Hiram College
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Hiram College
Hiram College
Hiram Seal.png
Former names
Western Reserve Eclectic Institute (1850-1867)
Motto Fiat Lux (Latin)
Motto in English
Let there be light
Type Private Liberal Arts College
Established March 1, 1850
Endowment US$60 million[1]
President Lori E. Varlotta
Academic staff
81 full-time (Fall 2016)
Undergraduates 875 traditional, 215 weekend professional (Fall 2016)
Location Hiram, Ohio, United States
41°18?37?N 81°08?46?W / 41.31028°N 81.14611°W / 41.31028; -81.14611
Campus Rural college town, 110-acre (0.45 km2) main, 550-acre (2.2 km2) J.H. Barrow Field Station, 10-acre (0.040 km2) Northwoods Field Station (the U.P. of MI)
Colors Red & Blue          
Athletics NCAA Division III -- NCAC
Nickname Terriers
Affiliations Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Annapolis Group Shoals Marine Lab
Website www.hiram.edu

Hiram College ( HY-r?m) is a private liberal arts college located in Hiram, Ohio. It was founded in 1850 as the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute by Amos Sutton Hayden and other members of the Disciples of Christ Church. The college is nonsectarian and coeducational. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Hiram's most famous alumnus is James A. Garfield, who served as a college instructor and principal, and was subsequently elected the 20th President of the United States.[2][3][4]


On June 12, 1849, representatives of the Disciples of Christ voted to establish an academic institution, which would later become Hiram College.[5] On November 7 that year, they chose the village of Hiram as the site for the school because the founders considered this area of the Western Reserve to be "healthful and free of distractions".[6] The following month, on December 20, the founders accepted the suggestion of Isaac Errett and named the school the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute.[5]

Western Reserve Eclectic Institute, Hiram, 1858

The Institute's original charter was authorized by the state legislature on March 1, 1850, and the school opened several months later, on November 27. Many of the students came from the surrounding farms and villages of the Western Reserve, but Hiram soon gained a national reputation and students began arriving from other states. On February 20, 1867, the Institute incorporated as a college and changed its name to Hiram College.[5][6]

During the years before it was renamed Hiram College, 1850-1867, the school had seven principals, the equivalent of today's college presidents. The two that did the most in establishing and defining the nature of the institution were Disciple minister Amos Sutton Hayden, who led the school through its first six years, and James A. Garfield, who had been a student at the Institute from 1851-1853 and then returned in 1856 as a teacher. As principal, Garfield expanded the Institute's curriculum. He left the Institute in 1861 and in 1880 was elected the 20th President of the United States.[6]

In 1870, one of Garfield's best friends and former students, Burke A. Hinsdale, was appointed Hiram's president. Although there were two before him, Hinsdale is considered the college's first permanent president because the others served only briefly. The next president to have a major impact on the college was Ely V. Zollars, who increased enrollment significantly, established a substantial endowment and created a program for the construction of campus buildings. Later presidents who served for at least 10 years were Miner Lee Bates, Kenneth I. Brown, Paul H. Fall, Elmer Jagow, and G. Benjamin Oliver.[6]

In 1931, shortly before Hiram celebrated the 100th anniversary of Garfield's birth, there was a debate in the community about changing the name of the school to Garfield College. There were strong advocates on both sides of the issue. Among the 2,000 guests at the centennial celebration were three generations of Garfield's family, including two of his sons. The idea of changing the college's name was not mentioned at the event and the idea was abandoned.[7]

Principals and presidents

James A. Garfield (left), his wife Lucretia Rudolph Garfield (right) and other faculty, 1858.

