Trinity kicks off 150th anniversary with service and celebration


Photo credit: Genevieve Humphreys

Photo by Genevieve Humphreys

Students, faculty, staff and alumni flocked to campus on Friday, Feb. 1, for the 150th day of service and kickoff event. But that was just the beginning of what’s in store for the commemoration of the university’s sesquicentennial in 2019.

Friday’s kickoff consisted of two parts: an afternoon of service and an evening celebration. The event, which had a $70,000 budget, was funded largely by sponsorships from Aramark, Trinity University Volunteer Action Committee, Student Programming Board, RICOH, LDH Printing and HEB.

“There are different jumping off points, and it’s been great because part of the challenge was making it feel like one cohesive event that are two sections of one event: focusing on our engagement in the San Antonio community embodied through sending 500 Trinity community members out into San Antonio to volunteer and just having a good time on campus that evening,” said Scott Brown, co-chair of the committee that planned the kickoff event.

The afternoon of service began with a pep rally in Calgaard Gym, after which 500 community members went to 13 different non-profits to volunteer.

“In the service pep rally that [we hosted] in the beginning part of the day we have General Kevin Bergner, who is a Trinity alum … and the [CEO] of Goodwill San Antonio,” said Esther Kim, co-chair of the committee that planned the kickoff event. “That connection really ties in well to the beginning portion of the event.”

Brown explained why the service component was an important aspect of the 150th kickoff celebration.

“Trinity has a long history of community service and engagement in the community,” Brown said. “Trinity’s core values have helped inform our approach to deciding how to structure the day. We really get to enact some of our core values in this celebration, and we couldn’t think of a better way to do that than through community service.”

Kim explained that the afternoon of service event was modeled on a similar event that took place when Danny Anderson, Trinity’s current president, was inaugurated.

“He did a similar format where he had a day of service on a Saturday,” Kim said. “We wanted to mirror that and how one of his core values is service and how can we contribute to our community of San Antonio because our location is so vital to who we are.”

Following the day of service, members of the Trinity community gathered across upper campus for a kick-off celebration that featured a petting zoo, food, carnival rides and live music, capped off by a fireworks show.

The next anniversary event is Threshing Whispers, an art exhibition that opens on Feb. 14 with a reception on Feb. 21.

“They’re bringing three alumni artists, all of whom are under the age of 30 and who are all working artists,” said Jacob Tingle, co-chair of the 150th anniversary steering committee. “They’re bringing their work with them, and they’re going to do a panel discussion and a nice opening gala. It’s a way to celebrate Trinity’s commitment to the arts and an important part of our education, but also to highlight to the art and art history students. These are young women who are making their way in the world as artists.”

While many events are already planned throughout the year, those who are interested in hosting events still have opportunities to do so.

“If folks are interested in creating events, we have some $250 seed grants and we can help people think about how to do events,” Tingle said. “It’s been really heartwarming to me to see how the community has responded.”

Many events during the year, including the kickoff event, will be celebratory, but the 150th anniversary steering committee decided to use the word ‘commemoration’ for the whole year.

“We really landed on for the year using the word ‘commemoration’ as opposed to ‘celebration,’ ” Tingle said. “There are certainly things that are celebrations, but not every moment of Trinity’s history is celebratory. But everything in our history should be commemorated — we should have conversations, we should talk about it.”

A full list of currently planned 150th anniversary events can be found on the events page of Trinity’s website.