Trinity is the second-oldest college in Connecticut, after Yale. The school has undergone noticeable changes since 1823, when it was founded as Washington College in its former location, where today’s U.S. Capitol building stands. Nonetheless, it has continued to honor the traditions and customs set forth by its founders and original administration. For example, Trinity’s first president, Reverend Thomas Bronwell, proclaimed that the college can never impose religious standards on its students or faculty, a rule that stands today. The college moved to its current location in 1872, and construction began immediately on the famous Long Walk and Gothic style dormitories, classrooms, and Chapel.
By the turn of the century, Trinity was the primary institutions of higher education serving the Hartford community. However, with the establishment of the University of Hartford, Trinity turned its focus to becoming a regional institution, which helped it increase its enrollment to about 500 men a year. Enrollment standards changed once again when the university began enrolling minorities and women.
Set on a 100-acre parcel of land, Trinity College is home to a number of picturesque landmarks. Seabury and Jarvis Halls, built in 1878, are the earliest examples of collegiate Gothic architecture in the United States. The Trinity College Chapel is another historic landmark, known for its limestone façade. Another distinctive location on campus is the Main Quad, notable for its sheer size and lack of walkways. It's home to two cannons that were used on the USS Hartford during the Civil War. They are pointed at Yale to symbolize the interschool rivalry.
The five best on-campus hangouts are the Underground, Peter B’s, the Fred, and the frats. Frankly, Trinity is a fraternity-obsessed school. But during the day, students can be found hanging out in the Underground coffee shop, where student and local bands perform each week. Located in the library's atrium, Peter B’s is the most popular coffee joint on campus and brings in students with its delicious coffee, pastries, and serene ambiance where professors and students meet to continue class discussions. The frats, including Pike, Sigma Nu, Psi U, AD and St. Anthony Hall, are great places to hang out at night. In the warm weather, they transform into good daytime hangouts.
Trinity is located in urban Hartford--not always the safest location. Nonetheless, students still try to take advantage of their surrounding while staying within their comfort level.
What makes Trinity truly unique is its urban location in the state capital of Hartford. Downtown Hartford is a dynamic mix of political, financial, and cultural activity. It serves as the center of state government and the “insurance capital of the world,” as well as being the home of reputable museums, theaters, and historical landmarks. As a result, there are endless possibilities for combining classroom studies with real-life, hands-on experiences. Art History students may visit the Wadsworth Atheneum to see an exhibit after studying an artist’s work in class; Economics majors can intern for prestigious insurance firms like Aetna, The Hartford, or Travelers; and those interested in government can experience the ins-and-outs of city politics as an intern for state legislators. Downtown Hartford is also a burgeoning hub of leisure and nighttime activity, with a variety of restaurants and bars, concerts at the Hartford Convention Center, and movie theaters. The city has started to shed its former identity as a purely commercial city that shuts down at the end of the workday.
The area immediately surrounding the Trinity campus is a residential, working-class neighborhood whose relationship with the Trinity community is rather contentious. To some, the small radius surrounding the college is off-putting and deters prospective students from enrolling. However, urban engagement is a huge part of the college mission. The missions aims to help students make a difference in the Hartford community while giving them the benefits of attending college in a historic city capital.
As a function of student preference and the limitations of its location, the Trinity nightlife mostly takes place on campus in dorms, frats, and student-sponsored parties. Still, there are several downtown destinations and local hangouts that Trinity students have integrated into their nighttime repertoires. While not entirely “off-campus”, the Tap Café is a bar frequented almost exclusively by Trinity students. The Sidewalk Café opened recently and has become a popular restaurant and bar among Trinity students. For students who enjoy the bar and club scene of downtown Hartford, the Brickyard, Bourbon Street, and Federal Café are popular hangouts and are only a quick ride from campus.
The school hosts the annual Trinity Intentional Hip Hop Festival, a three-day celebration of global hip–hop.
Trinity's Eyeball Film Festival gives aspiring young filmmakers the opportunity to show their latest work.
