Hiram College

As the new academic year begins, one member of freshman class is continuing a tradition that has been in his family for almost a century.

Adam Scher ’16, will be the fourth generation in his family to attend Hiram College and play football.

His parents, Jim Scher ’88 and Karen (Thompson) Scher ’89 (third generation), met at Hiram College as students, though they did not start dating until after they graduated. Karen’s parents (Adam’s maternal grandparents), Rodney Thompson ’63 and Nancy (Carver) Adams  ’65, also met as Hiram College students, as did her aunt and uncle, Diane Opdyke ’66 and Fred Thompson ’65 (both men – brothers – were the second generation). Donald Ryder ‘28, Adam’s great-great uncle (maternal side), was the first generation in the family to attend Hiram.

Since before he could walk and talk, Adam has attended Alumni Weekend and Athletic Hall of Fame events, and since he could listen, he’s heard stories about Campus Day and other Hiram traditions. With all that tradition, though, it wasn’t automatic that he would attend Hiram College. In fact, for some time, it was anywhere but Hiram.

But when it came time to making a decision, coming to Hiram “felt like coming home,” Adam said.

Adam’s decision to come to Hiram was quite familiar to Karen, his mother, who also grew up hearing Hiram stories from her relatives.

“I grew up listening to all that, so there was no way I was coming to Hiram,” she said. “But from the day I visited the first time, I wasn’t going anywhere else.”

She said it’s an emotional connection that has kept her family at Hiram for so long.

“The emotional connection was there from the day I stepped on campus,” Karen said. “I think that Hiram kind of gets in your blood. Then you raise your kids a certain way, and (for them), it’s almost like coming home.”

Adam said he is most looking forward to continuing the family tradition of playing football, which has been a mainstay throughout the 88 years Hiram has been in his family.

His father Jim played on the most winning Hiram football team in history (1987-1988) and played against Augustana College in the national playoffs his senior year. Adam’s great uncle, Fred Thompson, and great-great uncle, Donald Ryder, were also football players.

Though much has changed in football, academics and the overall look of the campus over the years, Jim and Karen are pleased that so much has remained the same as their son begins his journey.

“Hiram was all about giving you the opportunity to have an idea and run with it,” said Karen, who, while a student, was part of a group that founded women’s club soccer. The group she helped create eventually became women’s varsity soccer. “That was what Hiram was all about that for me. I hope that’s still the case (for Adam), and from what I hear, it absolutely is.”

The same went for Jim, who discovered his intended career path as an incoming freshman was very different from the one he ultimately chose.

“I came here because I was going to be a doctor and play football,” he said. “I ended up playing football and becoming a lawyer. That’s one of the things Hiram does; it makes you discover what you want to do and what you don’t want to do.”

On August 10, Adam moved into his dorm in the Quad, the same residence hall complex that his mom lived in for two years as a student. He is studying accounting, a different major than his parents’ (his mom was a double major in English and vocal performance and his dad studied political science), but they expect he may have some of the same professors and share many of the same experiences.

His move in day (earlier than most of the freshman class because of football), was more than just a start of something new – it was passing something meaningful onto a new generation.

“It’s a lot about passing the torch,” Karen said. “Hiram has been an integral part of my family for forever. Now, to have it play such an important role in his next steps, it’s a hard day, but not because I’m not comfortable with this, and not because I don’t think he is about to accomplish amazing things, not only academically but on the football fields.

“My only sadness is that he won’t be down the hall anymore. I think if I were sending him someplace else, I would be having a much harder time. But I am absolutely thrilled that Adam has chosen to move down this path.”

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