Our History


Academy Foundation

The Trinity Fellows Academy was founded as the Trinity Forum Academy in 2001 with the vision to “contribute to the transformation and renewal of society” through the transformation and renewal of future leaders. This mission grew from the vision of The Trinity Forum, an organization dedicated to reaching out to established leaders in all sectors of society to consider and act on the most important ideas and issues in our culture today. Since its inception, the Academy has graduated 168 alumni who are now serving as committed leaders throughout the country.

The founding Chairman, Bob Kramer (a trustee of The Trinity Forum, Annapolis business owner, former Maryland state legislator, and former minister), Trinity Forum trustee Ann Holladay, and Trinity Forum Senior Fellow Dr. Os Guinness shared a number of values that inspired them to form the Academy. These values included living a life wholly committed to Christ, investing in young leaders through education, building close relationships with like-minded friends and colleagues, and seriously considering and reflecting on the most important ideas of our time. The notion of a Christian community pursuing a deep understanding of faith and culture was particularly inspired by time spent by the founders at Francis Schaeffer’s L’Abri community in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

With these principles in mind, an opportunity to secure a campus at Osprey Point became available in 2000. Osprey Point, formerly known as a Cedar Point Farm, had for some time served as a place for spiritual retreat for leaders. Through the generosity of Paul and Terry Klaassen and the J1:27 Foundation, the property was purchased and prepared for a first class of Fellows.

In the winter of 2001, five pioneer Fellows came to serve at the Osprey Point Retreat and Conference Center under the leadership of founding director Ryan Messmore and his wife Karin. Since 2001, the Academy has graduated 15 classes of Fellows and has grown to include a new library facility and Scholar in Residence program. Academy alumni are now beginning to serve in influential positions in a range of disciplines around the country and are forming a network of Christians committed to each other and to serving our society with integrity, creativity and excellence.

The Trinity Forum remained the parent organization of the Academy until December 2015. It was then agreed that as of January 2016, the Academy would become its own independent organization, the Trinity Fellows Academy, in order to better establish its distinct identity and mission.

Academy Directors

  • Ryan Messmore (2001–2006)
  • Dr. David Norman (2006–2009)
  • Grady Powell (2009–2014)
  • Dr. Syman Stevens (2014–Present)

Past Board Members (Trinity Forum Academy)

  • Katie Roland Allen
  • Hartwell and Carolyn Gardner
  • Cherie Harder
  • Rodney Knowles, III
  • John Mathis
  • Ursula Meese
  • Jeanne Mowrey
  • David Turner