Dear Hiram Friends,
As you have noticed from my recent messages, faculty, staff, and administrators across campus continue to work together to implement the many changes that are key parts in bringing to life the New Liberal Arts. Since the change can be all encompassing at times, some of my colleagues on campus have asked that I step back for a moment to “stop and smell the roses.” And so, I did.
The first proverbial roses to stop me in my tracks and prompt the powerful pause we all should experience now and again were these: conversations in literature, nature stewardship, the study of the American Presidency, and Fireside Chats in entrepreneurship. Let me describe each.
While colorful tulips have not speckled the frozen ground quite yet, “literature roses” have been abloom all winter. In February, our Lindsey-Crane Center for Writing and Literature hosted Dave Lucas, Ohio Poet Laureate. Dave read from his award-winning poetry book Weather, from his new work, and from other Ohio poets, before engaging the audience in an intimate conversation about his poetry and his position as Poet Laureate. If you are on campus today (Thursday, March 14), the Center for Literature and Medicine is hosting Angie Orlando for a reading from her book Through the Tunnel: Becoming Deafblind, which chronicles her journey of losing sight and hearing. The reading will be at 4:15 p.m. in Koritansky Hall, followed by a Q&A, book signing, and reception. And on Tuesday, March 19, the Center is hosting Christine Howey (Writer, Performer, and Executive Director of Literary Cleveland) for a screening of her film, Exact Change: a true story of boy meets girl. Inside one person. The program and Q&A will start at 7:00 p.m. in the Library’s Pritchard Room.
In terms of nature-related events, the James H. Barrow Biological Field Station has been hosting multiple programs for friends of all ages. In February, the activities ranged from a meet and greet of our resident animals and an insect-themed kids’ movie night including craft making and a viewing of A Bug’s Life, to a documentary viewing and discussion about ocean protection, to a winter nature hike to explore the unusual habits of plants and animals in the cold, to a lesson on how to build a bluebird house for the upcoming spring. This month, among other things you can again meet our resident animals, learn about the American Woodcock bird, and get trained to be a FrogWatch USA Volunteer. To hear more about March’s programming and to keep up with new opportunities in the coming months, go to this website.
This Presidents Day, like every other I have celebrated here, reminded me of the historical significance our own Hiram has played in state and national affairs. A recently mapped Ohio Presidential Trail includes the College and its connection to James A. Garfield. As you know, alumnus James A. (to which he is warmly referred at Hiram) presided over Hiram College (then called the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute) from 1857 to 1863. He later went on to serve the country as the 20th American President. I invite you to learn more about his life and legacy for the College here. And speaking of presidential matters, Associate Professor Doug Brattebo, Director of the James A. Garfield Center for the Study of the American Presidency, was just interviewed on WAKR about such matters and their impact on government; you can listen to the full interview here.
Garfield was admired for many things, his self-initiative and creative spirit being high among them. Garfield’s work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well at Hiram. This ethos is materialized routinely through programs like the Fireside Chats, hosted by Kay Molkentin, Director of our Center for Integrated Entrepreneurship. These Chats invite constructive and creative men and women to share their story on starting and running their own business endeavors. You can watch these talks in various ways—in person (they are held in the East Hall Forum at 7:00 p.m. on most Wednesdays), via livestream during the event, or watch a recording later. Learn about the upcoming presentations and gain access to the streams on this page.
In the midst of all that’s happening in the spotlight, many are working backstage to ensure that the show of change and progress goes on. For the second time in three years, our young professionals in Residential Education were recognized for their outstanding work in student affairs. They are the deserving recipients of the Spirit Award given out by the Northeast Ohio Housing Officers (NEOHO) organization. As a former hall director, I was proud to know that professionals beyond Hiram recognize, as I do, the quality of work these colleagues perform here in service to our students.
Whether the plantings are front and center stage or left or right stage, the fruits and flowers of our collective work are blooming in all directions. So let me end by thanking so many on campus who are working so hard. Let me also thank so many of you who support this work in philanthropic contributions like the $357,367 you jointly made on March 1st, Hiram’s fourth annual Giving Day!
Thank you for your dedication to Hiram College.
Lori E. Varlotta