Trinity College is a private liberal arts college in Hartford, Connecticut. Founded in 1823, as an Episcopal Church alternative to Yale. It is the second-oldest college in the state of Connecticut. The college has an urban campus.
Coeducational since 1969, the college enrolls 2,300 students. Trinity offers 38 majors and 26 minors, with a student to faculty ratio of 9:1. 73.1 percent of classes at the college contain less than 20 students. The college is a member of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC), informally referred to as the Little Ivies. U.S. News & World Report ranked Trinity tied for 44th in its 2018 ranking of best national liberal arts colleges in the United States.
Early Connecticut was dominated by Congregationalists. Episcopalians, who had long sought to set up their own college, were provided an opportunity when the Connecticut Constitution disestablished the Congregationalist Church in 1818. It was taken by Bishop Thomas Brownell, who opened Washington College in 1824 to nine students and the vigorous protest of Yale alumni.
A fourteen-acre site was chosen, at the time about a half-mile from the city of Hartford. Over time Bushnell Park was laid out to the north and the east, creating a beautiful space.
The college was renamed Trinity College in 1845; the original campus consisted of two Greek Revival buildings, one housing a chapel, library, and lecture rooms and the other, a dormitory.
The site next to Bushnell Park, where Trinity College then stood, was deemed to be an ideal location to build a state house. So the trustees were persuaded to sell the entire campus to the city in 1872 for $600,000. The trustees moved the college to an 80-acre site on a ridge on the western edge of Hartford. Then-president Abner Jackson hired an English architect to draw up plans for an entire campus. Construction of the new campus was begun under the presidency of Thomas Ruggles Pynchon
In 1872, Trinity College was persuaded by the state to move from its downtown “College Hill” location (now Capitol Hill, site of the state capitol building) to its current 100-acre (40 ha) campus a mile southwest. Although the college sold its land overlooking the Park River and Bushnell Park in 1872, it did not complete its move to its Gallows Hill campus until 1878. The original plans for the Gallows Hill site were drawn by the noted Victorian architect William Burges but were too ambitious and too expensive to be fully realized. Only one section of the proposed campus plan, the Long Walk, was completed.
By 1889 the library contained 30,000 volumes, and the school boasted over 900 graduates. Enrollment reached 122 in 1892. President Remsen Ogilby (1920–43) enlarged the campus, and more than doubled the endowment. The faculty grew from 25 to 62, and the student body from 167 to 530 men. Under President Keith Funston (1943–51), returning veterans expanded the enrollment to 900.
In 1932, under President Remsen Ogilby, the Gothic chapel was completed and became the symbol of Trinity College. It replaced the Seabury chapel which had become too small for the student body.
The founding of the University of Hartford in 1957 allowed Trinity to focus on becoming a regional institution rather than a local one.
In 1962, Connecticut Public Television (CPTV) began its first broadcasts in the Trinity College Public Library, and later in Boardman Hall, a science building on campus.
In 1968 the trustees voted to withdraw from the Association of Episcopal Colleges.
Also in 1968, the trustees of Trinity College voted to make a commitment to enroll more minority students, providing financial aid as needed. This decision was preceded by a siege of the administrative offices in the Downes and Williams Memorial buildings during which Trinity students would not allow the president or trustees to leave until they agreed to the resolution