Trent Day

Share Your Trent Day Story

No matter where our paths take us, our Trent stories always bring us together! Perhaps you’ve got an amazing Excalibur moment to share, a highlight from res life, or a fond memory of how you met your sweetheart. Send us your Trent memories, stories, and photos, then tune in as we share them on Trent Day. 

To submit myTrent stories:
- By email,
- By mail, c/o Alumni House (1600 West Bank Drive, Peterborough, ON K9L 0G2)

Barbara Znamirowski"I’ve been a member of the Trent community for over 40 years and I’m proud to philanthropically support students and celebrate Trent spirit on Trent Day. As Librarian Emerita I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to build the MaDGIC Unit in Bata Library, enabling our talented team to support so many students as they achieve their research and scholarly goals! Happy Trent Day!"

- Barbara Znamirowski - Retiree

Image of travel trailer

"In the summer of 2018, after spending the early part of the summer preparing a motorhome for northern travel, we set off on a 9-week, 17,000 km drive across the northern parts of Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and BC, as well as the Northwest Territories and the Yukon. We ended up at the edge of the Arctic Ocean at Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories. To say that northern roads are challenging is probably an understatement.

We stopped at many National and Provincial Parks, Museums, and Visitor Centres across the north. On hot days, which were most days until we left Dawson City, I wore a Trent polo shirt. In so many places I met students, graduates, alumni, and parents of Trent students that I lost count. It was an immediate icebreaker and led to many conversations and the occasional eyeroll from my wife and navigator. More than our cute 5 kg dog produced!"

- Denis Desjardins '76, Traill College

"I would like to thank you so much for organizing the opportunity to volunteer at Casey House, Toronto on Tuesday 04 April 2023. We went to a community area to participate in assembling harm reduction kits which was the task mentioned by Trent as our volunteer job. I was later able to volunteer as a companion visitor, and was privileged and honoured to have a nearly two hour visit with a young inpatient who spoke Spanish. Seeing as I speak fluent Spanish, I was able to hold space for, and understand, the outpouring of his lived experience ranging from deep distress and grief to laughter and hope. This was one of the most meaningful and treasured experiences of my life."

- Melanie Baker ‘18 Trent in Durham

Image of Douglas Morrison

"Just prepping for my monthly Habitat for Humanity Family Services Committee meeting in my new Trent cap. Thanks for sending it on!"

- Douglas Morison ‘77 Otonabee

Image of Janie Kelly

"Here is a picture of Trent Alumni at Cuddles for Cancer. The very first recipient of a cuddles blanket is a Trent Alumni. She was only 13 when she received her inaugural blanket.

Today the Cuddles dedicated volunteers made approximately 15 blankets. Four Trent Alumni joined (Janie Kelly, Krystalyn Jones, Kate Allen and Sherry Booth (not in picture)) Six of the completed blankets will be delivered to the family that suffered such a terrible tragedy on Woodglade Blvd 2 weeks ago. We were honored to be able to assist in this small, heartfelt gesture."

- Janie Kelly ‘81 Peter Robinson

Image of Mark McLennen

"I did my Trent Day project today.
Susan and I volunteer with Meals on Wheels here in Woodstock.
We deliver once or twice a week.
I include a picture from today's route.
Best wishes to alumni everywhere.
It has been a long time since I graduated, but still have lots of memories from my Trent days. [I also have lost some memories, if I ever in fact, had them. :)
It is a pleasure to remember Trent annually in this way."

- The Rev. Mark McLennan ’72 Champlain

Image of Sue Robinson

"Happy Trent University Alumni Day of Service!
Thanks to Trent and the Alumni team for organizing Day of Service and giving us a way to give back to the communities we live in, all around the world!

Great to be a part of it. Just finished my 5 km route of roadside cleanup. Garbage all bagged up and can be seen behind me! Happy Trent Day!"

- Sue Robinson - Retiree

Image of Brenda Sedgwick

"What stands out as my best memories from my years attending Trent University is my work history. Several professors and administration department directors invested in my insight. Adverse life experiences had taught me that which most students only learned from texts or the testimonies of others – like me. Professors would tell me, “You’re different in special and important ways.” And I would be two decades older before I truly understood their views. 

I remember with fondness the ladies in the Accounts Office. They’d call me in from the top floor of the Bata Library Administration Building: “We have another opportunity for you. Professors are calling, looking for you, specifically.”  

I gained a wealth of knowledge, skill, and networking competence through diverse employment opportunities with Trent professors, such as Dr. Roy Bowles, Dr. Lee Beach, Dr. Sandy Lockhart, and Dr. Frank Nutch; and also, later, with administration offices such as the Alumni and Development Office, Trent International Program, and the President’s Office. During my second year in a Master’s Program at Carleton University, after graduating from Trent with an Honours B.A., Trent recruited me as a teaching assistant and then promoted me into the ranks of sessional instructor.  

