Dear faculty, staff, and students,
We are nearing the end of the 12-Week term, and finals are just around the corner. I know that the pressure is on to finish strong, so I begin this note with an empathetic “hang in there, push through it…but try not to drive yourself and those around you completely crazy.” Easier said than done, I am sure.
As has been the case for just about everyone reading this note, I have found that the last two weeks have gone by fast and furiously. In my case, I spent the beginning of last week in the greater Pittsburgh area with Vice President for Enrollment Lindajean Western to visit several high schools. Chief Development Officer Jennifer Schuller and I also found time to meet with more than a few donors. It was not only a productive trip, but also a fun one. The “fun” part was due in large part to my volunteering to be the trick-or-treat chaperone for my seven youngest nieces and nephews. After helping them get into their elaborate costumes (made by my sisters-in-law) and then hiking the very steep hills of Wexford, Pennsylvania, trying desperately to have the three-year-olds keep up with pre-teens, and then monitoring the trading and swapping of the “loot” to ensure the young ones were not too short-changed by their clever, older siblings, I realized that everything that followed Saturday night’s Halloween activities would be quite easy. I was right.
Starting on Monday, Lindajean and I had three productive visits to high schools that welcomed us warmly. Jen and I met with many donors: some in small meetings and others at a beautiful reception hosted at the home of Randy ’86 and Shari ’85 Dearth. The reception drew over 25 alumni and friends, and we all enjoyed sharing a few stories of the past and hopes for the future.
Upon my return to Hiram, I was very pleased to accompany the executive officers of the Board of Trustees, Ken Moore ‘69, Carl Draucker ‘73, and Betsy Juliano ‘84, along with Trustee Emeritus Davis Young and several members of the Senior Cabinet to a luncheon held by the Greater Cleveland chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. There, Trustee Kathy Coleman ’87 was honored with the Philanthropist Leadership Award! It felt so good to see Kathy, someone who has given so much, be recognized by others of like mind and action.
I ended the week by attending a conference sponsored by the American Council of Education (ACE) Women’s Network of Ohio. I was honored to have been chosen to join three other women presidents at the conference’s opening panel. This particular ACE conference provided an engaging opportunity to meet with many of the state’s most accomplished female leaders. It’s great to know that the state of Ohio has so many strong and talented university leaders – and in this case the ones I had a chance to interact with were all women attending the ACE WNO meeting. Frankly, I wish I could have spent a couple of days in the company of those I met.
As that week drew to a close and this one started, I headed out again to a school visit, this one at Gilmour Academy. As was the case in the Pittsburgh visits, the staff at Gilmour spent valuable time with us asking questions, getting to know the “Hiram of today,” and making suggestions about how we might partner more effectively with them to help as many high school students as possible find the “right” college. Though time-consuming, I am finding these visits to be the first step in building high school pipelines…guidance counselors, principals, and heads of schools want to see the leaders of the colleges they recommend to their students. I would do the same if I were in their role.
Let me close as I opened – by sending good thoughts for a productive and healthy end to the 12-Week. I hope you can all squeeze in a moment to enjoy a hot drink, visit a friend, or go for a walk outside.
Lori E. Varlotta