Hiram College

Dear students, faculty, and staff,

I write to you this week from the road. I am headed to the first annual leadership conference of the American Council on Education’s Women’s Network of Indiana as the keynote speaker. The conference coordinator has followed the changes we are making at Hiram and asked that I tell parts of that story to the audience there. I am looking forward to the trip. This one comes on the heels of a Washington, DC trip I took this past weekend, where I had the pleasure of meeting up with Garfield Center scholars. During that excursion, I was treated to a presentation from three of our very own students (Brett Bentkowksi ‘21, Jeffery Robb ‘22, and Dion Thornton ‘21) who offered their insights on the Green New Deal prior to hearing from Ryan Bourne, a Cato Institute expert on the matter. I also had the opportunity to catch up with alumni and friends who rounded out the short-but-stimulating visit. As I write my own “journey notes” from the road, I was touched to get a couple of others from Hiram friends local and abroad (as I’ll recount below). All of this reminds me of how far beyond Northeast Ohio our College reaches.

As president, I receive (and happily read) notes from alumni who, when out and about in the world, find themselves meeting, intentionally or by accident, another Hiram alum. Just a few days ago and more than 3,000 miles from campus, Jim Vincent ‘65 and Danni Lynn McDonald ‘19 met each other in Dublin, Ireland. To my delight, I received a photo of them in my inbox just yesterday. And, for those of you who might remember our 2018 artist and adventurer in residence, Daniel Dodge, he also found an unexpected connection to Hiram while through-hiking the Continental Divide Trail. He took a quick detour to travel with researchers from the Raptor View Research Institute who were collecting data from and then releasing a young golden eagle. As luck would have it, one of the researchers has two family members who are Hiram alumni. Dan was eager to write to me about this wonderful and out-of-the-blue connection shortly after he was given the chance to release the eagle himself.

For those of you not planning a trip anytime soon, Hiram alumni and friends from afar have been paying regular visits to campus this fall. Just this week, alumnus and trustee Dr. Don Batisky ‘83 visited from Atlanta, Georgia. During his visit, Dr. Batisky brought his experience in the medical field back to campus while speaking with students over lunch and sharing his advice for pursing health-related careers.

Perhaps I am also thinking strongly of Hiram’s international reach as we honor the late alumna Harlene Jones Lee ‘51. I am thrilled to tell you that Harlene graciously and generously donated her estate to Hiram, valued at $3.4 million! A portion of Harlene’s gift will be going to student health and athletics, as well as three new endowed scholarships for high-achieving students and those interested in law and medical school. Raised in Ravenna, Ohio, Harlene ultimately traveled the world as an ice skater and performed for celebrities and royalty. Despite the amazing, globe-spanning life that Harlene led, she remained close in spirit to her alma mater. Let us all honor Harlene’s legacy, her story, and her commitment.

It’s clear that you can never tell where a Hiram education will take you. In fact, I would say that Hiram can take you anywhere, and you might just meet another Terrier once you get there. Our College is more than a campus; it’s an international community and its numbers are growing. Whether you’re in the Cleveland Museum of Art or visiting the Louvre, I hope you’ll keep an eye out for a Hiram logo in the crowd.

Your president,

President Varlotta Signature

Lori Varlotta