My years studying and working at Trent opened the floodgates to my ability to overcome a legacy of adversity. Trent equipped me to understand adversity and package it into prosperity, through social enterprise development, for myself and the broader communities of my affiliation. Trent’s investment in my learning, through applied projects, employment opportunities, and mentorship – coupled with their word-of-mouth promotion of my insight, initiative, and inspiring nature, led me into many enriching career advancement opportunities. 

In addition to financing what parts of my undergraduate education weren’t covered by varied scholarship, grants, and OSAP, these were opportunities that built and crystallized my personal and professional networks. Today, I continue leveraging my ability to learn in my multifaceted career. I am a regulated health professional, a Registered Psychotherapist; and I am a certified addictions counsellor. I am affirmed as a clinical supervisor by Ontario Association of Mental Health Professionals (OAMHP). I serve a role in quality assurance on a statutory committee with the regulatory authority for the psychotherapy profession in Ontario. I’ve established a growing private practice corporation as a retirement plan and a side-gig. I provide employment and professional development opportunities for 4 employees. I am also employed in a corporate portfolio within a public service environment. In the volunteer sector, I am President of a developmental services non-profit and charitable institution. I can say that my Trent experience empowered me to discover my Ikigai. 

And, for all of this, I am grateful for my Trent experience, and the memories created, for my resilience."

- Brenda Sedgwick ’83, Traill College

"Some people claim their best years were in high school. How could that be? I ask myself, remembering the dorky mixed parties we were allowed to go to, the painfully awkward dates we were told to accept with people you could not talk to let alone dance with. In fact, the present should always be our best years. But if I'm playing this game (the best years of our lives) I must admit that a nostalgic return to my university days would be my idea of heaven. And that's in large part because I am still in those years: socializing regularly with the same core group of amazing people I met at Peter Robinson College 51 years ago. These people -- editors, foresters, property managers, teachers, bus drivers, car salespeople -- take turns organizing gatherings at Trent once a year. Partners come along too because they just happen to fit like a glove with this group.  

Is this a coincidence? I don't think so. Most of them think they went to Trent -- or if they didn't, wish they did. Thank you, Trent! 

What is our secret? That’s easy: we keep it simple. We go for walks on campus, check out our grad pics in Lady Eaton, and visit our now defunct college grounds where we reminisce about midnight squash games and romantic trysts (followed by last call at the Jolly Hangman). At dinner, prizes are given out for completely useless talents, or strange personality traits. It feels like the Oscars when you are chosen. (Everyone is chosen). There's plenty of gossip about who is living where, with whom, who slept with whom in first year, and how those seemingly surprising pairings of friends back then turned into lifelong relationships.  

That was just the way Trent was. People could be who they wanted to be -- or at the very least discover who that was. Thank you, Trent! 

Trent was where I learned not what to think, but how to think: about different interpretations and understandings: of history, politics, religion, good writing, sure. But also of beauty, love, truth. The BIG stuff. Through reading, writing, viewing, debating through literature, music, and participating in theatre, rational discussion, and heated argument, I learned about what I believed and why. I had expected seminars on rhyme and reason, but not these passionate discussions about things that really mattered. We were having fun and we were learning a lot.  

How did this happen? Some would say it was just good luck; others that our generation was ready for a change of style -- and content. Thank you, Trent, for that. For choosing the kind of people to teach me – people I could connect with, grow, and learn from. Many of these became friends over time as well. And thank you for choosing students I could respect and admire and love, who taught me other ways of thinking and doing. 

Why Trent?  

When I was 17 and pondering my university selection, our next-door neighbour put an oar into the conversation. He was working in the Registrar's office at the time and was convinced I would love Trent. I wasn't sure and so I decided to visit the three universities I had applied to (Western, Queen's and Trent). Queens first. Many friends from many facets of my life were already there or planning to go. But Queen's fell hard and fast. The focus of the conversation during my visit was entirely to do with an upcoming dance -- who was going with who? What were you going to wear? Was so and so still going out with so and so? I was completely put off. So, I headed up to Trent as soon as I could, where a friend from Grade 8 was beginning her second year. She was living in residence at PR and had several friends (male and female) she wanted me to meet. There they were as I arrived, waiting on the grassy quad surrounded by the famous PR townhouses -- close to the college bar (The Jolly Hangman) and the squash court. We chatted about I know not what, grabbed dinner in the Main Lodge's cafeteria and that was about it. But "it" felt natural, men and women interacting as adults. Funny, friendly, occasionally goofy but intelligent adults. This was a place where I could belong. I felt comfortable in my own skin. It felt like coming home. (I never did make it to Western). As far as I could tell Trent had created a home away from home for several funny, endearing, smart young people -- mostly male -- who treated female friends as friends. That was important to me at the time. I am still close and fond of all of them. And though we don't always talk about our shared values of learning in a collegiate setting rather than a lecture hall; inclusion, tolerance, giving back – and a liberal arts education – we all strive to live those values, and have a lot of fun together at the same time.  

