The Hiram College Board of Trustees has elected Dr. Lori Varlotta as the 22nd president of the institution. Varlotta, 50, is the first woman president in Hiram history. She is currently the senior vice president for planning, enrollment management and student affairs at California State University, Sacramento. She will succeed Tom Chema who is retiring after 11 years in the position.
Varlotta, a Pittsburgh native, has served as a university administrator for 29 years including the last 11 at Sacramento State. During her career, Varlotta has tackled some of higher education’s most pressing issues: retention and graduation, planning and budgeting, transparency and accountability, health and wellness. In her current position, she leads four diverse divisions of the university including enrollment management, student affairs, student retention and educational equity and a NCAA Div. I athletic program. Among her many accomplishments are bolstering the institution’s student retention program, recruiting some of the largest and most diverse classes in Sacramento State history, conceptualizing and overseeing the construction of two LEED-certified buildings and designing and implementing a comprehensive outcomes-based assessment program that has been replicated at institutions across the country.
“Lori Varlotta is an experienced and accomplished college administrator, and we are delighted to welcome her to our community,” said Ken Moore, chairman of the Hiram College Board of Trustees. “She was the unanimous choice of the Board of Trustees and was very favorably received by the faculty, staff, students and alumni whom she met during the search process. She has a deep commitment to Hiram’s nationally respected liberal arts tradition and possesses enormous energy and creativity that will allow her to be a highly effective college president.”
Varlotta has held a variety of leadership positions in higher education and was attracted to Hiram because of its distinctive academic program and commitment to students.
“In my conversations with members of the Hiram community it became apparent to me that the work being done here is transformative, and there is a shared commitment to student success,” said Varlotta. “A lot of institutions say that, but at Hiram there is ample evidence that students can shape their own educational and co-curricular experience. There is a true partnership between Hiram faculty and students, and the results are life-changing. Hiram is opening up the world to students through study abroad and experiential learning opportunities and in doing so, preparing them to lead in their professions and our world. I’m delighted and honored to join the effort and build on the extraordinary success achieved by the community under President Chema’s leadership.”
Varlotta earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame, an interdisciplinary master’s degree in Cultural Foundations of Education from Syracuse University and an interdisciplinary doctorate in Educational Leadership from Miami University (OH). She joined California State University, Sacramento in 2003. Prior positions in her career include dean of student life, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater; assistant vice president for student affairs at the University of San Francisco; director of leadership and service-learning at Miami University (OH); director of student activities and college union at the University of Pittsburgh-Bradford; and director of college programs and orientation at Chatham College.
Varlotta will join the Hiram College community in early August.