Jack P. Carroll ‘24
In an email addressed to members of the Trinity College community on Wednesday, May 12, President of the College Joanne Berger-Sweeney announced the retirement of Chair of the Board of Trustees Cornelia Parsons Thornburgh ‘80. Berger-Sweeney indicated that Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at CVS Health Lisa Bisaccia ‘78 will succeed Thornburgh as board chair.
Thornburgh became the first female chair of the board upon assuming the position in 2014; she has been active on the board through varying roles since 2004. Outside of Trinity, Thornburgh served as a financial partner and chair of the advisory committee at Eachwin Capital. Also, Thornburgh was a Vice President and Account Supervisor at J. Walter Thompson and a financial analyst at First Boston Corporation.
In her email, Berger-Sweeney wrote that Thornburgh was one of the creators of the Trinity Women’s Leadership Council and the Marjorie Butcher Circle, a “leadership philanthropy group of Trinity alumnae.” Furthermore, Thornburgh served as a member of Trinity’s Board of Fellows, co-chair of the Charter Committee for Building Community, and chair of the College’s last capital campaign.
During her time at Trinity, Thornburgh was the recipient of the Eigenbrodt Cup and last year was among the “50 for the next 50” which honors women “who will have a lasting impact on the next 50 years at Trinity.” Berger-Sweeney announced that upon its renovation the Vernon Social Center will be renamed the “Cornelia Parsons ’80 Center” making it the first campus building to be named after a woman. Additionally, the Trustees honored Thornburgh during their April meeting with the “Cornelia Parsons Thornburgh ‘80 Women’s Leadership Fund” which will “support a range of activities at Trinity related to women’s professional development and growth as leaders.”
When asked about her hopes for Trinity in the years to come, Thornburgh informed the Tripod via an emailed response in April that “Trinity is well poised and on an excellent trajectory for its next 100 years. It gives me great pride to anticipate our bicentennial celebrations especially knowing that my transition will bring strong leadership with the election of new board Chair Lisa Bisaccia, continued capable guidance by a more than able administration and, of course, ongoing inspiration from our visionary president. Combine this leadership with a talented and dedicated board, a top-tier faculty and staff, highly accomplished and motivated students and we have the right ingredients for a future that will be shaped by our bold and independent thinkers.”
Thornburgh added that, “Given this past tumultuous year of pandemic, protest, and politics, it’s only reasonable to anticipate that Trinity, just as those throughout Higher Education will face hurdles ahead. Fortunately, we have a clarity of vision, moxie, and determination to succeed. I am nothing if not optimistic about our future.”
That same month Bisaccia, who will succeed Thornburgh as board chair, told the Tripod in an emailed response that “My goals are to support and promote the strategic initiatives that will differentiate the college from peer institutions, make it a first choice school for students, faculty, and staff, and one that its alumni will be eager and proud to support.”
Bisaccia further stated that, “The Board of Trustees must continue to support the curriculum and the faculty that administer it. We must continue to reach out to our alumni base and make sure our graduates understand that even as the college adapts to changing times, many of the things that make Trinity special will endure, as embodied by the close relationships between faculty and students, our commitment to liberal arts as the best preparation for the future, and our connection to the Hartford community, among others. We must continue to admit and retain bright, engaged, and talented students, remain firm in our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, in all its forms, and strengthen the college’s endowment. If we are successful in these areas, then I think Trinity not only will maintain but confirm its standing as the preeminent liberal arts college in an urban setting in this country.”