President Chema: Decade of Growth

A new Hiram College President, Thomas V. Chema, J.D., began his service in mid-2003.

In the years since then, the Board and the administrative team have never wavered from their strong commitment to the liberal arts in an interdisciplinary learning environment. To further strengthen that commitment, significant changes have occurred since 2003 that add to the total experience for students, faculty and staff.

Those changes span the student body, academic programs, facilities, development and more.

Take a look back a the past decade of accomplishments at Hiram College.

Student Body

  • Increased traditional enrollment  from 730 to 1,000-plus while maintaining intimate education environment
  • Maintained admission standards of 23 average ACT score and 3.26 average high school GPA
  • Continued tradition of admitting new classes with more than 40 percent first generation college students
  • Increased percentage of minority students to 15 percent


  • Protected and expanded James H. Barrow Field Station
  • Expanded the lower campus, adding the following new buildings: dining hall, townhouse complex, East Hall and the Les and Cathy Coleman Sports, Recreation and Fitness Center
  • Installed solar panels at Coleman Center, resulting in significant energy savings


  • Designated seven Centers of Distinction
  • Created the new academic programs, including nursing and a master of arts in interdisciplinary studies (MAIS)
  • Took initial steps to offer distance and blended learning and adult education opportunities
  • Recruited more than 40 scholars for full-time classroom teaching positions


  • Installed new synthetic turf and outdoor stadium lights on Charles A. Henry Field
  • Added men's and women's lacrosse, increasing number of varsity sports to 14
  • Won NCAC championships in softball and volleyball
  • Increased athletics fundraising by 75 percent
  • Built Myrtis Herndon Field for women's softball team


  • Raised more than $53 million since 2003, thanks to generous donors
  • Received more than 100 gifts of at least six figures
  • Increased Hiram Fund annual giving by 50 percent to more than $16 million total in that time frame
  • Nearly doubled Alumni Weekend attendance, from less than 400 attendees to more than 750.


  • Built wireless campus internet access to provide coverage in all academic buildings and residence halls
  • Created Mobile Hiram applications on phones and devices
  • Installed technology to expand the classroom beyond four walls
  • Implemented online systems for classwork, student information and grading
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A Champion of Growth

Tom Chema’s accomplishments at Hiram College are well known, but he was no stranger to Hiram when he became president having served as a voting member of the Hiram College Board of Trustees for 11 years and chairing the Institutional Advancement Committee.

He brought to the Hiram presidency more than 30 years of experience in business, government, and law.

A native of East Liverpool, Ohio, Chema was a 1968 graduate of the University of Notre Dame and a 1971 Cum Laude graduate of Harvard Law School.

He began his career with the Cleveland-based law firm of Arter & Hadden in 1971 and became a partner in 1979. He took a leave of absence in 1983 to serve as Executive Director of the Ohio Lottery Commission. In 1985, he was asked to become Chairman of the Ohio Public Utilities Commission.

In 1990, he was appointed Executive Director of the Gateway Economic Development Corporation and was responsible for overseeing the public/private partnership that led to the financing and construction of Jacobs Field and Gund Arena in Cleveland.

Learn more about President Chema