Every other year, the graduating class hands down a large lemon squeezer to the incoming juniors. The tradition started in 1857.
Tucker Carlson (1992) is an on-air MSNBC personality.
George Will (1962) is a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist and author.
J.H. Hobart Ward (attended) was a general in the American Civil War.
Jane Swift (1987) is a former governor of Massachusetts.
Eddie A. Perez (1990) is currently the mayor of Hartford.
Charles McLean Andrews (1884) was a distinguished American historian specializing in the American colonial period.
The Trinity Bantam Bantam teams (yep, that’s the name of their mascot)aren't necessarily breeding grounds for the next national athletic all-stars. But, given its NCAA Division III status, the school still fosters a relatively passionate sports scene. Trinity also provides countless opportunities for its student-athletes. With more than 20 Division III sports, 35 percent of men and 21 percent of women play on a varsity team.
While the school fields a football and a basketball team, the most popular athletic attractions at Trinity are the men’s squash matches and the men’s lacrosse games. Trinity is known for its powerhouse squash team, which now boasts the nation’s longest winning streak in any sport. The biggest matches, against Princeton and Harvard, attract the majority of students and dozens of alumni to the squash courts each year. Sure, it might not be the University of Michigan/Ohio State football rivalry, but at least it rallies the Bantam Bantam faithful. In 2008, the men’s baseball team made a name for itself by wrapping up the regular season with a 34-0 record. Not only did they break the NCAA D-III record for the most wins in one season, but they also brought home the Division III baseball championship.
As for students looking for a more casual athletic experience, Trinity provides the standard club and intramural opportunities.
During the American Revolution, loyalist executions took place on Gallows Hill, which now houses the Ogilby Hall dorms.
The opening scene of the film “Jaws” pokes fun at the stereotypical Trinity student. When asked if he is an “islander,” the character Cassidy says, "Nah, Hartford, I go to Trinity. My folks live in Greenwich."
The music-sharing web site MyTunes was invented at Trinity by Bill Zeller.
Trinity’s administration fosters a cohesive and residential campus that combines its academic, intellectual, and social pursuits into the living environment. Most Trinity students live on campus for all four years of their college careers. Recently, however, there has been a movement away from on-campus housing, making Trinity’s periphery another popular housing option.
The major dorms are currently split up according to class year, although there has been discussion about integrating the dorms in the next few years. In the past, freshmen have occupied rooms in Jarvis, Jones, Elton, North or Frohman-Robb, aka 'Frobb.' Jarvis is located in the oldest and most original building on campus and is currently undergoing massive reconstruction. Next year, it will house state-of-the-art six-person suites with wireless internet and air conditioning. After its renovation, Jarvis will most likely be designated for members of the senior class and thus put an end to its legacy as one of the most lively and rowdy of the freshmen dorms. North Campus remains the most desirable freshman dorm, however, since it is situated on the 'party' side of campus along with the frats, sororities, and senior dorms. First-year students can expect to live in typical freshman-style 'doubles' with cinder-block walls and limited storage space. Despite their cramped size and bland aesthetics, the freshman dorms are notoriously fun and lively on the weekends.
The major dorms for upperclassmen are located on the quad and North campus. They include Cook, Vernon Place, and High Rise. The most notable is High Rise, where most seniors live during their final year of college, mainly in quads equipped with single bedrooms, a common room, and individual bathrooms. This dorm is where many of the weekend pre-game parties take place and is a reliable destination for those in search of a good time. The upperclassmen dorms on the quad are a lot of fun, especially during the spring when the weather is nice. Vernon Place is a 21+ dorm where many juniors and seniors live in a more 'mature' setting without underclassmen.
An alternative housing option exists at the “Fred.” This dorm is located in the most luxurious and modern residential building on campus, Summit Suites. Students who choose to live in the “Fred” are typically looking for an alternative to the predominantly Greek-dominated social scene. In order to be accepted to the themed-housing Fred dormitory, students must come up with an original idea to define the purpose of their quad. Students in the past have hosted weekly dorm-wide board games, held feminist lectures, and raised cancer awareness.