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Ronda Riggins, Ozan, Arkansas
“I’m not a number. I’m not A10478. I’m Ronda.”
That’s one of the many reasons Ronda loves Hiram College.
Like many transfer students to Hiram College, she began her career at a community college near her home. She struggled because she had “several hundred” divergent interests. When push came to shove and she had to finish her associate’s degree, she graduated with a major in business administration and a certificate in criminal justice.
Ronda wanted to continue her education and contacted her cousin who was a Hiram College student. She was thrilled to get an inside look at Hiram’s small class sizes and the opportunity to study abroad – a lifelong dream of hers.
“I wanted to go to England since I was about 9,” she said. “Most of this was because of my grandfather who was a veteran of World War II. Growing up, he shared many stories with me about North Africa, France, and Germany. These were the places he had seen during his tour of duty. I was curious: Are these the memories he translated to me the same that I would experience? How were the struggles for equality he fought similar to what I experienced? What was it like to liberate concentration camps?”
Hiram helped Ronda’s wish come true. In the Spring 3-Week of 2012, Ronda had the opportunity to take the faculty-led study abroad trip with Professor Paul Gaffney to England.
Though Ronda’s initial plan to graduate in two years has not worked out for her, she is glad for the additional time she has been able to spend at Hiram. It has allowed her to embark on another study abroad trip to South Africa and it gives her more time to interact with faculty, her favorite part of Hiram College. Ronda enjoys the spontaneous interactions she can have with faculty. If she walks by their office with a question, their response is, “Come right in; let’s talk about it.” She respects that they are willing to set aside whatever they are working on to assist a student.
Looking toward the future, Ronda is torn. Her passion for social justice lends itself to the law, but she also might enjoy being a professor. What is most important is that she has succeeded here at Hiram.
“My future children, my nieces, and my nephews need to understand that they are not bound by where they grew up,” she said. “They can go anywhere and do anything. I made it.”
Does Ronda’s story sound familiar? Maybe Hiram College should be in your future. For additional information about transfer admission, please click here.