The Spirit of Trinity. It's not a new concept, yet it continues to be an incredible motivator for how, as Tigers, we serve the world. But what exactly instills this desire? What is it about the Trinity experience that flips a switch in us, invites us to pause and reflect, and challenges us to act? And how do we bottle this spark, this fire, this spirit, to impart it in generations of Trinity students to come? We used this magazine issue to find out. Come join us—and please, share your stories along the way!
The day before Hurricane Harvey made landfall, San Antonio was ready. Sandbags were propped against doors and windows, and bottled water was nowhere to be found on store shelves. We’d canceled our plans and our classes, waited hours in line for gasoline to fill up our tanks, and settled in for a long weekend ahead. Had Harvey hit San Antonio like it had been projected to, I’d like to think we would have been prepared.
But it didn’t. Instead, crashing into the Texas Gulf Coast as a Category 4 storm, Harvey wreaked havoc on Rockport, Fulton, and Port Aransas—coastal towns that many of us have come to know and love—and then plowed into Victoria. Weakening rapidly, Harvey crawled across our great state, dropping record-setting rainfall from Bastrop to Houston to Beaumont and beyond.
Harvey was a disaster unlike many of us had ever seen. In my hometown of La Grange, friends and relatives lost land, livestock, and homes to a raging river and flash flooding. Alumni and families in the Houston area were forced to evacuate; those who could not do so in time were forced to watch their homes and businesses destroyed. Many lost livelihoods; some lost lives. All of our communities would be feeling the effects of Harvey for years to come.
And then Irma came. And then the earthquake in Mexico City, and Jose on the East Coast, and Maria in Puerto Rico. Raging wildfires ripped through Montana and California while the Southeast suffered numerous record-high floods.
And those were only the natural disasters.
By the end of 2017, two of the five deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history had occurred in the span of just 35 days—those in Las Vegas and in Sutherland Springs. Yet again, this hit especially close to home, as Tigers have ties to the Sutherland Springs community, only 45 minutes southeast of the city.
For months and months, it seemed that one could not flip on the news without immediately being heart-brokenly, gut-wrenchingly sad.
Yet out of this sadness, as our Tigers so often find, came the spirit of hope. Alumni, students, faculty, and staff volunteered time, donated supplies, cleaned homes and businesses, and cleared cities of debris. Hand in hand, the Trinity community spoke loud and clear: We are Tigers for Tigers, and we’re here to help anyone in need.
Trinity magazine wanted to put its finger on the Spirit of Trinity. While we’ve made an attempt to illustrate it, citing stories from alumni who have stepped up in times of trial (read more on page 26), I’m sure we’ve merely scratched the surface. We extend a heartfelt “Thank You” to our entire Trinity community for coming together, for supporting one another, and for continuing to remind the world that even in darkness, we can bring light.
In other news, you may be missing two staple sections in this issue: “Where are They Now?” and “Déjà View.” After a long and faithful stint as a volunteer writer for Trinity, Doug Brackenridge has retired from the magazine. I fought back tears the day he came in my office to tell me this, but he assured me he’s still here when we need him; you may still see some contributions from Doug every now and then, especially as we gear up for our 150th anniversary issue (read more on page 14).
And though we can never replace Doug, we are excited to introduce two new writers on the magazine staff. Jeremy Gerlach comes to us from the San Antonio Express-News where he reported on mischief and mayhem, and Molly Mohr Bruni lends her expertise in writing and editing (she’s a wizard with a red pen). Please join me in welcoming them to our team!
Jeanna Goodrich Balreira ’08
What do you do with 673 photographs pulled from archives, taken for stories, and submitted by Tiger alumni? We couldn’t think of a better way to use them, either! The Spirit of Trinity tiger mosiac is a collection of photos from 1919-2018, spanning 99 years of community service by our University. Make sure you are following Trinity on Facebook and Instagram, and stay tuned for a giveaway of the cover as a poster.