Barbara Janney Trimble '60 has seen the College from a considerable range of perspectives: club president, key class collector, chairman of the Friends of the Library, Resources committee Chairman, Centennial Chairman, member of the Board of Trustees since 1977 and its secretary for the past 10 years. Defining what has made Bryn Mawr such an irresistible focus for her energies, she confesses to "unchecked pride in the excellence of its academic and ethical standards, the beauty of its campus, and the qualities of its people, among whom tedium is unknown."
"Bryn Mawr challenges people to take on responsibilities and perform at levels beyond their imaginings. You see this not only with students, but faculty, administrators, staff, and alumnae/i. Although some of us are from time to time intimidated by such expectations, on the whole, we are moved forward, supported in our work, and endlessly educated so that we can do a decent job. I do not know of any place that prods all its people along so effectively. It is not a competitive sort of challenge; it is the College community demonstrating a belief in people that persuades them to adopt and meet very high standards.
"Another long-held Bryn Mawr practice is to foster independence, respect for individuality, and a certain rare disdain for conformity that acts, I think, like an elixir for the exceptional people who come here from situations where conformity was often neither comfortable nor desirable. The latitude for students to be themselves is liberating. It is a tradition that produces students, and ultimately, alumnae/i who cheerfully defy characterization beyond their shared intelligence and integrity. All this independence comes at no sacrifice to the community, which, in fact, exists around the notion of supporting it."
Trimble does not see herself as a pioneer in her new role as chair, but as "a link to what has been going on at Bryn Mawr - its history, culture and complex workings - which will surely be the foundation of whatever future we build." She hopes to provide continuity through the transition period while encouraging the new president's vision and initiatives for women's education in the coming generation."
Art and gardening are particular joys in her life. "I had wanted after high school to go to art school," she said. "My father, whose opinions I respected enormously, pointed out that it's easy to go to college, change your mind and transfer to art school, but not the other way around. He suggested that I go to college. So, I came to Bryn Mawr, of which my father highly approved because he had served on a school board with Annie Leigh Broughton, '30, M.A. '36, long-time director of admissions at Bryn Mawr. I loved it, and I never did go to art school.
"It wasn't until I got past the age of 50 that I thought, 'There's no excuse at this stage not to do the things you particularly want to do.' I joined a wonderful group of women who paint all day, out-of-doors, once a week with excellent direction from a Maryland Institute landscape teacher.
"The landscapes I am painting are ones that I have lived with all my life. It's rather hard to articulate what one's trying to accomplish with one's painting without sounding really ridiculous. If one could talk about it, one mightn't need to paint it. I hope to express my own depth of pleasure in and connection to familiar places, because the doing of it reinforces that connection and perhaps communicates it enjoyably to others."
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