Trinity Washington University

Trinity Washington University is a Catholic university in Washington, D.C.. There are five schools within the university; the undergraduate College of Arts & Sciences maintains its original status as a liberal arts women's college, while men attend Trinity’s other schools at both the graduate and undergraduate level.[1]

Trinity Washington University
Former names
Trinity College
TypePrivate Women's college (Undergraduate)
Religious affiliation
Catholic Church (Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur)
PresidentPatricia McGuire
United States
Colors Purple  Gold 
Purple and Gold
AthleticsNCAA Division IIIGSAC


Trinity College was founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in 1897 as the nation’s first Catholic liberal arts college for women.

For more than 70 years, Trinity educated middle-class Catholic women, who were underrepresented in America's colleges.[2] (For more background on women's higher education, see Origins and types of Women's colleges in the United States.)

When many all-male colleges became co-ed, Trinity's full-time enrollment dropped - from 1,000 in 1969 to 300 in 1989. The school's 12th president, Sister Donna Jurick, responded in the early 1980s by opening a weekend college for working women from the District of Columbia, a racially diverse population the school had previously not served. The first such program in Washington, it became very popular; within three years, it had more students than the undergraduate program.[3]

Under Patricia McGuire, a Trinity alumna, who became president of the college in 1989, Trinity became a multifaceted university that reached out to the Black and Hispanic women of Washington. McGuire split the college into three schools: the historic women's college became the College of Arts and Sciences; the higher-revenue teacher college became the School of Education; and the continuing education classes were folded into a School of Professional Studies. Trinity began recruiting at D.C. high schools. She expanded the professional schools, whose combined enrollment rose from 639 in 1989 to 974 in 1999. By the school's 1997 centennial, it had become the private college of choice for the women of D.C. public schools.[3]


Five schools

Trinity has an annual enrollment of about 2,000 students in the University's five schools, which offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in a variety of academic areas.

  • The College of Arts and Sciences—Trinity's historic women's school—offers community service opportunities, athletics, student clubs and campus activities. The College of Arts and Sciences offers a number of undergraduate academic programs, including international affairs, criminal justice, forensic psychology, journalism, and business economics.
  • Trinity's School of Education is a coeducational graduate program offering degrees in education, counseling, curriculum design, and educational administration. Through its Continuing Education Program, the School of Education also offers professional development courses enrolling 4,000 education professionals each year.
  • The School of Professional Studies offers undergraduate degrees designed for women and men seeking to advance or change their careers.
  • The School of Business and Graduate Studies encompasses the graduate degree programs of Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.), Master of Science Administration (M.S.A.), and Strategic Communication and Public Relations (M.A.).
  • The School of Nursing and Health Professions is home to Trinity's nursing program, which is accredited by Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. It also offers a Master of Occupational Therapy, Master of Science in Nursing, and Master of Public Health.[4]

Special academic programs

  • Trinity offers professional programs at a satellite classroom located at THEARC, a multipurpose community facility in southeast Washington, DC. Trinity is the only private university to offer programs in the District of Columbia's underserved neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River.

Student body

As of early 2010, school enrollment was 67 percent African American, 21 percent Hispanic, 6 percent white and 6 percent international. Men made up 8 percent of total enrollment in all programs.[3]

Trinity's annual tuition as of 2016 was $22,390, with the average student contributing $1,000 to $2,000 and the remainder coming from federal and local grants.[3]


Playing as the Trinity Tigers, Trinity competes in the NCAA Division III, in basketball, lacrosse, soccer, tennis, and volleyball.

The Trinity Center for Women and Girls in Sports was completed in 2003. It features a basketball arena; walking track; swimming pool and spa; fitness center with weight machines, free weights and cardio equipment and dance studio, tennis courts, and an athletic field. It is free for Trinity students and offers memberships to local residents.

Campus buildings

The campus includes the following buildings:

  • Main Hall, which houses most of the classrooms, faculty offices and administrative offices on campus, as well as the University's art gallery, auditorium, and Admissions Office.
  • Trinity Center for Women and Girls in Sports, an athletic, recreational and educational complex located in the heart of Trinity's campus.
  • Sister Helen Sheehan Library, which holds more than 200,000 volumes.
  • Alumnae Hall, the university's dining hall, also houses students on its upper floors. In addition to a snack bar/deli, Trinity's Alumnae Hall serves three meals a day throughout the academic year.
  • Cuvilly Hall, a residence hall for first year students.
  • Kerby Hall, a residence hall for all first-year students and some sophomores. In the 1980s, it was a residence hall for graduate students of other colleges in Washington, D.C., including Robert Casey, who studied law at Catholic University of America and later became a U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania.
  • Notre Dame Chapel, which hosts many of Trinity's traditions, including Academic Convocation, Freshman Medal Ceremony, Cap and Gown Mass, and Baccalaureate Mass. It was built in 1924 and won a national architecture award for ecclesiastical architecture. The Chapel hosted the Pope during his 1979 visit to the United States. It was restored in 1997.
  • Payden Academic Center, features science and nursing labs as well as classrooms.

Honor societies

Notable alumnae


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