The following is a list of the school's leaders since its founding in 1850.[6]

Principals (Western Reserve Eclectic Institute)

  • 1850-1856 - Amos Sutton Hayden
  • 1857-1861 - James A. Garfield
  • 1861-1864 - Harvey W. Everest (Pro Tem)
  • 1864-1865 - C. W. Heywood (acting)
  • 1865-1866 - Adoniram J. Thomson (managing)
  • 1866-1867 - John M. Atwater

Presidents (Hiram College)

  • 1867-1868 - Silas E. Shepard (acting)
  • 1868-1870 - John M. Atwater (acting)
  • 1870-1882 - Burke A. Hinsdale
  • 1883-1887 - George M. Laughlin
  • 1887-1888 - Colman Bancroft (acting)
  • 1888-1902 - Ely V. Zollars
  • 1902-1903 - James A. Beattie
  • 1903-1905 - Edmund B. Wakefield (acting)
  • 1905-1907 - Carlos C. Rowlison
  • 1907-1930 - Miner Lee Bates
  • 1930-1940 - Kenneth I. Brown
  • 1940-1957 - Paul H. Fall
  • 1957-1965 - Paul F. Sharp
  • 1965-1965 - James N. Primm
  • 1966-1966 - Wendell G. Johnson (acting)
  • 1966-1985 - Elmer Jagow
  • 1986-1989 - Russell Aiuto
  • 1989-1989 - James Norton (interim)
  • 1990-2000 - G. Benjamin Oliver
  • 2000-2002 - Richard J. Scaldini
  • 2003-2014 - Thomas V. Chema
  • 2014-present - Lori E. Varlotta


As of the 2016-17 academic year, Hiram's student body consists of 875 undergraduates from 31 states and 14 foreign countries.[8] Of the 81 full-time faculty, 95-percent hold a Ph.D. or other terminal degree in their field.


Hiram was ranked #167 among National Liberal Arts Colleges by U.S. News and World Report in 2012.[9] At the same time, Hiram is currently ranked #67 among Liberal Arts Colleges by Washington Monthly.[10] Also, in 2012, Forbes ranked Hiram at #197 among all colleges and universities in the U.S., and #39 in the Midwest.[11] Hiram has regularly been included in The Princeton Review Best Colleges guide,[12] and is one of only 40 schools included in Loren Pope's book Colleges That Change Lives.[13]

Hiram is a member of the Annapolis Group, which has been critical of the college rankings process. Hiram is among the signatories of the Presidents Letter.


Koritansky Hall, home of the Garfield Institute for Public Leadership.

Hiram specializes in the education of undergraduate students, though the college does have a small graduate program. Hiram confers the BA, BSN, and MA degrees. The college offers 33 majors and 40 minors for traditional undergraduates, in addition to pre-professional programs for specific fields.[14] Interdisciplinary studies have also been a part of Hiram's curriculum for decades.[15]

Hiram's curriculum requires all students to complete one course in each of nine academic areas: creative methods, interpretive methods, modeling methods, experimental scientific methods, social and cultural analysis, experiencing the world, understanding diversity at home, interdisciplinary, and ethics and social responsibility.[16] Its education plan also includes international study and independent study opportunities, and faculty-guided research projects. Currently, almost all majors require some form of extensive independent project or apprenticeship experience.

The college's curriculum is currently marketed under the name Hiram Connect, which involves four steps: First-Year Colloquium/Foundations of the Liberal Arts, Declaration of Major, Experiential Learning, and a Capstone Project.[]

Hiram has five "Centers of Distinction" for interdisciplinary studies: Center for Integrated Entrepreneurship, Center for Scientific Engagement, Center for Literature and Medicine, Garfield Institute for Public Leadership, and Lindsay-Crane Center for Writing and Literature.[17]


The school's sports teams are called the Terriers. They participate in the NCAA's Division III and the North Coast Athletic Conference.

The Hiram College basketball team won the gold medal in the collegiate division of the 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis.[18][19] It was the first time that basketball was part of an Olympics; it was included as a demonstration sport and no foreign teams participated.[18][19]

The Cleveland Browns held their training camp at Hiram College from 1952 through 1974, making it the longest-tenured training site in the team's history.[20][21]

Residence life

The college's residential complexes include Booth-Centennial, East Hall, Whitcomb Hall, Miller Hall, Bowler Hall, and the Townhouses.[22] They are managed by resident directors (RDs), resident managers (RMs), and resident assistants (RAs).

