I try to make it to New England twice a year, once in the fall (usually so that I can attend at least one day of the Equine Affaire event in Springfield, Massachusetts) and once more in the spring. In addition to affording me an opportunity to catch up with clients and friends, I also love visiting the area because there are so many outstanding colleges located within such close proximity to one another that I’m able to visit many of them without expending too much energy driving around between campuses.
My most recent trip east left me time for only two campus visits (I was going to attempt a third, but the nor’easter of 2012 curtailed my plans a bit on Wednesday afternoon), but both were very enjoyable and informative. The first stop was at Trinity College (Hartford, Connecticut) a couple of hours after I stepped off the plane at Bradley International Airport. Trinity’s campus is easily accessed from Interstate 91 and the campus gives new meaning to the term “school on the hill,” with an entrance drive that seems to go straight up! But upon making the ascent, the city of Hartford might as well be miles away because I quickly discovered a suburban-feeling campus made up of traditional collegiate Gothic buildings.
The exception to the collegiate Gothic feel is the admission center, which is quite modern and emphasizes its use of light with large windows. I sat through the information session with one other family and a group of eighth graders from a college-bound program – which is never ideal, but the students had some good questions which helped move the session along. Trinity is a fairly straightforward and traditional liberal arts college, with distribution requirements for each student to meet prior to graduation, as well as requirements for math and for foreign language. As approximately 50 percent of Trinity students will study abroad during their time there, the language requirement makes good sense. Unique to the college, however, is their satellite campus in Rome, Italy, as well as longstanding agreements with seven other established study abroad programs in other foreign cities. (Paris is also a popular destination.) In our increasingly globally-thinking world, this type of opportunity is becoming more and more important for college students everywhere.
The tour took us into many of the buildings on the compact campus, with the first stop in the beautiful Gothic cathedral, which is home to not only the Episcopal service on Sunday, but also houses a Catholic sanctuary and is used as a campus gathering place, most notably at their fall matriculation ceremony for incoming first-year students. (Trinity is quite diverse in terms of religion, with a large Jewish population on campus as well and opportunities for Jewish worship, Muslim worship, and nondenominational worship at other locations on campus.) It was while we were in the chapel that our guide told us about one of Trinity’s best-loved traditions – that of the lemon squeezer. Passed down annually to the most spirited and popular class, the lemon squeezer itself is a coveted prize on campus. It is also brought out at matriculation each fall so that the president of the college may toast the incoming class with a freshly-squeezed glass of lemonade, followed by the serving of lemonade to all present.
(I can’t help but love learning about these traditions, as each school has them and they are what make individual colleges and universities truly unique and special places!)
Classrooms at Trinity are small and intimate and faculty offices are located nearby to facilitate out-of-class interactions between students and professors. The personal touch on campus extends all the way to the administrative level, as current president James Jones Jr. not only teaches a class on campus that is coveted each year, but also eats lunch in the central dining hall weekly with students.
A few late afternoon athletic practices were wrapping up outside in the fading light as we concluded our tour (thanks to the conclusion of Daylight Savings Time, the sunset in Hartford was around 5:00 and the light had already significantly faded by 4:30). Trinity’s Bantam athletic teams are quite competitive in their respective regions and their squash team is nationally recognized as one of the strongest programs at any college or university. (Don’t worry, equestrians – their IHSA team is no slouch either!)
All in all, an enjoyable trip, a fun tour, and a school that could be a great fit for any number of high school seniors. Could it be right for you? Contact me and we’ll find out!