by Leslie Wan—

As I walked into a bedroom in my home recently I stopped in the doorway and reflected on something that was nostalgic but very sweet. I reflected on the fact that my daughter's bedroom, was no longer "her" bedroom, and how that had come to pass. In any transition of parenthood, the time comes when you decide that your children are on their way, and that the room that used to be theirs can serve another purpose. It is a rite of passage and a recognition that they will spend their time now in another place, or planted on a college campus miles away from where they started. A page has turned and it is your decision to make that room, now empty, become something else more useful to YOUR life.

The transition of my daughter’s room, from her room, to "just any bedroom," was a gradual process. For me, her room was a refuge and a reality check. You see, she is our only child, and we live another country away. When she left for college, we knew she would never return permanently to live in her/our island home. We had known THAT from her earliest days. Whenever the reality overcame me that she and I would be separated by an ocean for years and years to come, I would wander into her bedroom among the treasures of her youth and read in her rocking chair. That chair had nurtured her when she was young, and as she grew, became the place where so many of her friends would laugh and chat, as she prepared to leave for college again or go out for an evening. So there it was, when the room changed, I had to acknowledge that the future we had planned for her was NOW, and home, this bedroom which was an ocean away from her, would really never be full of her spirit again. (Another waving goodbye.) That room and that rocking chair gave me peace, a place to read, and to remember that missing her was not about holding on to those youthful days, but about the affirmation that we and she had met the first goal, achieved the first hurdle. All was as it was supposed to be, despite the hole in my heart and the ocean of tears that fell.

Desk of former Trinity student before being donated
Desk once used by a Trinity student was donated to a school for special needs children.

One day a treadmill became a fixture in there, and her tired little desk that had seen many a homework session was sent to a school where we volunteered together, and I still do. Today, it serves as a desk for special needs children so they feel like they are part of a mainstream student classroom experience. It gives me great satisfaction to see those special children working with a teacher on the desk that once had my sweet little girl behind it, books splayed out, doing what she needed to do to transition to Trinity. That little desk is tired now and wheelchair scarred, but it reminds me that we did it, that life blooms again, and that where she sat, continues to nurture children. The bedroom that was, is now the bedroom that is different. It is more about the goal that was achieved and the life plan that came to pass. Oh, and that rocking chair? It still remains, and it still gives me peace.

I suppose I reflected on this as I stood in that doorway recently. As Christmas approaches, so does the season of giving and the return of my daughter home for a few days. I remembered the decision that when that room transition took place, the desk that had served on her road to Trinity, MUST be a gift given to other children so they too, could try and make their dreams happen. Even though she is gone, I still see children circling that desk and KNOW that the room transition didn't have to be about the past, but about futures in the making.

My advice is to make the changes in your home and the transitions of your children’s youth become celebrations of the future because the past may have worked just as planned.

About Leslie

Leslie's daughter graduated from Trinity in 2010, but the mom remains a true ambassador for the University.  Her daughter Christina now works as a university student administration professional, and Leslie continues to pursue special needs work and her passion for personal/professional writing and public speaking. She writes a blog (, and speaks and volunteers in support of the special needs community in Jamaica.

Trinity University students touch the tiger

by Darin Mackender –

At this time four years ago, one wall of our home office was covered with notes, graphs, and spreadsheets reflecting the college search of our daughter, current senior Allyson Mackender. She had examined every angle: majors and minors; extracurricular activities; cost of attendance; financial aid; rankings; size; average class sizes; location; and, of course, the likelihood of admission, i.e., selectivity. There were seemingly unending conversations about “reach” schools and “safety” schools, and sleepless nights trying to make sense of it all.

By the holidays, Ally had settled on a school in the Chicago area. The decision seemed final. Nonetheless, in February, she asked if we could visit Trinity. With time short, we scheduled a trip for the following week. After a full day on campus, as we took one last quick walk around campus, Ally told her mom and me that she had changed her mind and wanted to attend Trinity. She said it just felt right. Although I too had been very impressed with the visit, I told her to sleep on it. Later that evening, as we waited to board our plane, Ally continued to ask for my opinion. Finally, I said, “I am not the one going to school. It’s your opinion that matters. But, since you asked, I think Trinity would be a great choice—top-notch academics, genuine people, vibrant campus, interesting location. I don’t think you would ever regret the choice. Like I said, sleep on it.” She did and the rest, as they say, is history.

The Mackender Family -- dad Darin, Ally, and mom Jennifer
Now, as Ally registers for classes for her final semester, I can’t help but reflect on her choice. Undoubtedly, it was the right choice, but why? A few things stand out. First, and foremost, Ally has benefited greatly from the high level of engagement between faculty and students. Like most its peers, Trinity has small class sizes taught by faculty with terminal degrees in their disciplines. But the faculty also seems to be deeply invested in the success of their students. For example, in the first month of her first semester, Ally went to talk with one of her HUMA professors about a paper. She ended up having a long conversation with that professor about her interests and her goals at Trinity and beyond. That conversation had a profound impact on Ally and was the first step towards her declaring an English major. Since then, she has had many similar conversations with that professor and others. That level of engagement is not easily measurable, but is invaluable.

Second, Ally has reaped tremendous rewards from Trinity’s global perspective. Ally studied in Denmark during the fall semester of her junior year. Her semester abroad, which was arranged by Trinity, was life changing. It expanded her horizons, and she returned more confident, more mature, and more worldly. I previously wrote about it here. Finally, Ally has grown immeasurably as a result of Trinity and San Antonio’s richly diverse communities. She has been exposed to different political, social, and cultural perspectives, and has been forced to examine and re-examine her own beliefs and values.

The Mackender Family -- dad Darin, Ally, and mom Jennifer

I recently read that the Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education ranked Trinity #1 in Texas and #6 in the nation for outstanding faculty. It is an interesting ranking, focusing more on what students get out of a university than how hard it is to get in to that university. Trinity’s high rankings are well-deserved. As a parent (and a significant financial supporter of Ally’s education), I am deeply appreciative of Trinity, its faculty and administration. Ally graduates in six months. I know she will be leaving school well prepared, academically and personally, for the next stage of her life. Honestly, I have no recollection of Trinity’s so-called “selectivity.” I will never forget, however, what it has done for my daughter.

