The hustle and bustle of the fall semester is upon us. New and continuing students have made their way back to campus to begin another academic year. Like most of you, I can feel their energy and enthusiasm; in fact, it fuels all of us to gear up for another riveting year. I have found that getting underway for this semester is easier than it would otherwise be since the momentum of previous years continues to propel us forward.
We begin this year from a position of strength and speed thanks to accomplishments ranging from the implementation of groundbreaking new initiatives; to improvements to facilities and the technological physical infrastructures of the campus; to the second largest fundraising year in our history. It sure feels good to reflect on some of these in greater detail:
- Last spring, we launched our new Tech and Trek initiative. It made Hiram the first four-year college in Ohio – and one of only a handful nationwide – to implement a 1:1 mobile technology program. As those on campus already know, the cornerstone of Tech and Trek is to promote mindful technology: teaching students how to creatively and critically use the devices to navigate the many treks that make up their undergraduate journey.
- Over the summer, we were able to make numerous technological and physical improvements to campus.
- Wifi has been strengthened in academic and residential facilities as well as indoor and outdoor recreational areas throughout campus.
- 30 classrooms have been upgraded with some of the latest instructional technologies.
- Residence hall lounges have been renovated, and we are repairing the Library’s roof and siding.
- Also this fall, the Hayden Auditorium will undergo additional upgrades, and the historic Garfield Robbins Zimmerman house will be painted.
- The College’s tennis courts were resurfaced and are ready for play.
- Our beloved Hiram Inn has two new innkeepers who are welcoming guests to enjoy some of the interior and exterior enhancements they made over the summer.
- Soon, we will see the installation of high-tech charging and water bottle filling stations in key spaces on campus.
All of the above were made possible thanks to the incredibly generous gifts that poured in during our two largest fundraising years in history (academic years 2015-16 and 2016-17). This commitment from our donors speaks volumes for the direction in which Hiram is headed.
Our successes have sparked a great many opportunities that can be leveraged in 2018 and beyond; and the Strategic Plan that was formulated over the last year and approved this summer will help us do exactly that. I invite you to read the Executive Summary of the plan that will soon be posted to this site. Feel free to share your reactions and suggestions with me.
Until then, let’s revel in the hope and optimism that are ushered in with the new academic year. More importantly, let’s model that hope and optimism in a world that can always use a little more of both.
Dr. Lori E. Varlotta