Dear faculty, staff, and students,
We have lived and learned during another year at Hiram. Yesterday, we closed the books…or the screens…on this semester and are now getting ready to congratulate those who will morph from student to alumna/nus in a few short days. I hope that you look back at your year with a sense of appreciation as you clean up your residence hall, pack up your belongings, and take a picture or two at the side of James A. or the bell.
Whether you’ve already departed campus or if you will be this Saturday, please consider thanking the faculty or staff member who went the extra distance for you during your time here. Let them know that their care and concern was just one of the many gifts you got from Hiram. A quick pop into their office or even an email or handwritten letter can really make a difference.
To those of you are returning this fall, I wish you a happy and healthy summer. Use your summer months wisely so that you can come back to Hiram ready to go! Seniors, it will give me great honor to shake your hand at Commencement on Saturday and send you out to represent your alma mater. Be well, do good, go far. Let’s leave this academic year on the highest and warmest note of all, singing our alma mater for the last time this semester.
To faculty and staff:
As you look over the last several years, I hope you, members of the staff, feel an increasing sense of agency and impact. So much of what we have accomplished has happened because of you. Just some of those things include: Tech & Trek, Athletics, Admission, CCP, I AM HIRAM branding and other marketing efforts, the Library, fundraising, alumni relations, residential education and residence hall improvements, the Inn, the grounds and facilities, the master plan, the Field Station strategic plan, financial aid processing, the new First Year Experience, Emerging Scholars, career and graduate school placement, student activities, study away and abroad, and the Business Office.
When I first came to Hiram, exactly five years ago, someone told me that staff were the “unsung heroes” of the campus. I probably don’t sing your praises loudly enough, but I do try to sing them often (as does the entire Senior Cabinet, by the way). We all know that many of you are the movers and the shakers; the rock and light. The New Liberal Arts would not nearly be as well defined and well developed without you. Thank you.
At the same time that all of the aforementioned changes in operations, service delivery, branding, master planning, etc. have been unfolding, changes on the academic side are weighty, as well. Academic change at the magnitude and speed that we have designed and implemented at Hiram is staggering; few colleges are able to pull it off as we are hoping to do here. But change at all levels, including our academic programs, is and will continue to be our new normal—our healthy future depends on it.
There are dozens of faculty who have worked creatively, continuously, and cooperatively since the change process started. To those who are ushering in the new FYE, one of several new majors, the e-portfolio or signature assignment program, the assessment of 21st century skills, the new School structure, and many other firsts, I say, “thank you.” Others of you who are rolling up your sleeves now to assist the HLC criterion work groups, the missions and visions of your new Schools, the design of the new core, I thank all of you as well. For those of you who would like to talk more about the New Liberal Arts, I am extending an open invitation to meet with me or members of my team this summer as the rhythm of the next few months takes on the summer cadence. We need you and want you to be a part of the change-making and the turnaround.
As you calculate the final grades of the semester, tell seniors to enjoy but be safe at the Senior Week activities, and get ready to hit pause and regroup, please let these next few days on campus bring out the best in all of us. Let’s welcome all of our Trustees, parents, families, and other guests this week and leave on the highest and warmest note of all, singing our alma mater for the last time this semester.