About Darin

Darin Mackender received his undergraduate degree from Nebraska Wesleyan University and his law degree from the University of Nebraska College of Law. He is an attorney with Fisher Phillips in Denver. His daughter, Allyson, is a senior at Trinity University.

A Trinity University parent visits with professors

by Joe Knippenberg —

We parents worry about our kids in college. Are they getting enough sleep? Are they eating right? Are they engaging in risky behaviors? Are they studying hard enough to pass their difficult classes? And so on and so on and so on. We send them away, but we don’t stop being parents. My parents—now in their 80s (I’ve been out of the house for a long time)—haven’t stopped being parents.

When I was student back in the dark ages—er, I mean the ‘70s—I could pretty easily keep my parents at arm’s length. The occasional prohibitively expensive long distance phone call was about it. I always told them everything was fine and please send me some money. What happened in East Lansing (yes, I was, and am, a Spartan) stayed in East Lansing. To be sure, we had conversations about what I was going to do when I graduated, but they hadn’t gone to college themselves, they weren’t paying much for my education, and at that time college graduates were still for the most part rewarded relatively handsomely in the job market. When I told them I knew what I was doing—well, sort of—they trusted me.

My, how times have changed, as this very interesting article points out. Parents are in constant contact with their kids—texting, Facebooking, Facetiming, and, yes, making or receiving the occasional old-fashioned phone call. Many more parents are college graduates and have a much more vivid sense of what college is like. (Kids, take heed: we probably won’t believe you if you tell us you’re studying in the library on Friday night.) And, by golly, college has gotten pretty darn expensive!

One of the consequences of this is that parents are or at least can be much more intimately involved in their students’ live than was the case way back when. I see evidence of this all the time on the Trinity University Parents Facebook page, and in our own lives, with a son at Trinity and a freshman daughter at a small university in North Carolina. Our empty nest doesn’t feel quite so empty.

Trinity University classroom
Students shouldn't be pressured to make educational choices their parents want.
But pedagogically and developmentally there may be a downside. Presuming that we know a lot about what’s going on both on campus and in the real world, we may be tempted to interfere a bit more—maybe even a lot more—in the educational choices our students make. Wanting them to be happy, thinking that a good job (often defined in terms of salary and prestige) is the ticket to that happiness, and believing that we know what majors lead to those good jobs, we may be tempted to press our views very hard, not just when we’re sitting down to dinner over winter break, but all the time, in ways that are harder to ignore or deflect. Students may feel pressure to make the educational choices their parents want, not the ones they want.

What’s the problem, you might ask. We love our kids and want them to be happy, and we’re intimately acquainted with what it takes to succeed in the real world. Far be it from me to challenge the first two claims, but I would like to raise a few questions about the third, or at least about the connection between what our students are doing in college and what they’ll be doing after they graduate. Don’t you think, for example, that smart, motivated students who are asked by their professors to stretch intellectually and get out of their comfort zones will be prepared to face the learning challenges that are posed by every workplace? Do you really think that the narrow substantive skills they might learn in a class in 2016 will be the ones that they’ll be called on to use in 2026 or 2036? Are you confident that the job you want them to prepare for in their four years (well, we hope it’s only four years) at Trinity will be the job they have ten years after graduation?

I could go on at great length about this, but, for the sake of brevity, will encourage you only to read the aforementioned article.

Trinity University parents with LeeRoy tiger mascot
Trinity parents love posing with LeeRoy, the University's tiger mascot.
I’ll only add this: in my experience: students who are interested in what they’re studying work harder, do better academically, and, indeed, are happier. They’re motivated to find a way to turn what they love into their life’s work. Having learned how to learn (and loving it), they are precisely the kinds of flexible, entrepreneurial employees that many employers say that they’re looking for and having a hard time finding. So encourage your students to find a subject they love and devote themselves to it. Do ask them how they think they can continue to pursue this love after graduation. Encourage them to visit the folks in the Office of Career Services, to look for an internship or two, and maybe even to take a “practical” class or two so that at the entry level they aren’t befuddled by what they’re asked to do.

They’ll be happy. And if they’re happy, we’re happy, right?

About Joe

Joe Knippenberg is a professor of politics at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, where he has taught since 1985. His son, Liam, is a junior at Trinity, majoring (shockingly) in political science, though he has absolutely no intention of following any further in his dad’s footsteps. Father and son chat frequently, mostly about politics. Recently dad has been working his personal network (friends and former students) to find people in the “real world” with whom Liam can speak about career opportunities. And Liam, with dad’s blessing, is applying for internships this summer. Joe’s wife Lee also teaches at Oglethorpe, in the Core Curriculum and the theatre program, and directs the drama ministry at Oak Grove U.M.C. Their daughter, Charlotte, is a freshman at Wingate University in North Carolina, where she is on the swim team and contemplating a psychology major. You can find some of Joe’s essays at,, and

Guerrero family at Trinity University

by Manny and Denise Guerrero —

Trinity University has empowered our two son’s with a plethora of tools – academic rigor is among them – to turn them into successful students, individuals, athletes and if the desire is there, also into entrepreneurs and innovators.

Our oldest son Austin Guerrero, is a junior at Trinity and will be in the class of 2018. While looking for colleges online, he stumbled upon the now 25-year holder of the title, from U.S. News & World Reports as “Best in the west school” called Trinity University. We visited Trinity along with others schools and I recall Austin mentioning that there was an entrepreneurship program available for those who were up for the challenge at Trinity. Austin was more than excited because he knows our family is full of “Shark Tank” junkies. I could sense the anticipation and excitement when Austin was accepted to attend Trinity and into the Entrepreneurship program, plus Trinity awarded Austin a scholarship to help with tuition. We had a very grateful and happy young man!

Austin presents his work in Trinity's Entrepreneurship Program

Austin was always a hard working kid who loved to learn, play sports, interact with family, friends, and practically anyone who was willing to listen to him talk. Austin’s strong points are leadership, commitment, and humility. Austin learned music through piano and played chess by competing at state and in national tournaments. He loved to play sports and follow college and professional sports teams of all styles, I thought for sure we had an ESPN commentator amongst us.

