The Hiram College Board of Trustees announced that Dr. Lori E. Varlotta will conclude her service as president of Hiram College effective September 30, 2020 because she has accepted a position as President of California Lutheran University located in Thousand Oaks, California.
Varlotta became the College’s 22nd president and first female in July 2014 after serving as senior vice president for planning, enrollment management and student affairs at California State University, Sacramento, where she led 31 departments in the areas of enrollment, student life, retention, educational equity, and NCAA Division I athletics.
Under her leadership, Hiram College staff, faculty and students have celebrated many firsts and broken records in key areas. For each of the last five fiscal years, she and the development team have logged in record fundraising years. Her focus on monitoring revenues and expenses during this same period has helped the College strengthen its financial position.
During her six years as president, Dr. Varlotta collaborated with colleagues across campus to design and implement changes that were meant to benefit the institution as a whole and the students it serves. Most notably, Varlotta led the process that positioned Hiram as The New Liberal Arts™. The New Liberal Arts combines contemporary and classic majors, prioritizes integrative and interdisciplinary learning, guarantees that all students complete an experiential activity, and promotes Mindful Technology™. The latter has been brought to life through Hiram’s Tech and TrekTM 1:1 mobile technology program, the first of its kind in Ohio.
In terms of curricular changes, Dr. Varlotta and her leadership team have supported faculty in building new academic majors, such as Integrative Exercise Science, Public Health, Sport Management, International Studies, and Criminal Justice, and in redesigning the core curriculum. She has also worked with staff in athletics to add new intercollegiate offerings such as Men’s Volleyball, Cheer/STUNT, and most recently Men’s and Women’s Wrestling. Earlier this year, Varlotta took a lead role in conceptualizing the Learn More, Earn More, Spend Less tuition model. Covered on CNBC, it has been described by national leaders at NAICU and CIC as a highly innovative model.
“Dr. Varlotta has done a phenomenal job in leading Hiram College’s transformation to where it is today,” said Dean Scarborough, chair of the Hiram College Board of Trustees. “Her vision and leadership, coupled by her determination and tenacity, have resulted in significant and positive change during her time on the Hill. It has been a pleasure working with Dr. Varlotta, and we wish her the best as she joins California Lutheran University.”
Varlotta is an active member of several regional, state, and national boards and committees, including the Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges; Portage Medical Center Foundation; Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Ohio; the Committee of Policy Analysis and Public Relations of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities; The Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Humanities Center National Advisory Board; and the Annapolis Group.
A proud Pittsburgh native and first-generation college student, Dr. Varlotta earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy at the University of Notre Dame (Indiana), a Master of Science degree in cultural foundations of education from Syracuse University (New York), and an interdisciplinary Doctor of Philosophy degree in educational leadership and feminist philosophy from Miami University (Ohio).
As Varlotta reflects on her time at Hiram she says this: “Time and time again, campus constituents at every level—trustees, staff, faculty, students and alumni—have joined forces to navigate the shifting landscape of contemporary higher education. Together, we made tremendous progress and accomplished a breadth and depth of change that is rare in colleges today. What makes Hiram special is her people. Working with this particular Board of Trustees, Senior Cabinet, faculty, staff, student body, and alumni has not only been highly productive; it has been personally fulfilling. I will forever cherish the time I have spent in this loyal and dedicated community.”
The Board of Trustees has begun the process of identifying an interim president. Details about the search process and the overall transition plan will be posted on the Office of the President’s page of the Hiram College website.