Handmaid’s Tale author Margaret Atwood and Trinity’s Coleen Grissom team up to fundraise for student scholarships
by Carla Sierra
In honor of a Trinity legend, Trinity University will be streaming “A Discussion of Life and Literature with Coleen Grissom and Margaret Atwood,” on Wednesday, May 8, at 11:30 a.m. This highly-anticipated online event will feature Grissom, a Trinity fixture for nearly six decades, along with Atwood, her longtime personal friend and the author of the Handmaid’s Tale.
To honor Grissom’s 58-year career with Trinity, this special online event can be viewed for a minimum donation of $58 benefitting the Coleen Grissom Endowed Scholarship, which has so far awarded nearly $90,000 to 17 deserving undergraduate students at Trinity.
Grissom began her career at Trinity in 1958 as head resident and counselor for the McFarlin dormitory residence. Her legacy began in earnest when former University President James Laurie offered her the post of associate dean of Student Life and assistant professor of English at a time when girls did not leave campus without “hats, heels, hose, and gloves,” says Grissom. Throughout this time, she has ignited a love of learning in her students, which inspired the creation of this scholarship.
In a recent interview with San Antonio Magazine, Grissom said she concludes each semester in her Trinity University English courses by gifting her students a book from her personal collection. A lifelong reader with a doctorate in English, Grissom retires this spring after nearly six decades with the University, which celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. Grissom says while she’s been giving away books for years, she still has a collection that takes up far more space in her Hill Country home than her four pets. “I loved introducing students to great literature, even if it’s difficult for them,” says Grissom, who names Margaret Atwood, John Updike, and Barbara Kingsolver among her many recommended authors.
In addition to her various roles at Trinity, Grissom has served annually as mistress of ceremonies for the Cancer Research and Therapy Center's primary fundraiser—Book and Author Luncheon—and has led weekly book discussions in literary excursions at the San Antonio Public Library Foundation annually. “I offer my services as speaker for other organizations whose work I value, such as the McNay Art Museum's ArtFULL Wednesdays, the Mission Road Ministries, Gemini Ink's galas, and the Assistance League of San Antonio,” Grissom says.