This “May Message” arrives in your inbox a little late, but for good reason. Every year it seems like the last 30 days before commencement seem to be the most frenzied, and 2021 was more chaotic than almost any other.
This was a year when almost nothing was familiar or as it should have been. We encountered hybrid classes and altered living arrangements. Our world was rattled by racial reckoning and political unrest. We all faced significant personal struggles. We even endured a once-in-a-generation South Texas winter storm.
So on the morning of Saturday, May 22, as I dodged rain drops and glanced worriedly at the menacing clouds ahead of our commencement ceremonies, I chuckled under my breath. Just another small obstacle for us to overcome.
Right as rain. Our campus has dried out and the sun is shining again.
Our graduates have their diplomas and they are beginning the next chapter of their lives. As a campus - and as a nation - we are emerging from our caves of isolation, and while we have many challenges remaining, we are hopeful.
As I addressed our new graduates, I shared that although we seldom get to choose life’s circumstances, we have the power to choose how we respond to them. Our graduates - and all of us - overcame odds and obstacles through determination, togetherness, and resiliency. That’s the ultimate in Trinity-style experiential learning, isn’t it?
So now we face our future with the wisdom from the lessons we’ve learned. As we look forward, we carry with us an incredible momentum.
On May 20, we broke ground on the new Dicke Hall, a three-story 40,000 square-foot building designed to house the Humanities Collective, the Department of Religion, and the Department of English. Named for the Dicke family, including Janet and Jim, both members of the class of '68, and their son Jim III and his wife Katy, members of the class of '93 and '94, the Hall will offer modern, inviting spaces that foster collaborative cross-partnerships among liberal arts and professional programs. Humanities departments will have dedicated homes with flexible instructional and collaborative spaces and students from all majors will have access to state-of-the-art facilities.This living lab for the Humanities was made possible through the incredible generosity of individuals who believe in a Trinity education.
This month, Megan Mustain, Ph.D., our new vice president for Academic Affairs, and Dean of Students Demitirius Brown, Ed.D. will begin their careers at Trinity. I anticipate a great amount of collaboration in order to enhance our students’ journey at Trinity.
We hope to have many more announcements in the coming months that demonstrate Trinity’s commitment to moving forward and accelerating what’s next. This is a key inflection point for Trinity and for all of higher education. The past academic year has shown me that we are ready to face our future with both resolve and flexibility.
But for now, congratulations to our newest class of Tiger alumni. It is your turn to make a positive difference in the world, and we are proud of you. And my sincere appreciation to everyone in the Tiger family who persevered through these times with us.
We made it.