Austin is majoring in mathematical finance. He participated in the development and presenting of a phone app along with his partner to local business professionals while in the Entrepreneur program. The knowledge he gained by real world experience is lifelong and my personal thanks and appreciation go to Luis Martinez, director of the Entrepreneur program, who instilled priceless lessons gained from those pitches. Austin is now currently a captain on the track and field team as a javelin thrower, Resident Life mentor for first-year students, vice president of Data Analytics for The Financial Initiative, Trinity Distinguished representative for the Admissions office, and also is a member of Greek Life on campus in the social fraternity, Omega Phi, as well as a business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi.

Guerrero sons at Trinity University
Trinity University students Brian and Austin Guerrero.
Our youngest son, Brian Guerrero, is a first-year at Trinity University in the class of 2020. He will be an engineering major. Brian did very well in high school, learned music at an early age with piano, played chess, loved club basketball, plays golf, and loves to play court and sand volleyball. Brian also has a great relationship with friends and family and makes conversation with almost anybody. Brian decided quickly that he was going to attend Trinity University after visiting the campus on several occasions. Brian was also awarded a scholarship for academics and a grant for his science and technology major to help with tuition. Brian is in the Innovation and Entrepreneurship program. As parents, we can honestly say that Brian has found his little slice of heaven on earth. Brian has found a groove on campus as well and he has already joined an engineering society. He has only been on campus since August and we know he is still finding other ways to get involved and stay busy. We know he will make an impact on campus much like his brother and oh, and his roommate has already been a hit too!

We are very pleased to be Trinity parents!

Guerrero family with LeeRoy tiger mascot
The Guerrero family enjoys a moment with LeeRoy the Trinity  mascot.

About Manny and Denise

Manny and Denise Guerrero are natives of and live in Tucson, Arizona, where they raised two inquisitive sons who now attend Trinity University. Manny served in the U.S Army and currently is a police officer. Denise is employed by the University of Arizona’s Health Science Center. Manny is into a combination of P90X plus-cross fit-cardio workouts and Denise loves her work-out DVD’s. They adore Face Time with Austin and Brian and look forward to visiting the great city of San Antonio. Manny and Denise feel like they are on a permanent vacation as they undergo the transformation to empty nesters. They love to brag about Trinity University and the substantive faculty, staff, and most important STUDENTS who have made the wise choice to attend. Woo hoo! Go Tigers!

by  Aliza Holzman-Cantu —

Behind many successful Trinity students stands a proud parent. That parent is someone who has seen his or her child grow from infancy to those teen-age years that give some of us gray hair! Although I know it's tough to let go, sometimes the best parenting advice is to give your child "roots and wings."

I am certain our Trinity parents have done an exceptional job giving their student "roots" – roots in manners, in studying, in patience, and possibly even in sports competitions or other extracurricular events. Now it's time to trust those "wings" – to let your child fly into adulthood.

Along the way, you will not stop being a parent and you will probably follow information from Trinity and learn about our community. That's why I'm inviting you to become part of the Trinity University Parent Council, a group of parents who are ambassadors and investors in the University. Our Council serves as an advisory and advocacy group, helping to foster a sense of community among parents of students and alumni while supporting the unique

Trinity experience that inspires and empowers students to become successful.

Parents meet with faculty during Fall Family Weekend.

The Parent Council board and I are excited to be actively building and forming this organization, so there's no better time than the present to join us. Member responsibilities include: serving on a committee or committees, supporting the University by participating in special projects and sharing personal expertise and skills, representing the Council by attending events and connecting with other parents in an effort to encourage camaraderie, annually supporting the Parents Fund at a level of their choosing, and attending meetings as they are able (meetings are held during Fall Family Weekend and Spring Family Weekend).

The committees on our Council are varied and we hope you find one or more that you will join. To get involved with our council please follow this link: Join Our Parent Council. Please note that our newest committee, Diversity and Inclusion, may not yet be listed on the questionnaire. We are excited about the creation of this group that will advise the Parent Council and parent programs staff on issues related to diversity and campus climate to ensure that all members of our community are included in our efforts. To join this committee, simply select the final bubble in the survey: "Contact me for other participation opportunities." Let us know about your interests and we will be in contact with you shortly.

For more information about the Trinity University Parent Council, contact Aliza Holzman-Cantu at

About Aliza

Aliza Holzman-Cantu is director of Parent Giving and Engagement and truly loves getting to know Trinity parents. She received both her bachelor's degree in communication and Master of Arts in Teaching from Trinity and is grateful for the opportunities both of those degrees have afforded her. She lives in San Antonio with her husband Willie (a Texas Ex) and her two daughters, Sophie (12th grade) and Iliana (9th grade). Aliza is thrilled to be working at Trinity – “It feels like coming home.”
Trinity University student Lauren Pettinati and her mom

by Karie Pettinati--

Editor's note: Last week, the mother of a Trinity University sophomore wrote about her daughter's experience taking over the University's Twitter account. You can read her account here. This week, we are sharing the view from the mother of that student's roommate, who says she now has two daughters, by virtue of the "binding roommate contract," and is thrilled they are at Trinity. 

Finding the right roommate is an important part of the college experience. My daughter Lauren, a sophomore at Trinity University, couldn’t be more different from her roommate, Hannah, aka my newly adopted daughter by virtue of the “binding roommate contract.” Their differences are evident in their Twitter posts. One is a vegetarian and one doesn’t like breakfast tacos.

I really think the only thing they have in common is their love of baby animals. What is great about their friendship and this school for putting kids like this together is their kindness and respect for each other. They tease each other about everything, but the ribbing is taken with a grain of salt and a good sense of humor.

I love the fact that they can talk to each other bluntly, openly and honestly about their different beliefs on politics, religion, or who the greatest golfer is, and not be offended by their disagreement. Maybe it’s from kindness and consideration or a level of intelligence that makes someone open to listen as well as be heard. Maybe it’s just something in the water? I’m not sure, but I know it’s not just something these two possess.

