It was a typical day in San Antonio, Texas—probably sunny, undoubtedly warm, and someone somewhere ate a breakfast taco. The day soon became one to remember when Coleen Grissom, professor/dean/vice president was informed that a collection of faculty, alumni, parents, and friends had established the Coleen Grissom Endowed Scholarship Fund in her honor.
“I never expected anything," Coleen says. “When the accolades, including the scholarship, came along, I was overwhelmed with gratitude. I can’t think of anything that gives me more joy than to know more people could experience Trinity with this scholarship.”
Since its creation in the early 2000s, the scholarship fund has awarded more than $110,000 to 19 students and provided access to the Trinity Coleen helped build. Recipients of this scholarship were asked to reflect on what it meant to be awarded these additional funds. Simply put: without it, students would likely not be able to continue their education at Trinity. The scholarship fund is a reflection of the Trinity community’s commitment to student-centricity and an homage to Coleen Grissom.
Though Coleen announced her retirement last year, we should have known better.
Trinity continues to be graced with her presence and unmatched wit. While teaching two classes focused on Margaret Atwood, Coleen currently spends her time living the quarantine life—checking on the bird feeders in the backyard, caring for her menagerie of animals, and dedicating time to teaching, and learning from, Trinity students.
Always the sage, Coleen has wisely decided it's better to celebrate her Jan. 9 birthday all month rather than just one day. This year, celebrate Coleen by fulfilling her 87th birthday wish: that you will contribute to the Coleen Grissom Scholarship fund.
(How serious is she? Well, Coleen committed $25,000 to seed this campaign.) For every dollar you give, she will give a dollar up to $25,000. Your contribution, of any amount, means more scholarship support for students.
For those alumni who took a class with Coleen, she’d like you to know, “I hope you will consider giving back out of the goodness of your heart, but if you need a nudge...you can still make amends for that awful paper you made me read. ('Out of the goodness of your heart' is thrown in for those of you who still write with cliches.)”
In a collection of her columns and essays, The World According to Coleen, Grissom cites one of her favorite short story writers, Ann Beattie: “People forget years and remember moments.” And while we all have our favorite “Coleen moments” to remember, we have an opportunity to honor her nearly 60 years of service to our alma mater.