Hiram College

Dear faculty, staff, and students,

This is the perfect weekend to spend some quality time outside participating in hands-on history and nature lessons. You can choose from a number of interesting activities or commit to doing a little bit of everything this Saturday and Sunday. Get your hiking boots on and grab a couple of friends to take advantage of two opportunities that are quintessentially Hiram and perfect exemplars of the New Liberal Arts™.

From 9 am to 4 pm on Saturday and Sunday, our Visiting Assistant Professor of Classics, Matthew Notarian, and his University of Akron colleague, Professor Tim Matney, will lead an archeological study of the Garfield-Robbins-Zimmerman House. As many of you know, this house, located on campus and owned by the College, was the former home of U.S. President James A. Garfield who studied here on campus and served as our “principal” in the late 1850s.

I encourage you to walk over to the site and learn how to use a magnetic gradiometer. Professor Notarian tells me this tool can map subtle changes in the earth’s magnetic field that could have been caused by ferrous metal artifacts or burnt features. The gradiometer can signal the findings of remains buried as deep as a meter below the surface.

Just a couple miles off campus, at our beautiful James H. Barrow Biological Field Station, a slew of other festivities are happening on Saturday from 10 am to 1 pm. Again, lace up those Vasque boots and hop on a van in front of Hinsdale, starting at 9:45 a.m.

Once you get to the station, give a quick pet to the snake Corny and say hello to (but don’t pet) one of our baby snappers who makes its home at the station. Take a long or short hike after you have checked out the monarch waystation, pollinator penthouse, and phenology garden. As you meander through the trails, you will have plenty to see as staff have ensured that snake surveying, bird watching, and electrofishing stations are dotting the woodlands.

How many other colleges can offer archeological digs that give you, your friends, and community members an unprecedented opportunity to learn about the private life of Hiram’s most recognized alumnus and leader in the years before he became a U.S. President? Where else can you learn about and see grassland restoration and wetland water-quality testing amidst a maintained forest area? These types of high-impact, experiential learning experiences are just a tiny slice of what you can see, do, and learn during a single weekend at Hiram College. I hope you will get outside and take advantage of both this Saturday and Sunday.

Your president,


Lori Varlotta