Trinity Washington University

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Coordinates: 38°55′39″N 77°00′18″W / 38.9275°N 77.004872°W / 38.9275; -77.004872

Trinity Washington University
Former names
Trinity College
Women's college (Undergraduate)
AffiliationCatholic Church
(Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur)
PresidentPatricia McGuire
Colors Purple  Gold 
Purple and Gold
AthleticsNCAA Division IIIGSAC

Trinity Washington University is a Roman Catholic university located in Washington, D.C. across from The Catholic University of America and the Dominican House of Studies and under the trusteeship of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. Although it has been a university since September 10, 2004, Trinity Washington University's College of Arts & Sciences undergraduate program maintains its original status as a liberal arts women's college. Men are accepted into the School of Education and the School of Professional Studies at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.


Trinity College (not to be confused with the unrelated Trinity College (Connecticut) or Trinity College, Dublin) was founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in 1897 as a Catholic college for women. For over 70 years, Trinity educated middle-class Catholic women, who were underrepresented in America's colleges.[1] (For more background on women's higher education, see Origins and types of Women's colleges in the United States.) Trinity Washington University's colors are Royal Purple and Gold.[citation needed]

When many all-male colleges became co-ed, Trinity's full-time enrollment dropped - from 1,000 in 1969 to 300 in 1989. The school's 12th president, Sister Donna Jurick, responded in the early 1980s by opening a weekend college for working women from the District of Columbia, a racially diverse population the school had previously not served. The first such program in Washington, it became very popular; within three years, it had more students than the undergraduate program.[2]

Under Patricia McGuire, a Trinity alumna, who became president of the college in 1989, Trinity became a multifaceted university that reached out to the Black and Hispanic women of Washington. McGuire split the college into three schools: the historic women's college became the College of Arts and Sciences; the higher-revenue teacher college became the School of Education; and the continuing education classes were folded into a School of Professional Studies. Trinity began recruiting at D.C. high schools. She expanded the professional schools, whose combined enrollment rose from 639 in 1989 to 974 in 1999. By the school's 1997 centennial, it had become the private college of choice for the women of D.C. public schools.[2]


Five schools[edit]

Trinity has an annual enrollment of about 2,000 students in the University's four schools, which offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in a variety of academic areas.

  • The College of Arts and Sciences—Trinity's historic women's school—offers community service opportunities, athletics, student clubs and campus activities. The College of Arts and Sciences offers a number of academic programs, including international affairs, criminal justice, forensic psychology, journalism, and business economics.
  • Trinity's School of Education is a coeducational graduate program offering degrees in education, counseling, curriculum design, and educational administration. Through its Continuing Education Program, the School of Education also offers 300 professional development courses enrolling 4,000 education professionals each year.
  • The School of Professional Studies offers undergraduate and graduate degrees designed for women and men seeking to advance or change their careers. Degrees offered include, but are not limited to, a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.), Master of Science Administration (M.S.A.), Master of Arts in Communication and a Master of Science in Information Security Management.
  • The School of Business and Graduate Studies has been developed as of 2014, to encompass the graduate degree programs of Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.), Master of Science Administration (M.S.A.), Master of Arts in Communication and a Master of Science in Information Security Management. This school was formally created out of the School of Professional Studies, to give divide to graduate programs and strengthen the graduate programs
  • In fall 2010, a School of Nursing and Health Professions was announced as the new home for Trinity's existing nursing program, which started in 2006 and received accreditation in 2007 by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The school currently offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) program in both a prelicensure track and a track for registered nurses. The school plans to extend its offerings in 2011 and 2012.

Special academic programs[edit]

  • Trinity offers professional development, Associate in Arts, and Master's of Science in Administration - Non Profit Management Specialization programs at a satellite classroom located at THEARC, a multipurpose community facility in southeast Washington, DC. Trinity is the only private university to offer programs in the District of Columbia's underserved neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River.

Student body[edit]

As of early 2010, school enrollment was 67 percent African American, 21 percent Hispanic, 6 percent white and 6 percent international. Men made up 8 percent of total enrollment in all programs.[2]

Trinity's annual tuition as of 2016 was $22,390, with the average student contributing $1,000 to $2,000 and the remainder coming from federal and local grants.[2]


Playing as the Trinity Tigers, Trinity competes in the NCAA Division III, primarily in the Great South Athletic Conference (GSAC), in basketball, lacrosse, soccer, tennis, and volleyball. Newly added for the spring season of 2012 is softball.

The newest building on the Trinity campus, the Trinity Center for Women and Girls in Sports, was completed in 2003. It features a basketball arena; walking track; swimming pool and spa; fitness center with weight machines, free weights and cardio equipment and dance studio, tennis courts, and an athletic field. Free to Trinity students, the Center offers memberships to local residents.

Campus buildings[edit]

Main Hall, designed by Edwin Forrest Durang.

The campus includes the following buildings:

  • Main Hall, which houses most of the classrooms, faculty offices and administrative offices on campus, as well as the University's art gallery, auditorium, and Admissions Office.
  • Trinity Center for Women and Girls in Sports, an athletic, recreational and educational complex located in the heart of Trinity's campus.
  • Sister Helen Sheehan Library, which holds more than 200,000 volumes.
  • Trinity's Science Building, which houses all of the university's science and mathematics classrooms, laboratories and science faculty offices.
  • Alumnae Hall, which has the university's dining hall, and also houses the offices for the International Affairs program. In addition to a snack bar/deli, Trinity's Alumnae Hall serves three meals a day throughout the academic year.
  • Cuvilly Hall, a residence hall for first year students.
  • Kerby Hall, a residence hall for all first-year students and some sophomores. In the 1980s, it was a residence hall for graduate students of other colleges in Washington, D.C., including Robert Casey, who studied law at Catholic University of America and later became a U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania.
  • Notre Dame Chapel, which hosts many of Trinity's traditions, including Academic Convocation, Freshman Medal Ceremony, Cap and Gown Mass, and Baccalaureate Mass. It was built in 1924 and won a national architecture award for ecclesiastical architecture. The Chapel hosted the Pope during his 1979 visit to the United States. It was restored in 1997.
  • Payden Academic Center, features science and nursing labs as well as classrooms.

Honor societies[edit]

Noted alumnae[edit]

Noted others[edit]

Ella Loraine Dorsey (1853–1935), author, journalist, translator


  1. ^ "Video: How an Elite Women's College Lost Its Base and Found Its Mission - The Chronicle of Higher Education". 2015-03-25. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
  2. ^ a b c d Daniel de Vise (February 14, 2010). "The Devoted: She spent her life transforming Trinity. So where does Pat McGuire -- and the university she rebuilt -- go from here?". Washington Post.
  3. ^ "Q&A with Kellyanne Conway '89 - TRINITY Magazine 2006 - Trinity Washington University". Retrieved 26 March 2017.
  4. ^ a b Bank, Anna (2008-03-27). "The Fall and Rise of Trinity Washington University". The Georgetown Voice. Retrieved 2015-11-08.

External links[edit]