Lori E. Varlotta, Ph.D.,
President, Hiram College
The last year has been an exceptionally productive one for Hiram College. The things we have accomplished together in twelve months would have taken much longer at most other institutions. If we reflect on just a few of the milestones we have reached this year, we can easily take pride in our collective efforts.
Over the last year, we made great progress in the financial area. To be specific, we significantly strengthened the College’s financial position with the successful refinance of our long-term debt. After earning a positive rating from the Standard and Poor’s rating agency, we partnered with the Ohio Higher Education Facility Commission to issue a $26.6 million dollar tax-exempt bond package.
Meanwhile, members of the faculty, staff, and administration worked closely to reconstitute our shared governance system. The new structure is a comprehensive one that more fully engages the entire campus. This “reboot” took a single semester: a nanosecond in the life of most colleges and universities.
Within a similar time frame, constituents from all corners of the campus developed and launched three new academic initiatives — Hiram Connect, Hiram Health, and Hiram Complete — that differentiate us from colleges near and far. These initiatives will elevate the profile of Hiram’s already-strong liberal arts reputation to ensure our success in an increasingly competitive field.
Pleased with the strides we are making, alumni, trustees, and other donors offered tremendous support, helping us record one of the best fall fundraising terms in recent history. During the first five months of the 2016 academic year, Hiram brought in more than $6 million in cash and pledges. These gifts will strengthen our financial standing and increase our scholarship offerings at the very same time.
Couple these rather extraordinary accomplishments with the everyday efforts that all members of this campus put forth and you can see why we say “there is something very special at Hiram College.” Hiram brings education to life by being a real place with real people, real opportunities, and just enough real challenges to keep us on our toes. The education we provide in our small classrooms and out in the field, via our guided research projects and study away trips, is stronger and more meaningful than what I have seen in most other places.
Indeed, Hiram’s academic mission is brought to life day-in and day-out by the tremendous efforts of the whole. Here, everyone rolls up their sleeves to work together, help each other, and strive for "a common good." Interestingly, yet non-conformably, the common good at Hiram is shaped by vastly unique faculty, staff, students, and alumni, who are finding and becoming their best selves while helping others do the same. There is real magic to a common good that grows out of individual uniqueness, rather than one that is born of a conformist community.
As we invite prospective students to visit campus and encourage our own sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, and friends to consider this gem on the hill, let's work even harder to highlight how our past positions us to become the type of contemporary liberal arts college that others wish to emulate. Our original name, the "Western Reserve Eclectic Institute," still aptly describes who we are today and what makes us so strong. Let's honor that name by continuing to bring to life the characteristics and values associated with such a powerful moniker.
Dr. Lori E. Varlotta