Hiram College

Dear faculty, staff, and students,

Last night, I enjoyed a scrumptious mug of eggnog. Since I have a dislike for most milky things, I decided I must have been called to that cup of indulgence for reasons beyond the sensory. Surely (I convinced myself), that atypical craving was a reminder to see the world through the glass-half-full (rather than half-empty) lens.

It was a timely reminder since we seem to be at that time in the semester, that point in the calendar, and perhaps even that juncture in history when folks seem pretty darn tired. Rather than have weariness erode our spirit, let’s boost it by being grateful. Grateful for what? Let me count the ways…

Yesterday, three new vehicles—a Ford Escape, a mini-van, and a 15-passenger van—drove onto campus. And, they are staying on campus for approved faculty, staff, and student drivers to use thanks to the ongoing generosity of an alumnus who makes substantial gifts each and every year to his alma mater. Our motor fleet is not the only thing that has been enhanced this year. Another financial gift has allowed colleagues in our training department to purchase a new muscle stimulating machine (STIM) to be used by student athletes and others.

Though not top of mind for some, these much-needed cars and this muscle machine are critically important to many. Both will help us serve our students in improved ways. Along with those gifts came one I announced earlier this year: a single gift from an anonymous donor of $650,000 to support endowed scholarships. Added to that, we have had hundreds of thousands more scholarship dollars come in so far this year. Yet another gift will provide 10 lucky study-abroad students with a $2,000 stipend to support a journey of a lifetime.

As our rich tradition would have it, our generous benefactors made contributions to support faculty and staff as well. This fall, two trustees contributed $35,000 to a faculty/staff development pool that will be used to support conference travel, one-time bonuses for extraordinary work, and other activities of which we have been well aware but unable to financially support. I am in the midst of trying to find a third donor to match that pool so that we can award even more deserving members of our community.

Together, these examples should remind all of us of the level of support we get for wildly wonderful gifts that some of us don’t even realize we need.

This evening, I have the honor of hosting many of these generous supporters at our annual holiday celebration. If you cross paths with donors making their way to the Coleman Center, be sure to say hello and thank them. This year we moved the event from the Kennedy Center to the Coleman Center so that we see many of the gifts—new bleachers, flooring, and sound—that we have received.

I know we are smack dab in the middle of an intensive three-week; that the 2017 calendars will soon replace the 2016 ones; and that the economic, social, environmental, and political forces continue to swirl and be swirled. At Hiram, let’s continue to approach all of these with a “glass-half-full” mentality. Let’s end this year and this season strong, let’s get some much needed rest, and let’s collectively commit to coming back next year revitalized and charged to be our best selves. In turn, Hiram can be its best, too.

Have a safe, happy, and healthy Holiday Season and New Year.

Your President,


Lori Varlotta