On the subject of kindness and consideration, I recently had the pleasure of supporting my daughter and her Tiger Golfer teammates on the greens in beautiful Seguin. Afterward, Lauren and I grabbed a bite to eat and coincidentally met a Trinity football playing grad from the class of ’77! He agreed the campus is great and told us stories of how the football field has improved immensely. Props to the greens keepers…. wait, no that’s golf….props to the guys that spray on the lines. That can’t be an easy job! Anyway, our class of ’77 friend, like most every other TU student, faculty and staff from admissions to security and janitorial impressed me, of course, with his kindness and consideration.
Trinity University golfer Lauren Pettinati
Trinity University sophomore Lauren Pettinati is a member of the Tiger Women's Golf Team.
So when Lauren told me the University asked her and Hannah to take over the Trinity Twitter account, I asked, “Why you two?” My initial reaction was: “Why would they do that?” and “What are you doing?” I didn’t understand. It was confusing, and I thought I should say, “Congratulations…..right?”

After a little enlightening, I learned a little more about Twitter and stopped questioning the decision makers who chose Lauren and Hannah for the Twitter Takeover. There are so many kids on this campus that represent skill in bringing people together instead of pulling them apart and in listening and learning instead of judging and condemning. I guess I’m just proud that they live this way, proud that they go to a school that encourages this behavior. The world could use a little more of that.

Actually, I’m really proud – proud of the girls and proud of this school.

In closing:

1. No, those are not puppy noises coming from the dorm room.

2. I can’t wait to see who you talk into doing this next.

3. Go Tigers!

by Trudi-Brooke Mann –

Editor’s note: To get a student’s-eye view of the first week of school this fall semester, Trinity University turned the keys to the social media platform Twitter over to sophomores Hannah-Elyse Konyecsni (@bahannahsplit27) and Lauren Pettinati (@laurenpettinati) for a week. You can read about their experience on the student blog, The Trinity Perspective, here.

When I first heard that Hannah and her roommate Lauren were going to take over Trinity University’s Twitter account, I’ll admit I was excited because Hannah was excited. I didn’t really grasp the significance of the “takeover.”

Hannah and her mom.
I wasn’t a Twitter user. That was Hannah’s private space because Twitter “wasn’t for parents.” That’s okay because I really wasn’t that interested anyway. That all changed on Twitter Day #1. She woke up early and started texting me trying to get ideas for that all important first tweet. I gave her a dozen ideas, some interesting, some great in my opinion and some absolute crap. Hannah ended up doing what she always does, ignoring my ideas and coming up with something that’s totally her. A little retro, a little quirky and a lot funny.

That first day was a whirlwind. It was so much bigger than I imagined. Over the next few days there were radio interviews, two television interviews, and lots of attention. There were funny tweets, inspirational tweets, and tweets I didn’t always understand. It seemed to be a hit. I made my own Twitter account just to be able to follow the Takeover Twins.

Lauren and her mom.
Trinity provides its students with such amazing opportunities to explore and grow. Interestingly it’s managed to do the same for this Trinity parent.

About Trudi-Brooke

Trudi-Brooke Mann is the mom of a sophomore from Austin, Texas. She fills the time when she’s not at work with fluffing her empty nest, doing Pilates, and stalking her only child on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Trinity University equestrienne Chelsea Runacres

by Roger Runacres —

In discussions with our oldest daughter, Chelsea, about where she would like to attend college, two things kept coming up: warm climate and horse friendly. Okay, fair enough. We really couldn’t expect a sixth grader to place academics at the top of her list. As time went on, these two requirements remained very important to her, as well as educational opportunities, in selection of a college. As parents, we were committed to letting our kids make their own college decision. After all, they would be the ones attending, not us. In the end, we put our strong opinions aside and are thrilled Chelsea ultimately decided on Trinity University.

An avid equestrian by age 7, Chelsea will always have horses in her life. To her, riding is a normal part of her weekly agenda like going to the gym for a workout might be to another. It has helped her be organized and time efficient. It has helped her keep perspective, focus her energies, and accept responsibility. Consequently, riding in college was to be included, not as a distraction to her academics but as an enhancement to her educational experience and healthy partner to her class and study schedule. She had also decided she would rather ride on a club team than a varsity team as she was not prepared to commit to the rigors required of varsity equestrian competition. We fully endorsed her decision.

As Chelsea’s high school days passed, we toured many college campuses near our home in Washington State and in the southern part of the U.S. as well. Options in life are always a good thing except when confronted by too much information. I worried we had looked at too many colleges: how would she choose out of the dozen or so places we visited? All were great schools, capable of providing her what she wanted educationally as well as socially and recreationally. Thankfully, we had enlisted the help of an independent college advisor in Seattle, who suggested we meet with Trinity’s advisor who was scheduled to be in town. Without a doubt, that was the single best action Chelsea took in finding the right school.

Trinity University English class outdoors
English professor Jenny Browne conducts class outdoors.
At a local Starbucks (this is Seattle after all) we sat down with the Trinity advisor I now consider a good friend. Chelsea and he hit it off right away. I simply sat and listened. He painted a great, realistic picture of life at Trinity and in San Antonio that could not be found on any website or glossy college brochure. His enthusiasm was contagious. I decided if Chelsea was not interested, I would sign up myself! The hour and a half went by rapidly and when it was over, Chelsea, (to her parents’ delight) voiced her keen interest in attending Trinity.

The application process at Trinity was straight forward. She was accepted and was also pleased to learn she was awarded a generous academic scholarship. We made a trip to campus during spring break of her senior year to tour the school and meet professors, her recruitment advisor, and current students. Chelsea spent the night on campus with a student host as well, enhancing her introductory experience. The next morning, when I picked her up at campus, she exclaimed, “Where do we sign?” I was so happy in her decision, as I was certain Trinity offered her everything she needed in a first-rate education and healthy atmosphere. I nearly ran to the Admissions office to place our deposit right then and there.

After letting Admissions know she was committing, I had a huge smile on my face as we drove the half hour north to the equestrian training location where Trinity’s riding team practices. We met a coach named Stephanie, toured the facility, and of course met all the horses. Although diminutive in size, Stephanie has shown herself huge in skill, leadership, and heart. Two riding seasons now completed, Chelsea looks at Stephanie as much as a mentoring aunt as equestrian coach. Stephanie is a great role model and gives much of herself and her facilities for the benefit of the team. I should also point out that the riding team at Trinity is not at all an elitist club sport. Rider enthusiasm matters.

