Campus & Community
Image: Kennedy Center
Update from the President’s Office
Summer Hours for Staff
We will observe summer hours beginning the Monday after Commencement (May 15) through July 31. Standard hours will be 8:30 – 4:30 with a half-hour lunch.
Executive Personnel Changes
With the departure of Executive Director Karen Holland, HR Coordinator Deborah Pineau has been appointed Interim Director of Human Resources. Karen will continue to assist Deborah on a contract basis as we search for a new Executive Director. That search is underway, and the job posting can be found on the Careers at Hiram page. Deborah can be reached at email@example.com or ext. 6008. Many thanks to both Deborah and Karen for enabling a smooth transition.
CFO Nancy Rubin will be leaving Hiram for other ventures as of June 30, 2023. We will be searching for a new VP for Business Affairs and CFO, but given the time such a search will require, we have hired an interim CFO, Len Sippel. He brings extensive experience in college finances at multiple institutions, including Guilford College in North Carolina, which bears many similarities to Hiram. He will begin May 30, which will give Nancy and Len a month to work on this complex transition. Thanks to Nancy for leading Hiram’s financial and business operations during very challenging times.
We have received the $665,000 earmark for the Office of Workforce Development and Community Engagement (OWDCE) through Rep. Dave Joyce’s office. The search for a director of the OWDCE should be finalized later this month.
We have submitted a second $2 million earmark for the fiscal year 2024 congressional budget through Sen. Sherrod Brown’s office for our nursing program. Half of the funds would go to upgrading the nursing program’s equipment, much of which dates to the program’s founding in 2008, and the other half would be used to create additional flexible pathways into the nursing profession, including graduate and part-time options. This earmark has been included in Sen. Brown’s proposal for the Appropriations Committee, successfully clearing an important hurdle, but it is dependent on the unpredictable congressional budget negotiations. Thanks very much to Sarabeth Abalos, Brad Goodner, Rob Bohrer, and Walter Williams for their assistance in completing this application on very short notice.
The 8th annual Hiram Giving Day was held on March 31, 2023. During the successful 24-hour effort, we realized a total of $281,194 in new gifts from more than 200 donors, exceeding our $230,000 goal by more than $50,000.
Potential New Revenue Sources
We are looking at several potential opportunities for generating additional auxiliary revenue. One is to install electric vehicle charging stations on campus. Since there are no charging stations within 30 miles of Hiram, this could potentially create a revenue stream as well as drive visitors to the campus. Another is the sale of IP addresses. Every device connected to the internet, including every cell phone, must have a unique IP address. Although they used to be free for the taking, IP addresses are now in high demand and sold by brokers, especially in the cell phone industry. We own far more of these addresses than we will ever need, and this could be a one-time revenue source of over $1 million. Thanks to CIO Carl Powell for pursuing this initiative.
Recent Graduate Trustee Program
The Board of Trustees has authorized a new way for recent Hiram graduates to participate on the Board. Beginning this spring, members of each graduating class are being invited to apply for a position on the Board as a recent graduate trustee. One recent grad will be chosen for a two-year term each year, which means that after next year, two recent graduates will be full voting members of the Board on an ongoing basis.
The Harbert House sale closed in December 2022 with net proceeds around
$740K. Eight of our rental properties have sold for net proceeds of about $1.1M. The four Dodge Court properties are off the market until we get the zoning updated through the Village Zoning Commission; three properties need to be split into plats since they are currently on one parcel. Once that is done, the houses can go back on the market. There are two other rental properties on Wakefield Road that need some work and then could be listed.
Campus Nature Rx and Arboretum Status
VP for Academic and Student Affairs Rob Bohrer has led the effort to engage Hiram College in the Campus Nature Rx program. As part of this process, schools are asked to put in place a program that incorporates the benefits of nature into campus programming. A team of faculty and staff (Sarah Mabey, Zack Fox, Kevin Feisthamel, Dee West, Asha Goodner) has developed this plan, and we will submit our official membership materials to the national program by the end of the semester. Of special note is Dr. Mabey’s course, “Nature Interpretation,” which played a key role in developing the proposal for implementing the plan on Hiram’s campus.
Thanks to the efforts of staff member Zack Fox ’21 and graduating senior Neil Robertson, the Hiram Campus has been certified a Level I arboretum by ArbNet. ArbNet is an international community of arboreta and the only global initiative to officially recognize arboreta based on a set of professional standards. While not specifically tied to the Nature Rx program, this certification will help raise awareness of the natural resources and stewardship of those resources at Hiram.
