Hiram College

Dear faculty, staff, and students,

varlotta-2The season of campus visits is squarely upon us. Prospective students searching for their ideal college and job candidates interviewing for various academic posts and staff positions are in our midst these next few months. Frankly, I love seeing them around campus and hearing the comments and questions they ask as they acquaint themselves with the home we call Hiram. As I listen to my colleagues tell me the stories of these visits, I am told that the most frequently asked question posed by these important visitors is: “Who is Hiram?”

On the surface, this question seems like a simple one, right? But go ahead …formulate the answer you would offer to a touring high school student and her parents or a job candidate visiting us from another state. As it turns out, I have been asked a similar question this week as I meet with alumni who live far from our Hiram Hill. Their rendition of the question is usually something like: “What is Hiram like today?”

Knowing first-hand that no formulation of this question is as easy to answer as it first appears, I am jotting down a few possible answers to get our collective juices flowing. If you would be so kind as to send me a few of your own thoughts, I will compile a list and share it with those who ask this critical question. Until then, how do some of these responses resonate with you? How can we expand on them to paint a picture of who Hiram is?

Hiram is a place that is united in its difference.

Hiram’s original name, the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute, says something about who it was in 1850 and who it is today: a richly diverse group of individuals who are united in a quest to learn about themselves, each other and the world they inhabit together. Students are encouraged to find and develop their unique talents and passions. Like many of you, I find great joy in watching them be anything from wildly entrepreneurial, to fiercely athletic, to giftedly artistic, to seriously academic and environmentally conscious…or a combination of the above!

Hiram is the place that others once were and who many aspire to be today.

Many colleges talk about being the quintessential liberal arts college, but Hiram lives it – everyday. Although other colleges may have larger endowments, fancier amenities and trendier zip codes, Hiram has the relationships, ethos and spirit that money can’t always buy. Hiram is a family. Hiram faculty and staff give each student individual care and attention, and with a careful balance of support and challenge, students are pushed to become their best selves.

Hiram is the place that gets you ready for just about anything.

Hiram doesn’t just prepare students solely for their first job. It prepares them for a lifetime career and a personal calling, and often they are one and the same. Students who start at Hiram go all over the world and do some amazing things: enrolling in graduate programs such as Harvard Law School or the London School of Economics; becoming CEOs of well-known corporations; being named ambassadors of foreign countries; becoming clergy and religious leaders of all kinds; being cutting-edge environmentalists who save species, wetlands and a type of life that exists in only a few places; or working as teachers who not only shape minds but save lives. If you can dream it, Hiram can get you there.

Please let me know what else we should add to our list. It will be interesting to see what comes in, and now we can work together to shape a response much more complete than any one of us could formulate alone. Again, the power of Hiram.

Your president,

Lori Varlotta