Two seasons ago when Chelsea was a freshman rider, the team consisted of four women. At the end of her first season, Chelsea became team captain. Last season, the team had 11 women riding. Now, there are nine returning riders, which bodes well for another successful show season. Trinity was very competitive last season even though they are the second smallest team in their showing region. Of the six schools in their region, four are larger, better funded teams. Trinity has bested those teams in several showing events and will continue to do so. This speaks to the team’s skill, dedication, and coaching.

Trinity University student in the Writing Center
Trinity University's Writing Center is a resource for students.
For Trinity, the show season starts in October and runs through the end of April. There are regional and zone events after that. Chelsea qualified and attended regionals, the Sunday after the team’s last event of the season in Baton Rouge. Based on her placing in this regional event, she qualified and competed in the zone event held in Savannah, Georgia, on the first weekend in May. I’d better point out that I am not one of those Dads who believes it is all about winning medals and beating everyone else. As parents, we want our kids to be winners at life. To us, this means joining the team, making good friends, trying their best, learning what lessons losing and winning can offer while striving to improve. Academics plays a very big role in this development. Recreational pursuits certainly do also.

You may be wondering why all the attention on the riding team? Clearly Trinity is not solely focused on sports, but not only academics either. Trinity prepares their students to be successful in the rest of their lives as defined by the whole individual. The educational opportunities are first rate at Trinity and of primary importance. In looking at the whole student however, interests outside of the classroom and library are also important to the betterment of the student. Trinity affords their student body a multitude of recreational opportunities where inclusion is the norm.

Trinity understands the importance of providing these varied varsity and club level sports. Friendships that last throughout their lives are formed in college with team members and in classrooms and dorms. Interests are explored and expanded, new knowledge and experiences fuel a life lived with interest and passion. Sports can enhance these college experiences most certainly. I see it in my daughter’s life at Trinity: in the way she talks about her favorite English professor, in her description of the horse she rode in their last show, in her awe of her brilliant roommate, of her recounting of Jane Goodall’s presentation in Laurie Auditorium. Trinity has continued to cultivate our daughter’s passion for life. As parents, for what more could we hope?

About Roger

Roger Runacres graduated from the University of Washington and is a managing partner with Contech Services, a specialty construction firm in Seattle. He enjoys watching his oldest daughter show horses and his youngest daughter play competitive volleyball.He is a serial three-putter and motorcycle enthusiast. Chelsea Runacres is an English major starting her junior year as a Trinity Tiger..
Team Trinity on move in day

by Susie P. Gonzalez -- 

Sitting on the floor of his daughter’s room at Trinity University’s Witt-Winn Residence Hall to assemble a shelf, a tired and sweat-soaked Paul Kennedy said, “We couldn’t have done it without the army of gray shirts.”

Kennedy was talking about Team Trinity, the administrators, faculty, staff, students, and alumni who annually help move in first-year students when they and their families drive up to their residence hall. Cheers and waves greeted the newcomers, followed by shouts of, “Welcome to Trinity!” Then, in a flash, people adorned in gray T-shirts whisked suitcases, boxes, bags, and other items to the student’s room. The shirts for 2016 were gray, although the color changes annually. But for Kennedy and his family, it was the perfect color and the perfect number of people.

“I’d heard about Team Trinity,” said his wife, Domi Long. “We knew what to expect but I thought I’d see about 20 people.”
Kennedy-Long family at Trinity University
The Kennedy-Long Family on move-in day: mom Domi Long, first year Frannie Kennedy-Long, and dad Paul Kennedy.
Instead, there were more than 300. The spirited assemblage included University president Danny Anderson, who donned a gray shirt along with his wife, Kimberly. At one point, the Stand Band performed to liven up the atmosphere outside Beze Residence Hall as cars pulled up. Sprinkles of rain fell, but most people were glad the drizzle kept temperatures in the 80s instead of the seasonal high of 100 degrees recorded the previous week.

Kennedy and Long had driven three days from Silver Spring, Md., to deliver daughter Frannie Kennedy-Long to Trinity. “I was very impressed,” the mom said of the move-in helpers.

Frannie’s roommate, Logan Felton, and her parents trekked to campus from Houston and said the move-in process was “a lot better” at Trinity than at another San Antonio school where their older daughter attends.

Logan’s father, Guy Felton, had spent the previous day hoisting boxes for the other daughter and was grateful for the help from Team Trinity. “It was very well organized,” said Logan’s mom, Cassandra Felton.
Felton family at Trinity University
The Logan Family: mom Cassandra, first year Logan, and dad Guy.
Frannie and Logan are one of about 660 first-year students at Trinity this fall, representing one of the largest and most diverse classes in the University’s history. More than 37 percent are students of color, 18 percent of first-years are Pell eligible, and 15 percent are first-generation college students. Nearly 46 percent are male, 24 percent are from outside Texas and the U.S., and nine students are National Merit Scholars.

In Hernden Residence Hall, Janeen Bogue and her husband Darrin were putting sheets on son Max’s bed while he went to get his student ID. Their generosity was fueled by a tip from athletes and alumni gathered at the Colorado Send Off to prepare first-year students headed for Trinity so they feel part of the Tiger community. The Bogues, who hail from Boulder, drove 14 ½ hours and said the move-in process took “all of five minutes.”
Kennedy-Long family at Trinity University
Hernden Hall families, from left,  Janeen Bogue with first year Griffin Gaedke and his mom Gina Gaedke, and Darrin Bogue. 
Son Max was thrilled to meet his roommate, Griffin Gaedke, whose mom Gina is a Trinity alumna from the class of 1989 and her dad graduated in 1990. Gina said she also lived in Hernden her sophomore year but on another floor. She recalled a ban on microwaves and refrigerators at that time, unlike today when both appliances are furnished.

The Gaedkes, who are from San Antonio, already relate to “Team Trinity” since both are alumni and because Griffin’s grandfather, Rudolph Gaedke, is an emeritus professor of physics.

About Susie

Susie P. Gonzalez, senior manager of public relations at Trinity, can be reached at or @susiegonz.