Employee Retention Credit
We have received confirmation that our application for the federal Employee Retention Credit in the amount of $4.1 million has been successful as expected. This amount was already booked as revenue in FY 2022, but receiving the cash this year will help the College’s cash flow.
We are beginning discussions with the Cleveland Browns about using Hiram’s facilities for summer practices. As many of you know, the Browns were present on Hiram’s campus many years ago, and if they choose to return this could mean financial, academic, and other benefits for the College.
The fundraising for the necessary renovations to the first floor of the Kennedy Center for the new bar has been completed, and the liquor license paperwork has been completed. As soon as contractors can be hired and insurance secured, we will be ready to proceed with the hope of completing work sometime this summer.
Dave and Lisa
As many of you know, we have had some sad news recently. Our faithful blonde lab companion and friend to Hiram’s campus, Jefferson Garfield, has been struggling with thyroid cancer for about a year, and on April 15, almost five years to the day since we adopted him as a rescue dog, we had to put him to rest. He was nine years old, and we are grateful that he was able to spend his final three years as a member of the Hiram community, where he was welcomed daily by students, staff, and faculty. We are also grateful for the outpouring of sympathy we have received from many members of the campus community.
Lisa has received two important honors recently. A donor recently gave $10,000 to Hiram to be used at Lisa’s discretion in honor of her engagement and work with Hiram students. Lisa is in conversation with Dean of Students Dee West about how best to use these funds in support of our students. And at the Black Student Union sendoff and staling ceremony last week, the students chose Lisa as the recipient of two Kente stoles in honor of her engagement with students, especially students of color. We are both grateful that her work as “Presidential Spouse and College Mom” has been recognized.
The day after commencement, Lisa and I depart for Rome, Italy, where on Monday, I will be giving the commencement address at John Cabot University on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of JCU’s founding by long-time Hiram benefactor Paul Frohring and Hiram President Elmer Jagow. What started as a two-year institution whose degrees were offered by Hiram is now one of the top American universities in Europe. We hope to use this event to lay the foundation for renewing and strengthening the connections between our two institutions.
Thank you to students, faculty, and staff for all you have done this year, and congratulations to the seniors who will walk across the stage this Saturday, when I will have the honor of presenting you with your hard-earned diplomas.
Best wishes to all for a productive, happy, and restful summer.
Office of Workforce Development and Community Engagement
We have begun the search for the founding executive director of this office, which will coordinate new and existing efforts in the areas of workforce development and community engagement. A search committee is being formed, which will include representatives from faculty, staff, students, and the community. We will begin reviewing applications shortly after February 18, though the position is open until filled.
One early project of this office will be the continuation of the green industry workforce pipeline partnership that we have been exploring with Hiram College, Davey Tree, Arborwear, the Holden Arboretum, and other leaders of Northeast Ohio’s vibrant green industry. The goal of this partnership is to create and communicate ways for students in area high schools, community colleges, and four-year colleges to enter this growing industry. Another project of this office will be the potential establishment of an entrepreneurial co-working space on campus.
We continue to negotiate a new contract with our facilities provider, ABM, with a lower cost, greater efficiency, and a scaling back of some services, such as administrative office cleaning, that are not critical to our core mission of educating students. More details will be communicated to the campus once the specifics of the new contract have been worked out. As part of the movement toward greater efficiency, “building stewards” have been assigned in each building, who will be trained to use the work order system effectively and communicate both with ABM and with the occupants and users of the building.
With a water main break along Hinsdale Street and the flooding of Dray Computer Center, this has been a challenging week for IT, the other occupants of the Teachout-Price lower level, and residents of the houses and residence halls on the north side of Hinsdale Street. Thanks to ABM, the Hiram Village repair crews, the IT staff, and Student Affairs for keeping us safe and operational during these events.
Office Keys Project
The Office of Business and Finance, Human Resources, and our facilities management partner, ABM, ask all members of the campus community to complete this short survey to determine which office or building keys are assigned to each employee. The data obtained through this process will be used to facilitate a safe and accessible environment for our students, faculty, and staff.
Completing the survey takes approximately five minutes and requires that participants have their keys available for reference during the process. Only ninety people have responded so far. If you have not yet responded, please submit your response by February 10. For the security of the campus, it is very important that we have an accurate count of who has what kinds of key.
