Dear Hiram Friends,
Happy 2019! Faculty and staff are back on the hill this week after spending precious time with family and friends this holiday season. As we return to campus, we do so with an energy and optimism derived from the continual progress we are making on so many fronts.
Much of energy that is propelling us forward has been fueled by the responses from friends and alumni to Hiram’s Vision 20/20 Fundraising Campaign. This targeted campaign aims to raise $20 million in cash and $20 million in pledges by June 2020 to support four key areas: Technology, Campus Improvements, Branding and Marketing, and the Comprehensive Academic Redesign. To continue our very real turn-around and further pave Hiram’s path forward, it is imperative that we hit these goals. Thankfully, we are off to a good start as you will read in this newsletter.
The first day back from break, my office received a good-news letter from the Paul and Maxine Frohring Foundation. Via this letter, we learned that, once again, we were the fortunate recipient of another handsome six-figure grant. This year’s Frohring grant will support college efforts in biodiversity, conservation, land stewardship, and scientific-based field research. Another large gift—to the tune of $1.25M—came in around the same time from an established, albeit anonymous, donor. This anonymous gift supports need-based scholarships through an endowed scholarship fund established in the name of Galen J. Roush, a 1915 alumnus of the College. You can visit this page to learn more about Mr. Roush’s life, his support of the College through philanthropy and as a Trustee, and the impact that this wonderful gift will have on current and future students.
The aforementioned gifts reflect the ongoing support that established donors have contributed. But new donors are contributing significantly as well. So, if you haven’t given recently to Hiram, please consider being a part of the Vision 20/20 campaign that is featured prominently in the January 2019 Hiram Magazine. As most of you have heard me say before, this campaign is a key part of rebranding Hiram as the New Liberal Arts. Already we have logged in many successes in implementing the New Liberal Arts, and they are chronicled in the magazine, available in full, here. Please forward this digital version to friends who may not have seen it.
As you read the exciting news in the magazine, please imagine how you might support the College’s strong efforts to reposition itself. As you go about this visioning exercise, I’d like you to know about two broad-reaching projects that are so new that they were not described at length in the magazine.
First, we have begun a comprehensive campus master planning process facilitated by the DLR Group out of Cleveland. The six-month project has been funded in its entirety by Trustees Ken Moore and Joan Roguski. And boy…we are grateful for this gift!
The master plan will help officials enhance and strengthen key buildings, green spaces, sections of the historic village, and the connections that tie them altogether as part of Hiram College’s legacy. In doing so, the plan will help us design a conceptual roadmap to guide the future growth and development of the College. Members from the DLR Group hosted a first round of focus groups in November. It included over 90 faculty, staff, students, and village officials. DLR returns to campus next week to continue their engagement process.
Secondly, the Field Station faculty and staff are working diligently with Dean Muyskens, Christine Kohls, and me to engage myriad campus and community members in crafting a strategic plan for that facility. Early in this process, we have developed this new mission statement that reflects the Field Station’s history and its activities today:
As one of the most ecologically diverse natural ‘classrooms’ in the collegiate Midwest, Hiram College’s James H. Barrow Biological Field Station offers students, faculty, staff, and visitors a variety of educational, research oriented, and inspirational programs that focus on conservation, environmental stewardship, and scientific discovery.
Embedded in this statement are five areas of concentration around which the Field Station has long revolved: 1) biodiversity conservation and environmental stewardship, 2) field-based scientific research, 3) education and community outreach, 4) animal conservation and husbandry, and 5) nature inspiration and creativity. That planning process will continue over the next few months. If you are interested in getting involved, please contact Professor Jennifer Clark (ClarkJM@hiram.edu) who has recently been appointed the academic director of the station.
As you see here—and in all communique from me and my wonderful colleagues at Hiram—so very much is going on at the College. No matter where I go, I hear presidents and faculty from around the state and the country say “Wow, I keep hearing about Hiram College, how are all the changes taking shape?” While we are off to a smashing start, make no mistake about this: we continue to need all types of support from friends and alumni like you to make sure the initial positive impact takes permanent hold.
Again, change that yields longstanding improvements depends on ALL of us. No one does turnaround and rebuilding work in a vacuum. Therefore, I urge all of us to pull together and renew our interest and commitment to seeing the initial changes through to completion. Also, let’s all continue to support, in all ways possible, the campus that has and will continue to transform the lives of those who study, work, and call this beloved place “alma mater.” It is such an honor to do this wonderful work with all of you. I thank you, really, from the top and bottom of my heart.
Lori E. Varlotta