Trinity University students on move in day

by Dave Taylor—

It’s a bit hard for me to wrap my head around the concept, but the truth is staring me in the face, the calendar doesn’t lie and my oldest, A-, is heading off for college on Monday, a college that’s almost 1,000 miles away from home. It’s been quite a journey for all of us to get here and in many ways she has borne the brunt of my divorce and the subsequent decade of living a two-household life.

As a result, I’d be remiss if I didn’t start this with huge props to her for getting to this point, being accepted to a really good college and having the courage to say “yes”, show up on move-in day and begin the next chapter of her young life!

Still, one consequence of a decade of dual-house living is that she’s been clear since the beginning of the discussion that she wanted to “get outta Dodge” and refused to even consider any colleges in our home state of Colorado. And I respect her for that decision and contrast it with my own less adventurous choice to attend the University of California, San Diego, a mere 140 miles from my parents’ home in greater Los Angeles all those years ago when I was an undergrad.

Much of the journey into college is about what high-falutin’ shrinks call “individuation” and it’s a delight to watch A- become her own woman, making her own decisions about what she believes is best for her and her future, not just agreeing with whatever her mother or I suggest. This is not without its occasional conflict, of course, but that’s part of the process too.

Trinity University students dance at All Campus Picnic
Trinity students having fun before the All-Campus Picnic during New Student Orientation.
Of course, the college she’s chosen, Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, is her Mom’s alma mater, but I trust that A- has assessed all of her college options and determined that it’s her best choice, whether or not Mom attended many years ago. And if it’s not the perfect fit? People do transfer, and there are many other colleges and universities that would be darn lucky to have her as an undergrad student and member of the campus community.

Here’s what’s weird, though: I’ve never stepped foot on campus and my girl’s moving there in less than a week!

Fortunately, there’s the Internet, and so I now know that Trinity is located in the heart of historic San Antonio, Texas (remember the Alamo?), it’s a small liberal arts school with just over 2,200 students and has a respectable 9:1 student / teacher ratio. The average incoming freshman has a 3.52 GPA and she fits right in with those stats, having gone to a small private school where classes were measured in dozens, not hundreds.

I’ve also been to San Antonio before – I actually co-hosted a conference there many years ago – and fondly remember the beautiful San Antonio Riverwalk.

The Riverwalk area is a fun and very tourist-friendly place with some terrific food options and there’s lots else to see in and around “San Antone,” as locals call it, including, yes, the Alamo, scene of the famous battle where Davy Crockett lost his life.

But just as my undergrad life had little to do with the nightlife and attractions in San Diego, I somehow expect that A-‘s experience is going to be much more defined by her residence hall, her dorm room — and roommate! — and the ever-popular dining hall.

Add to the list classrooms and the library and you have most of an undergrad’s first year covered. Actually, a modern college might have so much information available online through the campus intranet that perhaps libraries are obsolete?

My undergrad degree was in computer science, so the computer labs were all important to us, particularly in the first year or two, but I have a feeling that A- will find the gym a better place to work off the stress of her college adventures and challenges, since after all, the computer she’ll have on her desk is far more sophisticated than the big, expensive mainframes we had back in the day!

Move in day at Trinity University
Trinity University students on move in day.
Still, as much as I’m excited and proud to see her poised to open a new chapter in her life, a chapter that really marks the transition from child to adult, I’m also a bit nostalgic for when I was a major player in her life. It’s been a journey with its turbulence and challenges, but it’s been quite an adventure nonetheless and I couldn’t be prouder of her!

Ahhh… ultimately it’s all good, this is how transitions go, but yeah, there might just be a slight hint of moisture in my eyes when I watch her head on down the highway and into the bright sunshine of her future.

About Dave

Denver/Boulder blogger Dave Taylor writes about his experiences as a single dad with three great kids and his occasionally tenuous grip on sanity. Pretty sure they’re related. You can find (or subscribe!) to his blog, Go Fatherhood, by going here
Trinity University student in dorm
by Alfred Rodriguez –

The transition into adulthood carries many new experiences, responsibilities, and choices. Each year, Trinity University is honored to host an exceptional class of new students and to facilitate this transition by providing support and assistance to both parents and students in what can be a trying time.

Something new in the college adventure is the role of Trinity students as advocates for themselves regarding their learning experience. They must bear primary responsibility for directing their own progress and achieving their own goals. Of course, parents and others may offer their support, and the vast majority of our students are eager to receive such support.

The University encourages student responsibility and individual initiative while maintaining compliance with federal legislation and recommended principles of confidentiality. Trinity complies with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974, as amended. This Act was designed to protect students’ rights by maintaining the privacy of educational records, establishing the rights of students to review their education records, and providing guidelines for the correction of inaccurate or misleading information.
Trinity University students
Federal laws protect the privacy of college students.
Upon enrollment in college, the rights afforded under FERPA are transferred from the parent to the individual student. Therefore, it is important to note that in many circumstances, Trinity University may not be permitted to release education records to parents.

Because parents have significant concern for, and a legitimate interest in their child's academic performance, it is important for parents and students to arrive at a mutually satisfactory agreement regarding the release of education records. Parents who would like to receive grade reports or access to other protected education records should request that their son or daughter sign a Student Consent to Release Educational Records form (available online or in the Office of the Registrar). If this form is completed, parents may receive grade reports upon written request unless the student revokes the consent in writing. Although certain exceptions apply, under FERPA, grades, financial information, and other education records are not to be disclosed to parents or anyone else outside the University without a student's prior written permission.
Trinity University students
Students must sign a form to share certain information, such as grades, with parents.

Students’ employment records, medical treatment records, and most counseling records are not educational records as defined in FERPA. Other laws as well as professional ethics protect their confidentiality. The University is not permitted to disclose information contained in medical treatment records or protected counseling records to anyone, including parents, without specific prior written consent of the student, if the student is at least 18 years old. Certain exceptions apply to protect the health or safety of the student.

Parents with questions about the University's policies concerning disclosure of academic records are invited to contact the University Registrar ( For questions regarding disciplinary or other records, parents may contact the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs (

About Alfred

Alfred “Fred” Rodriguez has been the Registrar at Trinity University since 2000. He also is the proud father of a college sophomore.

by Darin Mackender —

My daughter said, “I knew you would cry.”

