / 41.747; -72.690