The end of an era: President Danny Anderson takes his leave and Trinity starts to seek his successor

The individual to fill the role will ultimately be chosen by the Board of Trustees

On Oct. 11, university president Danny Anderson announced, in a campus-wide email, his plans to retire at the end of the academic year. Now, Trinity begins the process of seeking a new president.

Anderson began his career in undergraduate studies at Austin College in 1985 and was appointed Trinity’s 19th president in May 2015. Anderson wrote in an interview over email that, while searching for schools to apply to, he prioritized small, residential liberal arts schools similar to where he spent his undergraduate years.

“Trinity was the first and only university that I considered. Trinity excels in its commitment to intellectual, emotional and social growth,” Anderson wrote. “I am energized every day by the transformations I see as Trinity students discover the meaning and purpose that will guide their lives.”

Erin Baker ‘99, the former president of the Alumni Association and treasurer of the Board of Trustees, currently serves as the chair of Trinity’s Presidential Search Committee. Baker explained in an interview that the main role of the committee is to narrow down the number of potentially successful candidates for the position that will, ultimately, be chosen per a vote by the Board of Trustees. Right now, the first step of the process is choosing members of the committee, which will include Trinity faculty, staff and administration, students and alumni to adequately represent the Trinity population.

“I was on the search committee that brought Dr. Anderson to Trinity,” Baker said. “That was an invaluable experience for me to understand the process of an effective search. Since that time, I have been a board member, so I understand the university and its constituencies.”

Anderson expressed his hopes for the next administration, focusing specifically on cooperation among colleagues.

“Higher education is under fire in our society,” Anderson wrote. “A cohesive institutional culture in which faculty, staff, and administrators are all part of the same team, focused on a shared goal, will give an immense advantage as the competition becomes more intense over the next decade.”

Danny Anderson faced challenges throughout his presidency, including the COVID-19 pandemic, but also has seen many successes under his leadership. These accomplishments include the institution of Trinity Tomorrow, Trinity’s Campus Master Plan, new advancements in Alumni Relations and Development as well as Enrollment Management and Strategic Communication and Marketing and increased recognition of Trinity on a national scale.

“The last few years have been transformational, and we have enjoyed so many successes, it’s hard to pick only one,” Anderson wrote. “Conversations with faculty, staff and alumni all reveal their desire for actions that will make Trinity more visible nationally, and it is energizing to see the progress.”

Baker spoke on the need for the candidate to recognize Trinity’s current momentum and ability to advance the school’s position.

“Trinity does have a unique profile,” Baker said. “We think very highly of our future. Certainly, as an alumna, I value all of the backgrounds that comes with Trinity, but I think we’re in a position for continued success and a really interesting future. You ideally want to find someone with an appreciation of our history, our mission, our legacy and our vision who can stay true to all that but also carry it forward in innovative and creative ways.”

Even though Anderson is not involved in the selecting of a successor, he agreed with Baker on looking for a candidate that is familiar with Trinity’s situation.

“A new leader embraces the opportunity of the campus, finds the way to align their strengths with selected aspects of the work underway,” Anderson wrote. “Our present moment is ideal for a new leader to step in and pick up the baton to keep Trinity’s momentum strong.”

Baker said that she hopes the search committee will have found a successful candidate to succeed Anderson by the end of the academic year.

“I’m really so proud of where we are,” Baker said. “I have so appreciated Dr. Anderson. He’s someone who I hold as a friend as well as a colleague in the university world. He’s set Trinity up tremendously for his successor, and for that, we certainly thank him.”