“I’m just so happy for you,” I said as I wiped a tear from my cheek. “I’m so glad you decided to study abroad.”

I had landed in Copenhagen 12 hours earlier and was getting my first glimpse of the city that my daughter, Ally, a rising senior at Trinity University, had called home for the past semester. She had predicted my reaction. I’m a soft touch. For the next two weeks, Ally guided my wife, son, and I around Copenhagen, Berlin, and Iceland. We saw her school and housing, ate at her favorite restaurants, visited her favorite museums and castles, and enjoyed time together after four months apart.
Trinity University senior Ally Mackender, at left, with her dad Darin, mom, and brother in Copenhagen
In the months since, I have had an opportunity to reflect on Ally’s experience. I am confident her semester abroad expanded her horizons in all of the expected ways. Her academic program, which was arranged through Trinity, was thought-provoking and challenging. Focusing on gender and social justice issues in Europe, she was forced to think critically about U.S. policies and reexamine her own opinions. Her extracurricular and study-travel experiences exposed her to different political, social, and cultural perspectives, some of which continue to be cornerstones of her personal beliefs and attitudes.

Ally also grew immeasurably as a person. As her mom and I watched her disappear, by herself, into the Denver airport, we struggled to imagine how she would handle living and traveling in Europe for four months, which was her first experience living outside our house or the Trinity dorms and traveling independently. She was fine. She shopped and cooked, got a cell phone, got her card for health services, figured out the trains and buses, and did all of the things necessary for day-to-day life. She immersed herself in the rhythm of Copenhagen. She visited 13 countries.

At times, she traveled with large groups from her program. At other times, she traveled with one or two friends. She traveled by plane, train, bus, car, and bike; and slept in hotels, hostels, and even a tent. She visited or hosted three of her best friends from Trinity, who also were studying in Europe. She returned more confident, more worldly, more mature, and more prepared to succeed at Trinity and life thereafter.

An unexpected benefit of Ally’s semester abroad was our growth as parents. Like many parents, we always have been eager, perhaps too eager, to solve our children’s problems, offer advice (sometimes unwanted), and generally meddle in their affairs. We try to strike the right balance, but are never quite sure that we have succeeded. Our relationship with Ally changed, permanently and for the better, when she stepped off the plane in Denmark.

We knew that, in addition to the much greater geographic distance between us, there would be a knowledge gap. How do you fix a laptop in San Antonio? Same as Denver. How do you fix a laptop in Copenhagen? Sorry, dear, you are on your own. The change became apparent to me when Ally returned from a weekend trip to Switzerland. I realized that I had known very little about her plans. She went to Switzerland with friends, had fun, called when she got home, and was fine. It was an epiphany for her mom and me to realize she’s “got it covered.”

It likely would surprise Ally to know that one of my fondest memories of her semester abroad doesn’t involve a museum or castle, performance, restaurant, or even our family. When I arrived in Copenhagen, Ally had just said goodbye to her housemates and classmates for the past four months. She was the last to leave. Ally told me about a particularly difficult goodbye to a new, close friend the day before. I knew immediately what she was feeling. At some level, we all have experienced it. The story is familiar. You begin a new, challenging adventure with a group of strangers. Through the highs and lows, you become friends with those strangers and develop a special bond, a deeper connection, with some. Then, the adventure ends, and everybody goes their separate ways.
Ally and Darin Mackender
As adults, we don’t experience those situations much, it seems. But, we know the feeling. The transcendent joy of deep connections forged by overcoming, followed by the sweet sorrow of the adventure coming to an end. You carry those memories with you forever and know that things—you—will never be the same. Ally experienced that, and it is priceless.

About Darin

Darin Mackender received his undergraduate degree from Nebraska Wesleyan University and his law degree from the University of Nebraska College of Law. He is an attorney with Fisher Phillips in Denver. His daughter, Allyson, will be a senior at Trinity University this fall.

Trinity University Career Fair

by Twyla Hough —

Greetings, all! As Trinity prepares to welcome new and returning students to campus next month, my mind returns to the 2015 Trinity Bunch video recorded last summer.

This five-minute video shares campus information in the style of the television sitcom, the “Brady Bunch,” and although a few roles have changed in the past year, such as Dr. Sheryl Tynes’ recent promotion to Vice President of Student Affairs, I believe there is still much to be gleaned from it. Please note that the registration dates on the video are incorrect; registration this year will be Aug. 22-23.

In fact, as the director of the Office of Career Services, I encourage you to pay special attention to my advice in the video for all students to visit the Center for Experiential Learning & Career Success sooner than later to meet with their career advisor for career planning and exploration, including information on applying for graduate school. As parents, you will continue asking yourself questions related to your child's career. My simple advice is to encourage your child to visit our office, get involved, make connections through internships, and really explore all the city (and our Tiger alumni network) have to offer. It is never too early.

To help bring advice and tips to you, we've created a YouTube playlist that will continue to be a source for career information. Hope you enjoy watching! If you have suggestions on topics, let me know.

Current students and alumni can schedule an appointment by logging into Hire a Tiger at Additionally, our office can be reached at 210-999-8321 or if assistance is needed. Trinity's Career Services team is here to help equip students to actively explore, strategically plan, and successfully launch into their personalized career journey.

All of us at Trinity, especially the Career Services team, look forward to meeting you to celebrate #TigerPride.

About Twyla
Twyla Hough is director of the Office of Career Services in Trinity University’s Center for Experiential Learning and Career Success.

Dr. Arturo Madrid with Trinity University students

by Jorge Mora –

We always knew we wanted our son to attend college, but when the time came for him to make his decision, we had lots of questions. Would he receive the support he needed to thrive academically? Would he be able to make the transition to a different social setting?

One of the biggest challenges he faced being a first-generation student at Trinity University was definitely doing everything on his own. We worried whether Isaiah could make the transition from a high school environment to a rigorous college setting.

Our journey started one month before classes his first semester as he participated in the First-Generation, Under-represented Students summer bridge program. The program was designed to provide first-generation students a head start in college to ease the transition.

