Hiram College

Dear faculty, staff, and students,

Well, here we are: one week into the new academic year. Before I deliver some of the latest great news about Hiram, I want to extend, once again, a warm welcome to all of the first-year and transfer students who have joined us this year. We are so happy to welcome you to Hiram. I hope you found the New Student Institute to be a fun, productive, and beneficial kickstart to your Hiram journey. I know that considerable time and energy went into its planning; the faculty and staff who worked hard to deliver such  a substantive program have my gratitude. Our dedicated Residential Education staff also deserve a big thanks for their efforts in preparing the residence halls for your return. And Hiram’s Student Senate merits a special shout-out as they worked diligently to plan a festive beach party, replete with music, games, prizes, food, and more. Nice job!

As we prepare for the classes, the competitions, and the co-curricular activities ahead, it makes some sense to ground ourselves on what has been and what will be. As many of you know, we are now entering the third year of our New Liberal Arts, and the year looks downright exciting. Recently added majors are up and running, and many of you are now enrolled in new courses in crime, law, and justice; sport management; and art and design. Please keep an eye out for the new performing arts courses that are being developed for the next semester. Our still relatively new integrative exercise science program has become so popular that it has outgrown its allocated space in the Coleman Center, so School Director Dr. Brad Goodner has relocated it to Colton 25. Stop by to visit Professors Rebold and Kobak in their new offices near that classroom. 

In addition to the expanded set of majors associated with the New Liberal Arts, I am pleased to report that large numbers of students are actively engaged in the Hiram Connect activities—internships, research, and study away—that also mark the New Liberal Arts.

I open this year’s note by highlighting key components of the New Liberal Arts because they correspond almost directly with the fantastic news we received earlier this week. The 2019 edition of Washington Monthly’s College Guide, released on Monday, ranked Hiram College as number four in the country among colleges and universities that award bachelor’s degrees almost exclusively. Rankings consist of three equally weighted portions: social mobility, research, and promoting public service. To be considered a top-ranked institution, colleges must be excellent across all measures rather than excelling in just one. 

Granted, we will never be able to “prove” how our systemic change (aka the New Liberal Arts) may have resulted in our incredibly high placement on a list that so many hold in high esteem–but it is clear we are doing something right! Let’s enjoy our ascent in these rankings. Over the coming weeks, you will see us find many ways to celebrate this achievement and tell others about our excellence. 

For those of you who might want to just a few bragging points, here are a few to shape your remarks:
  1. There is no other Ohio school in the top ten. We are head and shoulders above the Ohio pack.
  2. There is no perfect ranking system–but Washington Monthly’s rankings are based on robust analysis of independent, objective data to identify schools that are serving their students, their communities, and society well.
  3. Accordingly, leaders at organizations that understand higher education best–like the American Council on Education, Lumina Foundation, and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities–tell us that Washington Monthly’s rankings are some of the most meaningful ones out there.
We clearly have much to celebrate at Hiram! I hope you will join us in spreading the word about the great things everyone here is doing. 
I hope this Week of Welcome has been fantastic for students, staff, and faculty–and that you are all reconnecting with old and new friends alike. I wish you all the very best as we embark on another year of intellectual and social pursuits…together. 

Your president,

President Varlotta Signature

Lori Varlotta