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Heirs of the Past, Stewards of the Future

I am proud to announce that Trinity University is now on the National Register of Historic Places. As I recall our journey from Tehuacana, to Waxahachie, and then to San Antonio, I stand in awe of those who came before us. Their founding intention led to a campus that is now nationally recognized as a mid-century architectural treasure. As a national historic district, we are both heirs of the past and stewards of the future.

Collage of the three campuses of Trinity

The designation honors O'Neil Ford, the architect who designed most of the University's mid-century buildings. Ford began his conceptual work for Trinity in 1948, and he drew his inspiration from modernist designs rooted in our region. From 1951 to 1979, 26 buildings emanated from a dusty, abandoned quarry. The buildings emerged quickly thanks to Tom Slick's efficient and innovative construction techniques. We are proud heirs of this legacy, daring to dream about what is ahead.

James Laurie and O'Neil Ford looking over campus

This commitment also makes us stewards of the future. We are already at work on the renovation of Chapman Center and Halsell Center on the northwestern edge of campus. Working with the architectural team at Lake Flato, we envision new configurations that enhance student-centered learning and cross-department collaborations. The redesign of interior spaces will promote partnerships in business, the humanities, economics, and health care administration.

Storch building with a black and white Polaroid in front from an earlier time

Lake Flato architects have described their philosophy as "forward looking but rooted in the past." Under historic district guidelines, building exteriors and notable interior features are preserved; other interior spaces are reshaped to ensure their full usefulness. We are re-imagining the classroom and office spaces for greater flexibility, comfort, sustainability, and integration with technology.

I recall a quotation from Winston Churchill, often paraphrased as, "We shape our buildings; thereafter, they shape us." This thought captures the way a renovation project is about people and the influence of space upon people. Our built environment can help foster a broader humanities conversation across campus, raise the visibility of health care administration, and forge a strong identity for the School of Business. These impacts all contribute to making Trinity University stand out as the nationally prominent university has become.

Inside of Chapman Center
Lobby of Chapman Center

Professors Tim O'Sullivan from classical studies and Ruben Dupertuis from religion are the project's "faculty shepherds" appointed by Deneese Jones, vice president for Academic Affairs. Committee members include Bob Scherer, dean of the School of Business; Ed Schumacher, chair of health care administration; Katsuo Nishikawa Chavez, director of the Center for International Engagement; Gordon Bohmfalk, director of Campus Planning and Sustainability; and Julie Persellin, accounting professor. Faculty, students, and staff provided input during a design charrette and subsequent feedback sessions.

We aspire to begin this project as early as May 2019. These buildings are important to the vitality of the campus, as almost one-third of our faculty have offices in these spaces and most students take classes there. This first renovation project as a national historic district touches the heart of our campus and the soul of our mission.

Areial view of campus

As an independent university, Trinity has relied upon private support throughout its history. Generous philanthropic support made the Skyline Campus become a reality. Our success in carrying forward this legacy for future generations will depend upon the support of new generations of donors and friends who are committed to our vision of excellence and national recognition. The support of donors will ensure the timely success of this first renovation project. We embrace our role as stewards committed to keeping Trinity poised for the future. I look forward to sharing updates about the Chapman and Halsell renovations as well as additional projects arising from our campus master plan. Thank you for your support as we strengthen the Trinity journey.

Best regards,

Danny Anderson
Trinity President

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