The program had a lasting effect on Isaiah. However, when he first began classes he doubted if he belonged at Trinity. Did Trinity make a mistake by accepting him? Should he have gone to another university?

Like many first generation families, we did not know there was help. Thankfully, his professor in the summer bridge program, Dr. Arturo Madrid, made it known that they were there to help students like my son when they needed it. Dr. Madrid was always available for assistance. Like many of the professors and staff at Trinity, he came to know my son personally. A distinct memory of mine is Isaiah coming home and telling us he met with Dr. Madrid that week during office hours for questions on an assignment. As they were walking Dr. Madrid encountered a colleague and introduced Isaiah as his friend. That day Isaiah found one of his many mentors on campus.
Trinity University student Isaiah Mora and family
Members of the Mora Family, from left, are Ainara, Elizabeth, Jorge, Eilidh, and Isaiah.
With the focus on adjusting to life away from the family and concentrating on grades, my son has also been able to have fun in college. As an active member of the Trinity University Latino Exchange, he has made a family away from home. It has given students like my son a new sense of pride in their cultural heritage, as well as their academic background. Needless to say, Isaiah made long lasting friendships that will go beyond his four years on campus.

Now entering his third year in college, with affirmation, I can say that Trinity was the best place for my son. I am also proud to say this past semester my son made the Dean’s List.

About Jorge

Originally from Laredo, Texas, Jorge Mora is a CNC engineer at Mission Metal Fabricators in San Antonio, where he lives with his wife Elizabeth Mora. They are parents to three children. Their eldest, Isaiah will be a junior at Trinity. His passions include spending time with his children, yard work, and storytelling.

by Gregory Shervanick—

Many Division I colleges have a tradition of great football or basketball teams, and others, especially those in Division III, have the added tradition of family. Trinity University has both. It is a close community, and I’d like to share both my daughter’s story about being part of the Trinity family and how I came to be part of it, too.

Although I did not attend Trinity University, my daughter Kara joined the Trinity family in 2009 and graduated in 2013 with a degree in biology and environmental studies. Each year that she returned to Trinity as a student, she became increasingly involved with faculty, friends, and activities, culminating in being named a Distinguished Representative.

Student Involvement was Key for Kara

During her enrollment and participation in campus life, Kara cheered for Tiger athletics, worked with the Trinity Cat Alliance, participated in Interhall Olympics, and assisted newcomers as well as returning alumni for Homecoming (also known as Alumni Weekend) with information from the desk at Coates University Center.

Also every year, upon her return to Trinity, her campus family grew larger and the faculty and staff became more a part of her life as a caring extended family. She felt the ideals of Trinity even as she took part in a study abroad trip to Australia. As a parent, I never really considered myself as a member of this intimate family group until a few weeks ago.

The Feeling of Family Reaches from New Mexico to Texas

A local newspaper carried an article about resident who was having a birthday, her 104th. The article also noted that she was an alumnus of Trinity University. I forwarded the notification to the Office of University Marketing & Communications, which arranged to send a birthday card to the centenarian. During a subsequent correspondence with one of the Trinity staff, I realized that not only was my daughter part of the Trinity family but I also was a part of that history. So in order to follow in my daughter’s footsteps as a Distinguished Representative for Trinity University, I offer this view of #TigerPride.

Expanding Opportunities

Representatives to
Increase the
Diffusion of

Thank you for making family a Trinity tradition!

About Gregory

Gregory Shervanick lives in southern New Mexico and is a proud parent of Kara, who graduated from Trinity in 2013 and in May 2016 completed a Master of Environmental Management in Coastal Management degree from Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment & Marine Lab. She now lives in Washington D.C. and works to save the oceans and its animals at Oceana.

Trinity University philosophy professor Andrew Kania and student Daniel Conrad

by Susie P. Gonzalez —

From the time my first-born could hold a joystick, he was chasing Mario, mastering Tetris, and sneaking in M-rated video games that made me question my parenting skills when I ultimately discovered those verboten items stashed under the console. I worried that, as a teen-ager, all he seemed to do was sit in front of a television monitor or computer and play video games. I often mused, “Where will that take him in life?” Thankfully, he also discovered basketball and books and went on to become an excellent student at Trinity University.

Still, I sympathize with other parents who complain, “All my kid wants to do is play video games!” At Trinity this summer, Daniel Conrad ’18 is actually combining his love of video games with academic research. With funding from the Mellon Initiative for humanities research, Conrad is studying the philosophy of video games. He hopes to present his findings at research conferences in the coming year and ultimately publish them.

Conrad’s research also will be incorporated into a Philosophy of Film course that philosophy professor Andrew Kania will teach this fall.

I learned about Conrad’s work through another blog that Trinity publishes, Experiential Learning, which highlights undergraduate research. The writer, Allyson Mackender, is a Denver native who is entering her senior year at Trinity. An English major, she says that Trinity’s curriculum has allowed her to pursue academic interests from geoscience to anthropology to economics.

Trinity University philosophy professor Andrew Kania and student Daniel Conrad
Trinity University student researcher Daniel Conrad discusses findings with professor Andrew Kania
Here is an excerpt of Conrad’s story, in the student blogger’s words:

Although video games are at the center of Conrad’s research, his academic foundation lies in philosophical discussion of art and aesthetics. Conrad’s article will be in response to a previous essay that claims if something is art it cannot be a game and vice versa. Conrad hopes to disprove this theory, proving that games can, and in some cases should, be considered art. In order to do this, Conrad needs to explore the ontology of games. Put simply, Conrad will consider what it means for something to be a game and to be an artwork, a task that is harder than it may initially seem. In fact, professor Kania chuckled when asked to define any terms important to the research, as that is the goal he and Conrad are attempting to achieve by completing this project.

The study of the philosophy of video games is a rather new and innovative field that has grown with the industry. Conrad explained that the significance of his research is founded in the cultural importance of video games. "The video game industry is massive and continuously growing," Conrad claimed, making any research on the topic important to our cultural understanding of media.

To read the entire blog post, click here. Conrad’s work so far makes me believe that there can be merit to video games.

And my son? He is now gainfully employed in the banking industry. And he still plays video games.

About Susie

Susie P. Gonzalez, senior manager of public relations at Trinity, can be reached at or @susiegonz.