Dear students, faculty and staff,
I am pleased to start this bimonthly note by saying that many positive things have happened in the last two weeks on the Hiram Hill, on Capitol Hill and with the Hill family from Cincinnati with whom our Hiram family is now connected.
Here on Hiram’s Hill, we hosted the College’s first 2014-15 Board of Trustees meeting last week, and the three-day event went very well. The chair and vice chair of the Board have again voiced their commitment to the strong personal and financial support for which they are known. This type of support is critical to our moving forward, so we should all breathe a little easier knowing that, without question, it is there. Thankfully, the three-day meeting was a nice mix of business and social, and I was honored to be one of nine people inducted into the Garfield Society on Friday night. The evening’s activities were wonderful, thanks to the hard work of Connie Skingel and many others in Office of Development and Alumni Relations.
On other home fronts, I have been working with the Hiram Village to see if they are willing to take over the sponsorship of the 2,900-foot segment of the Hike and Bike Trail. After examining the grant contract with one of our consulting attorneys and Vice President Steve Jones, I have decided that the proposed contract exposes Hiram College to a number of legal and financial risks that are not in our best interest to assume at this time. Rather than abandon the project, however, I have asked the Village Council if they are interested in taking the lead on this project, and it appears they may be interested in doing so. I will keep you all posted on the next steps of this project and partnership.
During this same two-week period, I have been moved by the passion and empathy of many our students who are supporting Lauren Hill and the sad but poignant situation she faces. Lauren, a brave young woman at Mount Saint Joseph University in Cincinnati, is battling Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma. One of her last wishes is to play basketball for her university. On Saturday, our women’s basketball team will travel to play the MSJ Lions at Xavier University’s large 10,000-seat arena to help fulfill Lauren’s wishes. The game is symbolic of some of life’s most important lessons. I am proud of the way our players and the entire campus have connected to Lauren and her family at this crucial juncture of her life.
Finally, I traveled back to the nation’s capital yesterday in hopes of being a part of the team that secured – for the greater Akron metropolitan area – a $1 million prize for efforts related to college degree attainment. And guess what. Our team won! Led by the efforts of the Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education, Hiram College, Kent State University, Northeast Ohio Medical University, The University of Akron and Stark State College were all recognized. The prize brings recognition to and celebrates the good work that many of you do in helping students graduate. It also brings a monetary award, as well, since Hiram will indeed get a piece of the $1 million prize. More information on the award can be found at http://news.hiram.edu/?p=11296.
As you can see, there are many positive and poignant things happening right this minute at Hiram and the many Hills with whom and with which we are now connected. Please take a minute today to stop and think how lucky we are to be a part of community that cares for and about people and projects that matter. Again, it is all a part of the magic of Hiram.
Lori E. Varlotta