Hiram College congratulates the Class of 2015. The College awarded degrees to 286 students on May 16, 2015, at its 165th Commencement.
Among those students were seven graduate students earning a Master of Arts in interdisciplinary studies. Twenty-four undergraduates earned a Bachelor of Science in nursing, and the remaining 255 students earned a Bachelor of Arts in 30+ disciplines.
Lori Varlotta, Ph.D., celebrating her first Commencement as president of the College, welcomed family, friends and the community who gathered together to celebrate the Class of 2015’s accomplishments, by reflecting upon her own baccalaureate commencement 30 years ago.
“What do you think you will be doing 30 years from this very day?” she asked the graduates. “Though I cannot answer that question for a single one of you, I feel confident that Hiram College has given you the skills, the spirit and the spunk you will need to manage that 30-year journey and the next 30 years that follow that.
“I have that confidence because a Hiram education does much more than prepare you for your first job, and it does even more than prepare you for your entire career.”
Tony Aretz, Ph.D., president of Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati, delivered the Commencement address. Over the 2014-2015 academic year, Hiram College formed a special bond with Mount St. Joseph University, as the women’s basketball teams played each other in Mount freshman Lauren Hill’s first college game on Nov. 2, 2014. Hill was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), an inoperable form of brain cancer. She died April 10, 2015. To date, more than $1.6 million has been raised for cancer research in her name.
“Lauren taught us that one person can make a big difference,” he said. “We can’t always plan how it will happen, but like Lauren, with a courageous heart, a humble and selfless spirit and hard work, we can make a difference in other’s lives.
“This is what true leadership is about: Making a positive difference in the lives of others. Like Lauren, true leaders earn followers because of how they lead. Lauren did not have a position of authority, but led by example, inspiring others to follow and help achieve a common goal.”
A liberal arts education, Dr. Aretz said, has prepared Hiram graduates to be moral leaders and to make a difference in the world.
“Liberal learning at its best is a transformation process that is not just about content knowledge, but it forms you intellectually, morally and even spiritually,” he said. “This formation of character will allow you to be courageous ethical leaders in a rapidly changing and challenging world. You now have the skills and character you will need to solve problems, lead change and live meaningful and purposeful lives.
“Knowledge is fleeting but the wisdom from a liberal education endures a lifetime.”