Student clubs and organizations

The Kennedy Center student union

Student Senate is the elected student governing body of the college. It serves as a liaison between students and the school's administration, and oversees all student clubs and organizations, collectively called the Associated Student Organizations (ASO). The Kennedy Center Programming Board (KCPB) falls under the auspices of Student Senate, and is responsible for planning educational, social, recreational, and cultural programs.[23]

Hiram has close to 70 registered student clubs and organizations in eight categories: Academic, Greek Social, Musical, Political and Activisim, Publications and Communications, Religious, Special Interest and Service, and Sports and Recreation.[24] Fraternities and sororities are not permitted on campus, but there are six Greek social clubs: Delta Chi Lambda, Kappa Sigma Pi, Lambda Lambda Lambda, Phi Beta Gamma, Phi Gamma Epsilon, Phi Kappa Chi, and Greek Social.

Since 1971, Hiram has maintained a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the national honor society for the liberal arts.[25] The school has also had a chapter of Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK), a national leadership honor society, since 1962.

Notable alumni and faculty

James A. Garfield, statue on campus
Vachel Lindsay


  1. ^ As of January 23, 2013. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2012 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2011 to FY 2012" (PDF). 2012 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved 2013. 
  2. ^ "History of the College". Hiram College. Retrieved 2012. 
  3. ^ "James A. Garfield Collection". Biographical Note. Hiram College. Retrieved 2012. 
  4. ^ Smith, Diane (November 11, 2009). "Head and shoulders above: Hiram College unveils reconnected Garfield statue". Record-Courier. 
  5. ^ a b c "Historical Facts". Hiram College. Retrieved 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c d e "History of the College". Hiram College. Retrieved 2013. 
  7. ^ "Portage Pathways: Forces of Tradition Prevailed Over Bid to Honor Garfield". Record-Courier. January 5, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Hiram College Profile". Hiram College. Retrieved 2012. 
  9. ^ "U.S. News Rankings 2012- Hiram College". U.S. News and World Report. Retrieved 2013. 
  10. ^ "Washington Monthly Rankings 2012- Hiram College". Washington Monthly. Archived from the original on January 15, 2013. Retrieved 2013. 
  11. ^ "Forbes Rankings 2012- Hiram College". Forbes. Retrieved 2013. 
  12. ^ "Princeton Review Best Colleges 2012- Hiram College". The Princeton Review. Retrieved 2013. 
  13. ^ "Colleges that Change Lives- Hiram College". Colleges that Change Lives. Retrieved 2013. 
  14. ^ "Majors & Minors". Hiram College. June 23, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Interdisciplinary Studies". Hiram College. Retrieved 2013. 
  16. ^ "Core Curriculum". Hiram College. Retrieved 2013. 
  17. ^ "Centers of Distinction". Hiram College. Retrieved 2017. 
  18. ^ a b "Could Be The Start Of Something Big". Sports Illustrated. November 29, 1999. 
  19. ^ a b "A Look Back: Hiram Men's Basketball Team Captures Olympic Gold in 1904". Hiram College. Retrieved 2012. 
  20. ^ King, Steve (July 30, 2010). "Looking Back at Camp History". Clevelandbrowns.com. 
  21. ^ "Cleveland Browns Training Camp Locations". Pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved 2012. 
  22. ^ "Residence Life". Hiram College. Retrieved 2012. 
  23. ^ "Campus Programming". Hiram College. Retrieved 2013. 
  24. ^ "Clubs and Organizations". Hiram College. Retrieved 2012. 
  25. ^ "Phi Beta Kappa". Hiram College. Retrieved 2012. 

External links

Coordinates: 41°18?37?N 81°08?46?W / 41.310255°N 81.146145°W / 41.310255; -81.146145

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