We originally listed 12 of the College’s rental properties for sale. We have sold four, and four others have been pulled from the listings in order to deal with some zoning issues. We have fielded a number of questions about why we are selling these properties. Here is our response:
- Many colleges like Hiram which have accumulated real estate over the years have sold it; we are actually behind the times on this.
- Being a landlord is not part of our core mission, and selling the houses will allow us to focus more on that mission. (Part of the strategy in the “Align for Mission” portion of our strategic design is to look for savings in areas that are not part of our core mission.)
- Like many small colleges with financial challenges, we will benefit from these influxes of cash as we implement our post-Covid plans for financial sustainability.
- We are not selling any of the historic homes that house academic programs.
Learning Streams International
Thanks to the work of emeritus professor Denny Taylor ’73, the “Learning Streams International” program, which was active before Covid, is being revived. In the past, this environmental education program has established and trained “Near Peer Mentors” – college students mentoring high school students – both domestically and internationally, with support from the U.S. State Department and private foundations. Denny is now working with Hiram on a program entitled “Tree Canopy Solutions to the Impact of Climate Change,” which will involve Hiram and Cleveland-area high schools. This program will be closely connected to the James H. Barrow Biological Field Station, and it also aligns with the green industry workforce pipeline noted above.
Accreditation of new Academic programs
Two new Hiram academic programs are in the process of being accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The graduate certificate in Trauma-Informed Teaching has been approved, and the master’s degree in Sport Management is in the final stages of review. This will be our first certificate program and our first new master’s program since the 2004 founding of the Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies.
Recruitment efforts are underway, with slightly positive trends in applications, admits, and deposits compared to two years ago, when we had a larger entering class than we had this past fall. This is putting us on track to potentially meet our goal this fall. Net tuition revenue work associated with strategic financial aid packaging strategies is currently keeping us within the fall goal of $11,500 net tuition per new student for fall 2023. The marketing and strategic communication team continues to implement internal and external branding efforts along with communication plans for the College and our enrollment practices.
Alumni Events and Donor Visits
Lisa and I attended the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) Presidents Institute in San Francisco, where Lisa, a member of the CIC spouses and partners task force, presented on issues affecting presidential spouses and partners. While we were there, VP for Development Walter Williams and I met with two current and former independent college presidents with Hiram connections: Elizabeth MacLeod Walls ’96, president of William Jewell College in Missouri, and Thomas Hellie and his wife Julie Ann Olds ’83. Tom, the former president of Linfield College in Oregon, was a faculty member in Hiram’s Theatre and English Departments from 1980 until 1989. Fundraising trips to Hilton Head, SC; Florida, and New York are planned in next couple of months. We also have alumni events coming up in Cincinnati on February 11 and Hiram night at the Cleveland Cavaliers game is February 26. As always, faculty and staff are invited to attend any of these events. Visit the alumni relations page for more information and registration links.
We are in discussions with the Cleveland Clinic on three areas of potential support: (1) supplying Hiram with athletic trainers, (2) supporting our nursing program, and (3) supporting our health center. We will provide more information as it becomes available.
We are moving forward with plans for a bar to be located in the lower level of the Kennedy Center. The liquor license has been approved by Hiram Village and is in process at the state level, and estimates are being finalized for the modifications to the space that will be needed. We have donors lined up to cover the associated costs.
Please do not hesitate to contact me at 330-569-5120 or PresidentsOffice@hiram.edu if you have any questions.
LES & KATHY COLEMAN SPORTS CENTER
The Les & Kathy Coleman Sports Recreation, & Fitness Center is named for the late Les Coleman, and his wife, Kathy, a longtime member of the Hiram College Board of Trustees. Designed by Hastings & Chivetta, an architectural firm nationally recognized for its distinctive athletic facilities, the Coleman Center consists of 82,000 square feet of new construction and renovated space which wraps around Charles A. Henry Field.
Among the venues located in the Coleman Center are Alumni Memorial Pool, the Athletic Training Facility, Fleming Fieldhouse, an indoor track, Krabill and Morris Racquetball Courts, Martin Fieldhouse, Price Gymnasium, the Steinem Aerobics Studio, the Steve Belichick Olympic Training Center and the Andrews & Connor Fitness Center. The Center overlooks Henry Field and Fishel Field at Proverbs Park.