Presidential Inauguration

Greetings from the Trombley Family

The Inauguration of Laura Skandera Trombley

Nelson E. Trombley, Jr.

Son of Laura Skandera Trombley

Ladies and Gentleman, on behalf of the Trombley family, I would like to thank you all for coming today.

My name is Nelson Trombley, and I’m here today to say a few words about my mom, your new college President. As someone who has had the wonderful experience of graduating into a Covid ravaged job market, and then moving back home, and then moving to Georgetown with her, I’m uniquely qualified to shed some light on a day in the life of President Trombley.

First, let me say, that you shouldn’t expect her to act like your traditional college President. I know that during my time in undergrad, I’m pretty sure that I only saw the president of my university a grand total of five times. Rookie numbers, I know. With President Trombley, expect the opposite. On Monday mornings, as early as 7 am, you can find her walking the campus with a group of students, or faculty, or staff—sometimes a mash up of all three. Not for any reason in particular, just as a way of bringing together those who might not normally connect with each other. She loves to meet people outside of walls and offices; she loves to connect in and with the great outdoors. I may not be able to count the number of hikes we’ve taken together; but I remember all the conversations we had on those sometimes rocky trails. Now you’re a part of that Trombley family tradition, Southwestern, walking and talking, and finding connections along the way. 

Last year, as I looked for jobs and a place of my own to live

—Mom, did I just hear-“Thank God”?”— .

I started to notice other things about my mother, not necessarily new things, but in the shadow of my efforts to step out on my own, they suddenly looked new. Her baking for example. Surely, many of you have heard by now, my mother is a prolific baker: muffins, pies, pastries, cookies, you name it. She loves to put her skills to the test. At least once a week, she will bring fresh baked goods into her office—free for anyone who needs a snack. If you managed to wake up for her morning walk, you can expect her to provide you with something fresh from the oven when you’re done. She never wants any student to go to class on an empty stomach, and this is one of her ways of making sure, that even in college, you have someone watching out for you. When I was a child, and I found one of those cookies in my lunch, it felt like a hug from home. And that’s how she wants students to feel at Southwestern, cared for, special, and even at home. 

Finally, I’m going to move north for a moment. Namely to the AYSO, the American Youth Soccer Organization, of Iowa. At 5 years old, nobody explicitly told me the rules of soccer, but it didn’t stop Mom from encouraging me to play the game. I remember seeing her on the sidelines when we were playing a match, “match” being used loosely here to describe twenty kindergarteners running in a field. Suddenly, I was passed the ball, an altogether overwhelming experience as it was maybe the third time it had ever happened. I sprang into action, tearing off down the field, with no one around me. I could hear my mom cheering and cheering and cheering as I approached the goal; I kicked the ball, and I scored!

On myself.

I realized that I had disappointed the team, but all I could hear was my mom, cheering for me. Students, be ready to both see, and definitely hear, her at your games as she makes it a priority to get out, support, and encourage you to be your best at everything you attempt.

 So, students, why am I telling you all of this? Whether you’re ready or not, know that she is. Look for her at your games; she’ll be the loudest redhead in the stadium. Find her Monday mornings for a walk, a home-baked cookie, and an easy conversation. Reach out to her during office hours, because she’ll always try to do right by her students.

Thank you, Mom, for everything you’ve done for me—for the faith you’ve shown in me, for the unending support, and for cheering me, even if I sometimes kick the ball in the wrong direction.

And now welcome, Southwestern Community, to our family.