The Early Days
Norma Kennedy (Bodin, ’69) attended Trinity Western (then-called Trinity Junior College) at a time when the school was just starting to discover itself. She came up from Washington State after hearing about Trinity from a high school friend.
Kennedy had become a Christian in high school, so the idea of going to a Christian college to build up her faith was appealing. She didn’t know much about Trinity at the time but enrolled on the recommendation of her friend.
The first time she saw the campus was the day her parents dropped her off for the fall semester.
“In 1966, there really wasn’t much more than the dairy farm it started as,” says Kennedy. “I actually lived in one of those logger cabins the first year. There was the Chapel, the Arts and Science building, and the Library. That was basically it.”
“I look back on it now and wonder what my mom was thinking when she drove away leaving me there at the rustic-looking campus, knowing that I wouldn’t come home again until Christmas,” says Kennedy with a laugh.
There was certainly some fear associated with leaving her home country and studying at such a small, private school in Canada. But as Kennedy reflects back on that period of time and the way many college kids in the US were swept up in protests and new movements in the late 60’s, she is certain Trinity Junior College was where she needed to be.
“As a brand new baby Christian who had no concepts, I really think the Lord protected and nurtured me in the two and a half years I spent there,” says Kennedy. “I had a chance to grow my roots. Had I gone anywhere else in those tumultuous years, I think I could have easily been swayed away.”
One of the best parts of her time at Trinity Junior College was the lifelong friendships she developed.
“I’ve stayed connected with my alumni friends and I enjoy travelling with several other women who were my dorm mates all those years ago,” Kennedy shares.
In addition to maintaining friendships with other alumni, she also connected with quite a few faculty and staff. “A lot of the professors weren’t a whole lot older than us students,” says Kennedy. “As the years have gone by, we all just stayed friends. When we all get together, many of the professors and staff get together with us.”
This sense of campus community left a profound impact on Kennedy’s life and is one of the main reasons why she’s excited to be involved in leadership with the Alumni Association today.
Even though much has changed in the time since Kennedy was a student, she and her friends have determined to stay involved, and often make trips back to reconnect.
“I like the atmosphere when I’m there. I like to walk around campus and talk with the students or professors,” says Kennedy. “It’s always encouraging to me.”
In addition to personal visits and reunions, Kennedy is grateful to have been involved in many organizational and administrative initiatives, such as a Cal Hanson Year’s Reunion in 1996, the 50th Year Anniversary, and supporting the Hanson Garden Chapel.
“When they determined the chapel couldn’t be saved, myself and a number of people from those early years worked diligently to make sure there was something on campus that represented the heart of Trinity, which is Jesus Christ,” says Kennedy.
Joining the Alumni Association Board
“I’ve worked with every alumni director that’s been at Trinity. I’ve known every President,” says Kennedy. “I’m more encouraged right now by the way the Alumni Association is organized and administrated than I have ever been. I probably wouldn’t have even submitted my name [to join the Alumni Association board] if I hadn’t felt so strongly about the direction, organization, and administration of the Alumni Association at this point in Trinity’s history.”
Though deeply discouraged by the outcome of the Supreme Court Case in the Spring of 2018, Kennedy says she knows that Trinity Western isn’t changing its beliefs and that God hasn’t stopped working on behalf of the school.
“In every decade and every season that I’ve seen, there’s been a challenge. There’s always been and probably always will be. When you live long enough, you see things come and go. There are cycles and seasons, but God doesn’t change. God is faithful. He is on the throne, and this is His school,” says Kennedy.
More than anything, she hopes fellow alumni remain optimistic. “Trinity is still, in my understanding, developing wonderful Christian leaders and people that are going out into the culture and standing strong.”
Kennedy is excited to use her experiences as a leader in the Alumni Association and hopes to be a part of the many wonderful things she is certain God is doing both on campus and beyond.