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Changing Lives Through Giving

Friday, August 30, 2019
collage showing 1869 Challenge logo

Trinity’s 1869 Challenge has lasting impact

by Jeremy Gerlach

Trinity’s annual 1869 Challenge lasts just 1,869 minutes, but the University is still feeling the profound impact the entire Tiger family made in 2018.

Together, you shattered previous Challenge records by contributing nearly 2,900 gifts—surpassing the University’s goal of 1,869 gifts—and helping to raise $526,365. The bottom line: If you donated, no matter the amount, you made history.

Most of your donations go to student funds and scholarships, which enables Trinity to bring the best and brightest students to campus, regardless of background. See how your gifts are changing both these students’ lives and their communities.


Supported by last year’s gifts, departments such as computer science, psychology, chemistry, and biology are able to send students to present their research at conferences across the nation and the world. The department of mathematics has even been able to launch an interdisciplinary research project that’s tackling partisan gerrymandering.

The engineering department now maintains a state-of-the-art machine shop, where students of all backgrounds and interests can unleash their creativity and innovation. The department has also sponsored several service-learning projects for local charity organizations and human rights organizations. The English department is able to provide vital experiential learning and publishing opportunities for Trinity students, while the classical studies department has been able to fund trips for students to see productions of classical theater.

The department of human communication and theatre was even able to have a guest artist-in-residence from Milan, Italy, who taught students mask-making and commedia dell’arte. This international flair extends to the department of political science, which continues to send students on impactful study away courses at The Hague, the former Yugoslavia, and Germany. 

And the sociology and anthropology department are able to entirely fund the Mike Kearl Award for Aspiring Sociologists and the John Donahue Award for Social Justice.

The John Donahue Award for Social Justice is named in honor of esteemed anthropologist and Trinity professor John Donahue, who wanted to share the marvels of different cultures with his students, and encouraged students to study abroad. 


More than 23 percent of Tigers participate in varsity sports. These scholar-athletes balance a competitive sports schedule with the academic rigor of a Trinity education.

The programs need discretionary funds for travel and extra equipment. And the 1869 Challenge directly supports these competitors in countless ways. The women’s volleyball program is using donations from last year to provide a salary for beloved assistant coach, Brad Bulycz, who’s been tirelessly providing his expertise and guidance to the team on a volunteer basis for a decade! Men's basketball is now able to subsidize a trip to Europe every three years, making the invaluable, international excursion affordable for all players. And men’s soccer has been able to purchase heart monitors, improving their high-tech approach to training and conditioning.

When you donate to the 1869 Challenge, you’re not just giving to Trinity. You’re donating through Trinity, directly empowering the student experience through scholarships, funds and invaluable opportunities and impacting our community and the world.

To continue this great work, get a head start by visiting the 1869 Challenge website at or mark your calendars for the 2019 Challenge itself, starting at 5 p.m. CDT on September 18.