Hiram College

Recent donation includes 186 paintings from famous artist, Florian K. Lawton 

For Hiram College, Giving Tuesday serves as a time to be thankful and recognize a handful of recent donors whose gifts of varying shapes and sizes have helped to advance and transform campus.  

Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday is a global generosity movement that connects diverse groups of individuals, communities, and organizations to celebrate and encourage philanthropy. Created in 2012, Giving Tuesday has become the kick-off of the charitable season, which for many is a time to focus on holiday and end-of-year giving.  

This year, among the many gifts that Hiram is celebrating, is one by the Florian K. Lawton Foundation. Kenneth R. Lawton, trustee of the Foundation, spearheaded the donation of 186 works of art, books, and exhibition catalogs by the nationally acclaimed artist, Florian K. Lawton, a Northeast Ohio native and longtime supporter of Hiram College. The collection was recently appraised and valued in excess of $100,000.  

Florian Lawton studied art at the Cleveland College, and later attended John Huntington Polytechnic School to further his art training. In 1943, he enlisted in the United States Army, where he did aerial intelligence, creating topographic maps and decorating airplanes and tanks with whimsical images that became part of wartime humor. Upon his return to Cleveland in 1946, Florian Lawton enrolled at the Cleveland School of Art, now known as the Cleveland Institute of Art. Best known for his depiction of the Amish culture in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana, Florian Lawton captured them at work and play, just as Frederick Remington and Charles Russell had done at the turn of the 20th century. A nature lover at heart, his artwork received many awards, including some as early as 1949 at the Cleveland Museum of Art May Show.  

During the 1970s, Florian Lawton was active on Hiram’s campus, teaching students and creating insightful videos on the Amish culture in the area. His daughter, Dawn Lawton-Jaicks, also graduated from the College in 1978. In addition to the recent gift to Hiram, the Foundation has generously donated to museums and institutions in the United States and across the globe, and Florian Lawton’s artwork is housed in corporate and private collections, including the White House in Washington D.C. 

Jennifer Schuller, vice president of alumni and development at Hiram College believes that one of the many keys to success at the College is the support received from the campus community, alumni, and donors. “Gifts to Hiram College in all shapes and sizes enable us to change lives by creating a campus culture focused on providing students with transformational learning opportunities both inside and outside of the classroom.”   

In addition to the gift of artwork from the Florian K. Lawton Foundation, a sampling of other gifts Hiram has received as of a late include: 

  • A gift from alumnus Frank Merritt ’65 to make improvements to Hiram’s historic observatory. 
  • Gifts of billboard space by alumna Debbie Abdalian-Thompson ’75 with Cleveland Outdoor Advertising. 
  • A gift from Joanne Sawyer, friend and retiree, to purchase equipment for study of the classics, including virtual reality headsets to advance the use of 3D technologies in student research and a photo tent, lighting, and accompanying software and applications for students to photograph artifacts. 
  • Multiple gifts from Hiram alumni and friends to prune the tree canopy on campus. 

This Giving Tuesday, the Hiram College community is thankful for all who have impacted the College through gifts of money and time. Collectively, cash gifts to Hiram in just the first five months of this fiscal year exceed $5 million dollars. You too can make a difference in preserving the Hiram legacy for generations to come by making a gift this Giving Tuesday. Make a gift now!