Gifts Totaling $5.5 Million Will Help Foster Academic Programs And Pay For Scholarships For Hartford Youths
February 1, 2007
By ROBERT A. FRAHM, Courant Staff Writer
Trinity College plans to strengthen its urban focus with the help of $5.5 million in two grants the school is receiving, including an award from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, officials said Wednesday.
Trinity was one of seven schools to receive a "Centers of Excellence" award in a competition sponsored by the New York-based Mellon foundation. It is one of only two schools - the other is Sarah Lawrence College - to be approved for the maximum award of $3 million.
That grant, combined with an additional $9 million the college is expected to raise in matching funds, will finance efforts to bolster Trinity's identity as an urban college with links not only to Hartford but also to cities around the world.
"It will pay for programs that will be Trinity's signature," said James F. Jones Jr., Trinity's president. "We're working to brand Trinity as the liberal arts college in an urban environment in the country, and this helps us do it."
He called the grant, which will be added to Trinity's endowment, "a spectacular vote of confidence from the biggest and most distinguished educational foundation in the country."
Among other things, the grant will fund programs and operations in a new center for urban and global studies and a new cities resource center to house archives for researchers and students studying Hartford and other cities.
Trinity hopes to name a dean this spring for the urban and global studies program and plans to renovate two buildings at Vernon and Broad streets to house the program.
The urban and global studies center will coordinate the college's urban programs, including study abroad programs in more than a half dozen sites around the world, "cities as diverse as Paris and Nairobi," Jones said.
The college also announced a $2.5 million grant from Mitchell M. Merin, a 1975 alumnus and member of the board of trustees, to support scholarships for students from Hartford to attend the private college.
Merin, retired managing director and former president and CEO of investment management at Morgan Stanley, also pledged an additional $2.5 million to match, dollar-for-dollar, all other gifts for the same purpose.
"A Trinity education will equip talented and ambitious young people in Hartford to realize their potential and make a difference," said Merin, who was born in Hartford and raised in Bloomfield. "I want Hartford students to know they can aspire to come to Trinity without worry about their financial resources," he said in a statement issued by the college.
Together, the two new grants reinforce Trinity's ties with Hartford, a major emphasis of the liberal arts college for more than a decade. A neighborhood revitalization effort that took off under former Trinity president Evan Dobelle helped make Trinity a national model for urban colleges.
Trinity will launch an 18-month campaign to raise the $9 million in private funding required to qualify for the full $3 million from Mellon and has already secured pledges of $2.3 million toward that goal, officials said.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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