Dear faculty, staff, and students,
These past two weeks were very busy ones, as the campus hosted the Hiram College Board of Visitors, Alumni Executive Board, and the Board of Trustees. The meetings kicked off on Friday, October 16, when the Board of Visitors came together for the first time this academic year. There were about 20 members in attendance, and I was asked to provide the group with updates on the many exciting things we are implementing. I happily accepted that assignment. After all, it is my pleasure to meet with busy professionals who take the time to come to campus to learn, provide feedback on, and support the College’s initiatives.
The day after, during our wonderful, albeit chilly, Homecoming celebrations, I joined a meeting of the Alumni Executive Board. This Board represents all of Hiram’s alumni from both the Traditional and Weekend Colleges. Again, I provided the group with key updates and answered any questions they posed. I always appreciate and am proud to see how engaged and lively Hiram’s alumni are.
Last Thursday, Friday, and Saturday marked the period of time when Hiram’s Board of Trustees visit the campus for the annual fall meeting. The bulk of Thursday afternoon was spent giving the trustees a “see-it-all” tour of our campus. They were able to get a personal look at the buildings and facilities that make us proud as well as those that need more than just a little TLC. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, an up-close-and-personal look is worth 10,000. Whether you are a faculty, staff, or student, several of your colleagues joined the Board for a working dinner after the campus tour, and I suggest you talk to your representative to get an update of the topics discussed at those dinner meetings. Our time on Friday was productively spent in small groups where timely topics such as Hiram Connect, Hiram Health, and Hiram Complete generated lots of discussion. The evening’s activities included our annual celebration of the Garfield Society, where we inducted eight new members over a meal and conversation with old and new friends alike. We were fortunate to also hear an address from the Honorable Jo Ann Davidson, co-chair for the Committee on Arrangements for the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. She served for 20 years in the Ohio House of Representatives and was the only woman in the state to hold the position of Speaker of the House. The Board of Trustees meeting then wrapped up on Saturday, and if you imagine it as being just a vanilla wrap-up of the three-day meeting, you’d be mistaken. It was the time where we did a lot of soul searching about how to keep Hiram strong and vibrant at a time when liberal arts programs and colleges are facing heavy scrutiny and lots of challenges.
After the Trustees left the campus and returned home to places near and far (some live 2,500 miles away), I got ready for a party at the Harbert House. On Sunday, I had a house full of students and a few staff who work with African American Students United. With the fall chill in the air, it was a perfect day for hanging out with friends and enjoying a big plate of comfort food. We knew we needed to work off some of the mac-n-cheese, so the students taught me the more “simplistic” line dances they knew – even I could do the Cuban Shuffle! I thoroughly enjoyed the day.
Next week, I head to Western Pennsylvania to visit a few high schools and meet with alumni. I will keep you posted on how these visits go. Upon my return, I will get ready for the faculty and staff College Assembly on November 5. Please plan on attending as I have many updates to share in person with you at that time. Keep an eye out for further communication regarding this meeting.
I look forward to seeing you around campus as the 12-Week quickly approaches its end.
Lori E. Varlotta