Dear faculty, staff, and students,
I am so pleased that the campus is once again buzzing with activity and people. As I make my way from building to building this first week, I am struck by an interesting observation I have noticed: the faculty seem to be bustling about, in fairly quick pace. The students, however, seem to be sauntering along, often with earbuds in place, getting into the groove. I wonder what, if anything, this (somewhat generalized) difference signals?
As I do my own hustle on the hill, I am enjoying some of the events and programs that mark this year’s opening. Just yesterday, a group of us came together for the dedication ceremony of the refurbished Hayden Auditorium in Bates Hall. The short program allowed us to give thanks to a member of our own Hiram family, Christine Kohls, executive director of corporate, foundation and government relations, who worked methodically behind the scenes to get this project in front of government officials who could help us garner state support. Ohio State Senator John Eklund was one of the leaders with whom Hiram partnered, and he sure did serve us well. Senator Eklund championed this project at the legislative level, and with his help we were able to secure $260,000 in state appropriations for the project. If you have not yet seen the handsome and comfortable seats, the extended stage, and the newly painted interior, go check it out. These renovations really make Hayden Auditorium an aesthetically pleasing classroom and performance space.
I also enjoyed being a part of the New Student Institute that unfolded last week. Professor Paul Gaffney delivered a very interesting presentation on the 165-year history of Hiram College that helped us understand our past and imagine our future. If you haven’t seen it, I suggest you ask him for a copy. Meeting our entering class during the Institute and hearing about several of the things that makes this class special was a great way for me to kickstart the year.
As we gear up and then buckle down for the year before us, let’s pledge to work together for the good of Hiram College. Let us continue to be good friends, colleagues, and classmates to those who also call Hiram “home.” Let’s be generous enough to give each other the benefit of the doubt when we hear things that may not be fully understood at the time. Let’s be honest with each other when we appear to be at odds. Let’s seek to listen and understand even when it is difficult to keep an open mind. I know we can do these kinds of things and be those kinds of people. I have seen it over and over during my first year as President. These efforts and others, as well, combine to create the magic of Hiram…may it be with us all year.