Thank you, Trent, for providing an environment that fostered these values and still does."

- Heather Birchall ’72, Peter Robinson College

"At Trent University, I studied Canadian history, literature, and Native Studies, as it was then called.  While at Lady Eaton College, the author Margaret Laurence became the Writer in Residence.  I was privileged to attend informal discussions that she had with the students.  I was not a writer myself, but I was enthralled by her talks.  By the time I graduated Margaret Laurence was the Chancellor of the University.  In my living room is a framed photo of me wearing my gown and shaking her hand as I graduated.  Every time I look at the picture, I remember my happy times at Trent University."

- Jane Finlay ’80, Lady Eaton College


Mark Q for Trent Day news stories

"I often look back upon my time at Trent as such a formative space in my development. It was an incredible opportunity to be able to give back through the Trent Day of Service and hear the stories of other alumni who were also impacted in such a positive way during their time at Trent. 

I feel that connecting with others was one of the most important values I took away from my Trent experience, which is why I was so excited to participate in the Trent Day event."

- Mark Quattrocchi '08, Champlain College

Theresa Bickle for Trent Day 2022

"So many fond memories from my time on pub staff at Otonabee.  Whether it was a Thursday night where we converted the cafeteria into the Cat’s Ass or tending bar for Wildside Weekend, I loved being a part of the party!  Kept my t-shirts to wear on occasion to remind me of the good times and even better friendships made."

- Theresa Bickle '93, Otonabee College


Rachel Smylie for Trent Day Stories 2022

“When I first entered residence at Gzowski College, I immediately knew the people I had met would become lifelong friends. My family in 6 South and I built so many memories together, one of which included tobagganing in the winter time and never missing a late night chat in the Common Room. From meeting these awesome peers I had the chance to get involved with orientation week, the TCSA, and continue to make so many memories throughout my time at Trent that I will cherish forever. I will forever be a proud Trent and Gzowski alum.”

- Rachel Smylie '16, Gzowski College

Lisa Price for Trent Day 2022

"I have this reoccurring nightmare (yes nightmare) every so often, especially when I am feeling overwhelmed. The dream consists of me having a month left in my undergrad and I haven’t attended a specific class. I log in to check my grade and realize I have a thesis due the next day. If I don’t complete it, I won’t graduate.

I always wake up in an absolute panic and still think that this moment is real.

Today, I’m posting this to remind myself that this very busy time has come and gone. I miss it dearly sometimes but more importantly, it’s a reminder that I can do hard things. I can do the hard things and actually do them with success. Is this the outcome every time? No. But it’s not always a failure either.

So here’s a reminder that on Wednesday 3rd June 2010 at 9am I got my very expensive paper and a year later on Thursday 3rd June 2011 I got the second one. Note to self: you have an article deadline for April 1st. GET GOING!

PS: @tomjacksononline is the best and told me he loved me… along with a lot of other people."

- Lisa Price '06, Champlain College

"It’s hard to write about one sole memory to capture the essence from those beloved days at PRC.  Was it meeting Professor THB Symons during the introductory week dinner at Sadleir House?  Or listening to Professor Wernick play the piano in the dining hall during Jazz Goes To College? Was it all the friends and colleagues, like minded in our desire to really live our undergraduate university days.  Learning, debating, hanging out at The Hangman listening to poetry or experimenting musicians playing mainly for the pure joy of it all.  Was it John Muir at Trent Radio tuning us all in to a wider community of Trent and Peterborough?  What about Professors Milloy, Hodgins, Wadland and Syrett always keen to discuss Canadian history, politics or the state of the colleges?  Or was it student cabinet, getting involved in the latest activist campaign for better university funding or human rights in Central America?  What about the squash court, where we played at all hours taking out our pent up frustration during exams to pummel one another on the court? Scholastics, community, athletics, activism, romance PRC had it all wrapped up in one small but mighty college at the corner of George and Parkhill streets near downtown Peterborough. Those were the days."

- Thomas Miller '82, Peter Robinson College

Image of Fireplace for Andrea M for Trent Day 2022

"I stopped by one of my favourite places. Trent was the first place I ever felt like I was at home. I wouldn’t have made it through my early 20s without the kindness of strangers. As hard as those years were, I was lucky enough to have access to support. If you are one of those people, thank you!"

"I found my tutorial room from my first year. I lived in that residence and was almost late every week. I literally spent two years in the library and it’s nice to see how little has changed. Although, my old office was turned into a design room. I used to hide in these spots often and break down. Honestly, I’m still shocked I got through those years."

