This week, we feature Jason Bricker-Thompson, Director of Civic Engagement and Hiram alumnus. Continue to check back for more faculty and staff profiles.
What attracted you to join the Hiram College community?
As a student at Hiram I was attracted by the sense of community and Hiram’s beautiful Field Station, as I love the outdoors. I came back to Hiram as the Chaplain because of the sustained relationships I made as a student with my professors as well as the College’s commitment to its students, to community service and to the environment.
In your opinion, what is distinctive about Hiram College?
In many ways Hiram exemplifies many of the best traits of small liberal arts colleges, but what makes it unique is its diversity and the large percentage of first generation college students at Hiram. Hiram College’s ability to nurture, engage and challenge its students to become lifelong learners is quite remarkable. I grew up in inner-city Cleveland and didn’t have the strongest academic preparation for college, but I left Hiram College with a full scholarship to a prestigious graduate program, where I was able to flourish because of the quality of education I received at Hiram College.
What would you like people to know about you beyond your role here at the college?
I would share that I am a foster parent and that I serve on the board of the Hiram Farm which is an organic farm which engages adults on the autism spectrum.
What is your favorite book, and why?
One of the few books I have read multiple times is the Grapes of Wrath because of its story of both human struggle and resilience.
What attracted you to your academic discipline?
I first felt a calling to ministry and social action while a student at Hiram College volunteering over spring break in inner-city Chicago. After Divinity School, I worked for a non-profit before returning back to Hiram.
How would you describe Hiram students?
I would describe Hiram as diverse — diverse in almost every way imaginable, but also diverse in the way students relate with one another. Students of different nationalities, races, sexual orientations, faith traditions, economic backgrounds, etc., interact and build meaningful community with one another in ways that I think are life changing.
Finish this thought: people at Hiram might be surprised to know that …
I enjoy the outdoors quite a bit, I love trying new foods, and I met my wife at Hiram House Camp.
What opportunities has Hiram offered you as a person and/or a professor?
Hiram College has offered me the opportunity to collaborate with students and the community to address social issues. I was able to start a Fair Trade store with my freshman colloquium students, I was able to start a community garden and support the founding of the Hiram Farm with students and the College’s support, I have been able to travel and volunteer with students, and I have worked with over a dozen non-profits in meaningful ways with faculty and students.
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