Alex Dahlem ’20
This fall semester marks the beginning of the brand new Trinity College Athletics Hall of Fame, a new athletic department distinction meant to mark the storied success of Trinity College’s legendary athletes and coaches.
Trinity’s athletic department announced the creation of a Hall of Fame in November of 2018 along with a college-wide nomination process in which students, faculty, coaches, and alumni could submit a recommendation of someone that they felt was worthy of induction into the Hall of Fame. Once the nomination period was complete, a group of eleven distinguished Trinity community members, together forming the “Hall of Fame Selection Committee,” were charged with selecting the first class of Trinity athletes and coaches to be inducted.
The selection committee members range from distinguished alumni to current varsity team coaches, professors, and administrative members. Overseeing the selection committee process was a three person governing committee comprised of College President Joanne Berger-Sweeney, Vice-President for Advancement Michael Casey, and Director of Athletics Drew Galbraith.
Part of a larger project to reinvigorate Trinity’s athletic department, the introduction of an athletic Hall of Fame pays homage to the role that athletics has played in Trinity’s nearly 200-year history, and represents a deep commitment to the role that athletics will play in the college’s future. Although many small Division III colleges similar to Trinity prioritize fundraising in other sectors of their institutions, Trinity, as seen by recent facility upgrades and the creation of new state-of-the-art fields, is trying to bring its athletic prowess and tradition into the foreground while maintaining academic prestige.
This is not the first time that Trinity has tried to grow its athletic brand. Back in the mid 1990s, College President Evan Dobelle heavily invested in the athletic department with the hopes of resurrecting Trinity from declining enrollments and lackluster institutional messaging. At the time, Dobelle’s goal was to invest in international recruitment for a sport that fields only one national collegiate division (squash) in order to make Trinity the best in the country and bring the college’s overall brand back to life. It’s safe to say that that investment has worked out well for the squash team and the college as a whole.
The Trinity College men’s and women’s squash teams’ international notoriety and legacy is part of the reason why the athletic department is creating a Hall of Fame. Trinity’s deeper commitment to sport and the role that it plays in solidifying a collegiate institution is certainly unique for the NCAA’s Division III. This new Hall of Fame is a way to memorialize that commitment and all that it has done for the college.
Among the talented induction class are a few standouts; Amina Helal ’04 was a four-time All-American during the peak of the Trinity men’s and women’s squash dynasty while Don Miller (former football coach) is the top-winning Division III Coach in New England history. Ellie Pierce ’88 pulled off an almost impossible feat by becoming a three-sport All-American during her time at Trinity. The inaugural class of eleven inductees will be recognized at an induction ceremony set to take place in October.
No matter what the future holds for Trinity one thing is for sure: the college’s storied athletic past will not be forgotten. Director of Athletics Drew Galbraith, according to the Trinity College Athletic Department, is excited to showcase that history; “We have a rich tradition of athletic success at Trinity and this will allow us to properly honor that legacy.”