Hiram College

Dear Hiram Community,

Like many of you, I am following the events in Minneapolis and the demonstrations in cities around the nation in response to the horrific death of George Floyd with a mixture of deep sadness, frustration, anger, and disappointment. As I write this note in the wee hours of Monday morning from the house I share with my husband in Sacramento, California, the sounds of the helicopters, CHP planes, amplified rallying cries, and police sirens are ringing through the air.

My heart goes out to all those feeling pain and anguish over Mr. Floyd’s senseless death and to students, friends, and colleagues who have lost loved ones due to the pervasive violence that stems out of racism and bigotry. While I don’t often use religious words in my messages to the campus community, I am now and have been praying that we will come together in neighborhoods across the country that have been doubly damaged by initial acts of violence and subsequent reactions that are further tearing apart the fabric of community.  

As you have heard me say time and time again, Hiram is by no means a perfect microcosm of diversity, respect, and civility, but we are a community that strives to support each other in good times and bad. Hence, what is happening in Minneapolis, many California cities, and other metros across the nation serves as a powerful reminder that Hiram’s ability to actualize our mission is more important than ever. As faculty, staff, students, and alumni, I ask that we join together—virtually now and soon in person—not only to address but to conquer the urgent challenges of our times. There are so many challenges right now, but all of them can be addressed on a personal, local, or campus level by the extraordinary spirit and commitment that many of you embody and exude. Let’s recommit to making sure that our campus is a place where we embrace, value, and protect the importance of difference—and where we all confront and condemn bigotry and intolerance.

As we get ready to repopulate our safe and beautiful campus in the weeks and months ahead, let us, one and all, reaffirm Hiram’s mission and our five values: Community, Learning, Responsibility, Diversity, Innovation. These are not just words. They are the fundamental premises upon which Hiram faculty, staff, students, and alumni build a life and a calling. As heavy as the world feels right now (and for some, it’s heartbreakingly crushing), I know that members of our community will be called to be our best selves and to help others be theirs. Bring a piece of Hiram to wherever you are in the world today.

Your President,

President Varlotta Signature

Lori Varlotta