Hiram College

Dear students, faculty, and staff,

Welcome to the Spring 2020 semester. The date itself—2020—conjures up all kinds of futuristic imaginings. As we enter the third decade of the 21st century, Hiram will continue to design and implement the types of academic and co-curricular programs that augment student learning and holistic development and strengthen the institution itself. It is with that forward-focused perspective that I write the campus note today to highlight three areas—athletics, academic technology, and diversity programs—that are helping us pave the path forward.

The newest athletic program being designed right now is a collegiate wrestling program: men’s and women’s to be exact. Since 2001, 200 college campuses have added wrestling as part of their strategic enrollment plan, and the student demand for it in this part of the country strongly suggests Hiram students would want to participate as well. After reviewing a data-informed proposal from Athletic Director Todd Hibbs, the Senior Cabinet and I have approved the addition of men’s and women’s wrestling as our 17th and 18th sport offerings. These programs are scheduled to begin in 2020 and 2021 respectively. On the immediate heels of this decision, several alumni have expressed interest in supporting the launch of these programs. And you can rest assured that the Development and Athletics staff will hit the road immediately to drum up even more philanthropic support.

Another area where we continue to pave a strong path is academic technology. As you may recall from my November 4th note to campus, Hiram recently earned the coveted Apple Distinguished School recognition, one of only a small number of colleges to do so. As part of the application process, we needed to create an iBook detailing the vision of Tech and Trek, the technology that has enhanced teaching and learning at Hiram, the vast technological changes that took place on campus, and some early outcomes associated with the program. This iBook—featuring dozens of you reading this—has just been published in Apple’s Book Store. It’s free and publicly available. You may find it by searching for “Hiram College” in the Book Store (through the Apple Books app) or by using this link. The creation of the iBook and the efforts it showcases were the results of a highly collaborative effort. Like so many of our successes, Tech and Trek is marked by the fingerprints of many.

The third area I underscore this morning is diversity. When compared to other liberal arts colleges in the Midwest, Hiram boasts a richly diverse student body. Numbers alone do not make diversity a college’s strong suit. To make the most out of our wonderfully diverse community, faculty, staff, students, and alumni must endeavor to use diversity as a social and educational catalyst for building inclusive excellence. And many of us at Hiram do exactly that. Aided by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Hiram strives to engage the entire community in conversations, activities, and projects that bring our commitment to life.

Toward that end, the office has joined forces with the Black Student Union, PRYSM, and Student Senate to offer an impressive set of events that celebrate Martin Luther King’s birthday:

Monday, January 20

3:00 pm – “Justice and Healing Circle”
Gather with friends and colleagues to pay homage to loved ones lost to violence and give thanks to those working to advance civil/human rights.
Lower Level Kennedy Center

7:00 pm – “A Conversation with Sarah Rudolph Collins: The 5th Little Girl in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama”
Sarah Rudolph Collins – known as the 5th little girl in the 1963 bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham Alabama – will share her transformative story of physical and emotional suffering, heartbreaking loss, recovery, and healing.
Moderated by Patricia Darby ’77
Ballroom, Kennedy Center

Thursday, January 23

Noon to 1:00 pm – Bread and Soup
Join the community in a simple meal of bread and soup plus a tabletop activity on human rights and coalition building.
Cost: Students on Board Plan (one meal swipe); Others ($6.00/cash or check)
Dix Dining Hall, Kennedy Center

With the start of a new decade, new year, and new semester upon us, I hope many of you share in my excitement at what the future holds for Hiram College. The College’s Board of Trustees will be on campus next week for their winter meeting, during which we will engage in discussions on that very topic. For the faculty and staff reading this note, I look forward to sharing some of the details of these discussions with you at our next College Assembly on February 6. Until then, I look forward to seeing many of you at Monday’s events.

Your President,

President Varlotta Signature

Lori Varlotta