- Andrea Mazzocchi '07, Trent University Durham GTA

 Otonabee Staircase by Denis Desjardins for Trent Day 2022 stories"It was unheard of for French-Canadian (as they were then called) catholics of the rural regions of eastern Ontario, where my parents originated, to think of university. First and foremost, grade 13 was not funded by the provincial government until 1969. Rural separate schools might not even offer it. Trent’s founding president, Tom Symons, played a crucial role in changing that, and I was the first in my family to complete grade 13 and go to university. I worked for a year and half to save money for my education as it was not a decision endorsed by my parents. Clearly, I was rebellious. 

And I obviously hung around the wrong crowd in high school. While I was working, one friend was at the University of Ottawa and would become a professional orchestral musician and teacher, another at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland would get a master’s degree in philosophy, and my best friend was studying in Lausanne Switzerland, and would earn a PHD and teach at McGill in the Faculty of Engineering.
I was feeling good about my decision to go to Trent and about what I had learned travelling and working for a developer that summer. I had planned on taking the bus from Ottawa to Peterborough, but a friend of a friend offered me a ride to campus. We brave five were stuffed like pork sausages in a meat tray in a sweltering subcompact car without air-conditioning, for a 3 ½ hour journey, with me, the last-minute addition, getting the hump seat in the back, with my backpack on my lap and a box of books under my feet. It was the same backpack that I had used to tour Europe that summer, a gift from my employer, so I was travelling light. I arrived at Otonabee College looking somewhat worse for wear!

After settling into my residence room on the third floor of D House and introducing myself to other people on my floor, I walked down to the dining hall for dinner. After dinner, I went for a stroll to explore the campus. It was my first time in Peterborough, and I had only seen pictures of the campus in Trent’s Academic Calendar. Between travelling and working full-time, I had not had the time to come for a tour.

Coming up the stairs to the Faryon Bridge, I felt a brief moment of puzzlement, a disturbance in the force, to borrow a phrase. The sun was setting in the wrong place! It was setting behind the drumlin, and not on the river.

If you live for a while in places like the west-end of Ottawa and Montreal North, you become aware of your place in space, relative to their rivers – the Ottawa River and the Rivière des Prairies in my case. Both rivers are located to the north and run generally from west to east. The sun sets upriver. It took me a second to realize that the Otonabee River ran north to south.
Funny how your mind interprets what you see to fit what you’ve previously experienced. It was the first of many discoveries I would enjoy over the next years."

- Denis Desjardins '76, Traill College

"I took a third-year history course on the history of the Soviet Union with Prof. Olga Andriewsky. On the first day of class, she organized us into pairs for a picture to help her memorize our names. She paired me with a nursing major, Mikayla. I did not know it then, but she and I would be very good friends from then on.

Some of my best memories are from courses or lectures taught by Prof. Carolyn Kay. I came into Trent with the knowledge that if I wanted to study history it would be modern German history. Her classes were something that I always looked forward to. The main reason why I decided to stick with a History major instead of a Chemistry major was because of her support and compassion as a teacher. I cannot stress enough the positive impact that she has had on my professional career and my personal life as well. To this day, I still remain in touch with her."

- Ana Villegas '17, Lady Eaton College

Vickie Albrecht for Trent Day 2022 story"My name is Vickie Albrecht and have a been a staff member at Trent for a little less than a year.  My Trent journey started in 2002 when I applied and got accepted to an undergraduate program; however, I decided to go to a different university, but my experience and Trent's reputation was such a positive one that it made an impression.  Fast forward nearly two decades and we're in the middle of the pandemic, I was looking for a change and saw a position at Trent's Durham Campus. My cousin is a recent alumnus from Trent's Durham Campus so I asked about their experience and whether they thought it might be good fit for me.

Fast forward to March 2021, when I accepted the position of Manager, Durham Campus Library & Learning Centre but little did I know that I would be working remotely for the first two months of working at Trent.  A new job, new institution and working remotely!  If it wasn't for the support and community, I felt at Trent right away I might have not been up to the challenge.  Thus, when I finally was able to come in-person to the Durham Campus where I work, I was super happy and had to take photos of the momentous occasion (see attached). To summarize, I never thought that I would have a two-decade journey that would bring me to Trent University."

- Vickie Albrecht, Staff, Trent University Durham GTA

Bern Kelly in front of a snowy mountainMy roommate Pat Kenney and I decided to introduce ourselves to the two girls next door to our room on the third floor of Sadlier House. When we knocked, we were invited in by a shout of, “Come on in. It’s open”.  One girl, Kathy Black, was at her desk putting things away and the other girl, Janie Welch was standing on a bed putting up a black velvet poster of a naked man and woman embracing.  I didn’t know it at the time, but I would fall in love and marry that girl!” 

- Bern Kelly ‘82, Peter Robinson College